HOW TO: Stay warm and stay cute

It’s the middle of October, and Michigan is well into the fall season. Leaves are changing colors, the air is getting colder, and the fashionistas are beginning to struggle. Staying warm while looking cute is next to impossible for many of us, and we simply go into hibernation during the winter months, retiring our summer dresses and shorts for the classic college sweatpants and sweatshirt. It’s truly amazing how during warm weather, Central is impeccably dressed, but as soon as the weather turns cold, the campus is overrun by a barrage of cotton and fleece.

The question is, is there any way to avoid this? Can we really blame students for choosing to be warm and comfortable over being stylish?

The bigger question, many students ask, is whether or not it is possible to be both. Fashion gives us endless options for the summer months — dresses and skirts and shorts and tanks, not to mention the myriad of shoes — but not as many for the fall and winter. Sometimes it feels like the only viable option for the colder months is sweats, simply because they are so warm and that usually takes priority over being stylish.

However, with a little creativity many students are able to stay warm while keeping their individual styles intact.

“Whenever I feel like wearing sweatpants I throw on jeans and an oversized sweater,” says Addey Meachum.

The freshman from Traverse City has a whole collection of comfortable yet stylish sweaters in her closet.

“My favorite one is a blue off-the-shoulder sweater I found at Old Navy,” Meachum said. “It gives me the cozy feeling of sweats, but once I have it on it’s easy to add a pair of skinny jeans and oversized earrings. I feel warm, but I still feel like I look good.”

Following her lead is simple.

Comfy sweaters can be found anywhere. Stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army will have a more vintage selection (the model pictured is wearing a coral sweater purchased at Goodwill for a mere $2), but brand names such as American Eagle, Forever 21, and Maurice’s offer a larger selection of more modern pieces. Students will not have a hard time finding a piece that suits their individual style, whether it’s a traditional “old man” sweater or a piece covered in sequins. From there, Meachum is right — once you have the comfort and warmth, it is easy to add stylish accessories.

Another trick many students use to stay warm while staying stylish is simple: layering. A few good layering essentials include a pair of tights, tall socks, long and short sleeve T-shirts, jackets, and blazers. Pile on a T-shirt, a sweater, and a jacket and you’ll be warm but still look good. Blazers are great this time of year, because you can wear them with virtually anything. They are just about the most versatile clothing ever invented. Pair your favorite summer sundress with a pair of tights, boots, and a blazer to help it make the transition to fall.

Or if jeans aren’t quite warm enough for you, throw on a pair of thick socks over your jeans to give your boots a step up. Patterned tights are a great find this time of year as well, and they can help you to showcase your individual style while still staying warm. Remember, too, that there are a lot of stylish options for coats that stay within any budget range.

No matter what your style, you don’t have to choose style over warmth. With a little creativity, you can have both.