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November 18, 2008

Chicago Manual of Style—November 18, 2008

As temperatures plummet, many Chicago bears want to hibernate until spring. But before you stock up on Easy Mac and barricade yourself in your drafty dorm room, consider stocking up on some cold-weather essentials that will have you looking cool and staying warm all winter long.

Though I applaud the noble efforts of those struggling to strut through snow in stilettos, boots are winter wear du jour. While brands like Ugg, Burberry, and Coach have cozy and coveted options, rubber Wellies are an equally chic—and much cheaper—choice. The Brits are very familiar with rain, so it should come as no surprise that they have perfected the rubber rain boot. Hunter boots, my favorite English export, are tall, trim, and cute enough to wear even when the weather’s dry. The rubber boots come in every color of the rainbow and in a variety of patterns, including lush botanical motifs. Some styles are tailored to look like riding boots, so even the clumsiest among us can dress the part of a polo player. Hunter boots start at 55 euros (approximately $69). Got cold feet? Stay dry and warm with fleece Wellie Warmers from Americana purveyor L.L. Bean. These $20 inserts will keep your toes toasty.

Indoors, however, my feet are always freezing, and my bare wood and linoleum floors don’t help. At home, I bundle up in snuggly slipper boots. Part slipper, part sweater for your feet, these cozy contraptions are perfect for sleeping, studying, or snacking at home. Old Navy carries a variety of styles, from wintry Nordic motifs to classic cable-knit patterns. Each pair runs about $19.

On those sad mornings when you do have to leave your warm bed and brave the blustery walk to the bus stop, cap off a winter ensemble with a comfy hat from Urban Outfitters. Cable stitch berets are boho-chic when tossed over tousled hair. A faux-fur pillbox hat looks retro when paired with a trapeze coat. All of the store’s wool hats ($25 to $35) are whimsical and wintry, and since they’re stylish enough to leave on all day, hat hair is a non-issue.

Don’t be a Scrooge when it comes to keeping your fingers warm. Forgoing gloves is a recipe for dry, cracked hands and freezing fingers. Though you can buy cheap packs of gloves at emporiums like H&M, I recommend investing in a pair of really warm mittens. While thin little gloves look dainty and darling, you won’t look cute wearing them—you’ll just look cold. My gloves may resemble bear paws, but they keep my digits dexterous. When I need to up the style quotient, I wriggle my fingers into a pair of leather gloves lined with fleece. Nordstrom carries a variety of leather gloves with pretty stitching details that are both cute and cozy.

When winter hits the Windy City, it’s tempting to hide in the house. But since classes aren’t postponed while the ice and snow melt, we’ve got to outfit ourselves to battle the elements. Warm, waterproof rain boots, snazzy slippers, cozy caps, and leather gloves will help any shivering student weather the winter in style.