I made my way to the Zara fitting rooms with armfuls of high-neck sweaters and turtleneck knits. Four years of living in New York has turned my wardrobe into an ever expanding exhibit of dark greys and blacks. A fact I only learned because of a colourful chest of clothes I'd left here in England. With that in mind, I picked up prints and colourful things. But as always, I was mostly drawn to texture and unusual fabrics in neutral tones.
Trousers were a bit more of a struggle. The looser silhouettes seem to have fallen out of favour and it was almost impossible to find jeans that weren't heavily distressed, embroidered or otherwise embellished. So I found myself coming back to the same pair of blue jeans with almost everything I tried.
Truth be told I'm an eBay, vintage, make-it-myself type, so after swearing off acrylic in favour of pre-worm wools and cashmere I was surprised at how nice the acrylic blend knits felt.
1. The only friend you'll need this winter
This 'soft oversized sweater' was one of my favourite pieces. I wore it over a green turtleneck knit, and the combination of a fine rib and a textured weave was dreamy. The checked wool trousers were my first choice, and would work well for the office, but I tried the slim fit jeans and thought that nine times out of ten I'd end up wearing this over the smarter look.
2. The basics / The jazz
I switched out the sweater for a printed red bodysuit, but kept the jeans and turtleneck. I've been travelling a lot, and seem to live out of a suitcase these days so versatile base layers are my essentials. The superfluous gold buttons on the cuff of the turtleneck would fall victim to my minimal aesthetic and be cut off, but the dark green is surprisingly wearable.
The printed bodysuit was my most colourful choice, and it made me wonder why I don't wear brights more often, or bodysuits for that matter. Worn over the turtleneck it meant I wasn't worrying about it slipping open too much.
3. Wrap up, it's cold outside...
The grey ensemble was really an excuse to wrap that checked stole around me. I found myself trying it with everything I wore and I realised it could really extend the life of my mid-weight jackets into the cold of winter.
The half sleeve turtleneck had a pretty white trim that made the structured cut feel more feminine. The fabric of the jacquard leggings was a little flimsy which, in combination with how skinny they are, meant they were intended for a taller, slimmer limbed woman than I.
4. Prints for people who don't wear prints
Another foray into the world of print led me to this layered frill blouse. I tried a few different ways of wrapping and draping the layers, but my favourite incarnation was a compromise back into neutrals. The beige sweater is a really specific and perfect honey tone, that actually made the print feel more like it belonged.
As it turns out I'm both more and less averse to print and colour than I thought. I'm a fan of bold and abstract patterns and delicate motifs. But I might also decide to throw a chunky textured knit sweater over it all. Both, it seems, are a cure against the grey days of a British winter.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.