Winter Styling 101 - Interview with Colleen Quinn

For today's blog post, I brought on a special guest, Colleen Quinn of Styled by CQ, to help you all out with your winter styling!


Q:

"What advice can you give on layering during the colder months - specifically to my readers who live on the east coast or out of the country who experience a true winter."


A:

"The best piece of advice I can give for layering is to find sweaters and blazers that you can pair on top of each other. If you're on the east coast, you know that you'll sometimes have to wear jackets that aren't as pretty but what I have found is that if you properly layer your outfits, then you are able to wear the cuter jackets that display your style.


Another piece of advice that I would give you guys is if you're wearing business skirts, make sure you're wearing warm panty-hoes. I'm from Chicago and from my experience, you can definitely get frost-bite...it just gets so cold and there's nothing worse than feeling freezing so I highly recommend wearing thick panty-hoes.


When it comes to shoes, make sure you're wearing thick socks underneath those cute boots - I'll tell you right now, it is going to get cold. Thick socks are a huge factor that no one is going to see but will make you feel more comfortable."



Q:

"When layering for the colder months, how do you suggest sprucing up your looks, especially when most of our outfits are covered by a coat anyway?"


A:

"My advice would definitely be to put jewelry over your jackets and sweaters - I know it sounds kind of taboo, but if you're wearing a long trench coat for example, you could put a chunky necklace over the coat to show your personality. Another way to show your personality through your outfit is to wear gloves. Last year around this time (December) while I was in Chicago, I purchased cheetah gloves to show off my style while staying warm.


Scarves are a great way to keep you warm but also contribute to your stylish look - there are a ton of cute scarves out there so I would definitely recommend a scarf for your outfit. Another cute item that would spruce up your look would be hats. I know a lot of us ladies, and guys as well, don't want to wreck our hair but I suggest finding some that you think are cute and also warm enough.


I am also a big fan of ear muffs so those are another option that you could go with - on top of that, you could match your ear muffs with your gloves."



Q:

"What are your personal wardrobe essentials for winter and what pieces do you think are necessary for every winter wardrobe?"


A:

"My ideal items in my closet are my blazers; I have been told that I am the blazer queen. I definitely have some form of addiction to blazers that I'm not willing to admit just yet! Blazers are essential items to have in your closet; they're a great piece to wear under your coats to keep you warm and it's also a classy/professional way to accentuate your outfit while pulling your look together. Just be aware, when you are purchasing blazers, the type of material that your blazer is made out of - if you live in the colder climates, I suggest looking for thicker materials like wool.


However, since most of us are purchasing online right now, just make sure to check what material you are purchasing and what your use is for you blazer.


'When it comes to blazers, where do you personally like to shop?'


I am a go-to thrifter so I personally like to shop at vintage stores such as Goodwill - a lot of blazers that I purchase are actually made in the 80's and 90's. A fun tip of advice that I was told from another thrifting friend is when you're purchasing vintage, to be mindful of the tag; if the tag says "Made in the USA" or is customized, typically that is a vintage piece made before the 90's. The reason that this is important is because a lot of these blazers were made with better quality than they are now.


The pieces that I think are necessary for every winter wardrobe are long jackets, gloves, and something to cover up your ears. [Speaking on covering your ears] Even if you have long, thick hair, sometimes that's definitely not enough to protect you from the cold wind or just keep you comfortable walking in general."



Q:

"Which winter accessories are hits and misses in your opinion?"


A:

"Winter accessories that are hits are gloves/mittens; I always think those are super cute and classy. Scarves are also a win for me because you can dress up a scarf and make it unique to your style as well as high-knee boots; I love pairing them with high waisted pants and long skirts.


When it comes to misses for me, honestly, just anything that doesn't make sense in a winter setting. For example, a shorter skirt that makes you feel stylish but you're super cold - that is a miss. Unless you live in a warmer state such as California or Arizona, I definitely do not recommend wearing something that you already know you'll feel cold in.


On that note, another miss for me would be uncomfortable, thin heeled shoes - when you're walking through the streets of New York or Chicago, you're usually walking through slush, snow, wet surfaces so you need to be mindful. Not to say that you can't walk in heels but it comes down to the fact that it's not fun to walk in those types of heels in the winter months."



Q:

"What trends have you been seeing that you aren't currently a fan of and do you think that they will ever grow on you?"


A:

"So...one of the things that a lot of people don't know about me is that I really don't love plaid - I'm not a hater necessarily but plaid is just not one of my patterns. If it's a black and white plaid, yes, but if it's a red plaid, no. I think it depends on the color for me.


Trends that are too basic are boring in my book. As I mentioned previously, I am a thrifter so I'm not usually keeping up with the trends of the time. A lot of them seem boring to me which I know sounds pretentious but in order for me to purchase anything that is fast fashion, it has to be something that is super unique, bold, and catches my eye quality wise.


I am always looking for things that speak to me and show the uniqueness of who I am."



Q:

"Do you have a go-to pair of winter boots and if so, why are they your favorite pair?"


A:

"I don't have a go-to pair because I'm not really a shoe person, which surprises a lot of people; I feel like I make up for it with my blazer collection.


But, I feel like if I were to have a favorite pair, it would definitely be my laced cheetah boots - they're not the best to walk long periods in but they are warm and cheetah is definitely my vibe so I absolutely love wearing them.


However, if I were to choose a go-to boot that I've worn in the past, it would would just be a solid black heeled boot. I have worn all of mine to the ground so I don't currently have a new pair but when I purchase new ones, that will definitely be my go-to."



Q:

"What advice can you give to our west coast readers on their winter wardrobe? Specifically on the weather being bipolar during most winters."


A:

"It's odd that the first suggestion that I would have is layering, which is interesting because for the east coast, it would also be layering. However, when you're on the west coast, it can be very cold in the evening and morning [and warm during the day]. If you have a full schedule that day, bring a blazer or jacket with you and wear clothing that you can take off mid-day when it is warm. Also, even though a lot of us are into small purses right now, bringing something that you can stick in a purse so you aren't holding it all day long would be useful.


Make sure you plan your outfit according to the day; check the weather prior because one day it could be 40 degrees and one day it could be 70 degrees."



Q:

"What is you opinion of the sweater vest trend and do you think it will last?"


A:

"Ahh, the sweater vest trend. So...I don't like the trend. I just can't get on board with it because I don't really like sweater vests in general. Another example of trends that I can't get on board with would be the Y2K and low-waisted jeans trends - primarily because I'm a fan of the high-waisted jean. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong era, especially because of my hair; I feel like my vibe and inspiration definitely forms from the 80's. Not to say that sweater vests cannot be a very cute essential for a lot of fashionistas out there, it's just not one of my personal go-to's of the current trends."


Q:

"What style hacks do you take on every winter that get you through the cold? For example, a lot of people wear leggings under their pants - do you have a specific go-to trick?"


A:

"One of my ideal tricks is using belts. When it's windy outside and you have a blazer or jacket on, naturally you want to hold your jacket together but using a belt does this for you. Belts are my best friend during the winter time because they help you stay warm and they're also super stylish."



Q:

"What is your take on only wearing certain colors during different seasons - do you think that those colors should stick to their time of the year?"


A:

"No - definitely not! When I first started getting into fashion, I was very into tropical fashion. I do not believe in colors representing different times of the year - I tend to wear bright colors year round. Do I enjoy the darker maroons, greens, and blacks? Yes, but I have no problem pairing a bright orange top with a black leather skirt. The color trends are something that I have just never been on board with and as I continue in my career as a stylist and designer, I will not take color trends into consideration during different parts of the year.


From my knowledge, based on things I've been seeing this year, neon has been a color for the fall but people are shying away from color trends for seasons. I was very excited to see the neon trend and I hope that this can continue. "



Q:

"Lastly, which trends do you predict will make an appearance this winter and/or in 2021 in general?"


A:

"One trend that I think will come about this winter and continue through 2021 is prints. I've already noticed that cheetah and zebra print have been very popular so far this winter. I know this sounds silly, but I feel like a lot of it contributes to the Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion music video that really showed a lot of different prints. I really think that music influences fashion.


I definitely predict that there's going to be more patterns and I think that we're going to see more bright colors. Lastly, I think that Y2K fashion is not going anywhere anytime soon...but I'm excited to see what comes about in 2021 for all of those trends."



Thanks so much to Colleen, of CQ Petites, for sitting down with me and talking everything winter fashion! Check out her personal styling Instagram, professional styling Instagram, as well as her fashion design Instagram and newly launched website for more daily fashion inspiration.


"For every house is built by some man; but he that built all things is God."


Hebrews 3:4


-- Faith Blackshear


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