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No matter how long people have been in Melbourne, the arrival of winter always brings out the whingiest in people.
Everywhere you turn, people are complaining about the cold. It’s too wet. They’re freezing their nips off. They can’t be bothered going anywhere because there’s water falling from the sky. Hey! Have you noticed it’s cold out? I mean, it’s just like, so, so cold. Like, I know! Oh my god!
I would like to proscribe an embargo on mentioning this season’s frigid temperatures. It is the season that must not be named or brought attention to. Yes, it is seasonably cooler than January. But let us stop wishing that June was January, or that we were in the Northern Hemisphere, and start to realise that the cold’s not going anywhere until October.
Learning how to dress for Melbourne’s sporadic weather is a skill that I had to hone. The last city I lived in was Perth, and their winters are positively balmy compared to Victoria’s. Even in Sydney, I never actually owned a coat thicker than a blazer until I went to Europe. At the worst of times, a jumper, scarf and pair of jeans would block out the elements.
But since moving to Melbourne? I felt assaulted by the cold and the constant drizzle. It was like Mother Nature had a personal gripe with me. I don’t get anywhere near as insulted when I wake up and it’s raining anymore, and in fact, I’ve acclimatised quite nicely to temperatures below 17 degrees Celsius. Granted, as a self-employed copywriter in Melbourne, I do have the indulgence of dictating my daily uniform without bothersome workplace expectations.
As I mentioned, dressing for Melbourne’s weather – that’s prioritising warmth but not sacrificing style – is not generally a talent that most find comes naturally. I have been geographically challenged for about three years, but I feel I’m starting to refine my appropriated mish-mish of style. I credit fashion blogs, Instagram and Chapel Street’s finest for taking me from Confused Arts Student Thinks Indiecore Is Still Relevant to Southside Creative Wears Lots of Black To Match the Sarcasm of Her Soul.
Here I am on a ‘winter’s’ day in Perth in 2011. Yes, I am wearing denim cut offs in winter. I believe this look says I Am A Bundled Up Arts Student That Spends More Money on Wine Tours and Cameras Than Clothing.
If you’re as challenged by the climate as I was when I moved to Melbourne, the list below might open up a whole new world of wardrobe options. If you’re a Melbourne native – or live anywhere south of Canberra – you might like to skip to another post, or perhaps let me know what items are keeping you a toasty little blanket burrito this winter.
5 essential winter items you need to make winter less miserable
A wide-brimmed Fedora
I have had a tenuous relationship with hats in the past. I believe a Fedora speaks volumes about the brain that it encompasses: their wearers are most likely creative, quirky, mysterious, and haven’t had time to wash their hair. Oh! And they might be really cold, too! You lose 80% of your body heat through your head, allegedly. So whack one of these on your scalp for a portable heater, or to hide your greasy mop in case you were geocaching all week and forgot to wash your hair.
Merino Wool Roll Necks
When I was teenager, rollneck were called turtlenecks, and they were something worn by your creepy Year 7 maths teacher to disguise his abnormal levels of perspiration. I also thought roll necks were invented to hide the abundance of hickeys you acquired at the cinema.
Today, I am a fan of roll necks because a) they keep your neck incredibly warm so that b) you don’t have to bring a scarf. And yes, they disguise love bites quite nicely too.
But here’s where you don’t want to be stingy. Opt for a wool blend, or if you can budget for it, 100% merino wool. 100% acrylic will not keep you warm, and you know that it feels nasty anyway.
High-top leather boots
Yes, as the gospel of Carly Simon doth bequeath, they are made for walking. But they’re also made for shielding your shins from the arctic bite that Tasmania’s so lazily forgotten to shield us from. No matter which city you’re living in, a pair of flat, black leather boots will be your winter solemate.
Quite contrary to belief, you can have more than a few black boots to rotate. You do not want to start a monogamous relationship with your footwear this time of year, trust me. I recommend a sturdy heel for the evenings; a basic, unembellished pair for errands like fetching batteries; and a pair with tough as guts metal hardware for when you want to embody the je ne sais quoi of a hung over model off duty who could not give two fucks if you were standing in line for coffee before her, as she will cut you with the rivets on her boots because you are in her way.
Also! A leather protector is a must in these drizzly times. Get yourself a waterproof spray and go to town on all your leather beauties.
A thick as fuck coat
Whether you’re opting for the sportsluxe puffer jacket, a John Snow Faux Fur Coat found at Camberwell markets or investing in a Princess Kate Peacoat, your coat better do a good job of replacing your ambitious cardigan collection. A leather jacket thrown atop an intarsia sweater says you clearly don’t know how to download the weather app, which doesn’t speak very highly of your technological competency. Get a goddamn coat that’s thicker than the 7th Harry Potter and just as magical, too. And it better have a hood, because umbrellas are tricky to accessorise with. You’ll be warmer than a litter of kittens setting up house inside a pile of woollen jumpers.
Touch-pad friendly leather gloves
If you don’t have the financial-depleting bad habit of catching Ubers everywhere, you’re likely spending a great deal of your day commuting to and from work, or out to sip mulled wine in the evenings. Like anyone who commutes, you are likely a lone soldier on your daily train ride. Naturally, you resort to ‘On my phone’ status for the duration of your trip because what even are books? But have you noticed that your fingers become temporarily immobile? Or that you mean to type “thank you in advance”, but the miserly cold inhibits your usual finger dexterity and you end up texting ‘ja0fuaweoritjanfkfso rainbow emoji’? You need to invest in an iPhone friendly pair of leather gloves. These are very considerate gloves, because they both keep your fingers attached to your hands and also allow you to inform your co-workers that you’re running late due to hail storms. Perfecto!
Do yourself a favour this season: refuse to complain about the weather and commit to this winter dressing thing. Unless you live in the Northern Hemisphere. In which case, I have already unfollowed you on Instagram.