The spotlight always seems to be on Instababes holdin’ it down in NYC and LA, but girl, impeccable style can be found in cities all over the country. Boston and Chicago may not play host to fashion week or have a lengthy list of celebs counting themselves as citizens, but trust us when we say that the style factor is REAL. A common set of style rules reigns supreme no matter where you go, but each city has its own unique flavor. Despite its big cosmopolitan status, New England staples like cable knit sweaters and L.L. Bean boots are alive and well in Beantown. As for the Windy City, you can expect to find plenty of sophisticated pieces with an edgy, modern twist. We’ve scouted some of the most fashionable femmes in both cities who are doing cold weather dressing right. And now we’re bringing you 17 of their seasonal must-haves that are guaranteed to get your new season capsule wardrobe into gear. Get ready to take notes.
L.L. Bean Boots: Bean boots are a New England classic and all-around cold-weather style staple that have — inexplicably — become a sartorial sensation. Be it the busy streets of Boston or a mountaintop somewhere in Maine, you’ll spot these suckers on prepsters and It girls alike. The best way to rock ’em? With a chic sweater, boyfriend coat and statement shades.
1. Women’s Bean Boots 8″ ($119): Trash your treasured leather Chelsea boots? Never! These iconic steppers are the ones you’ll want to bust out at the first sign of sleet or snow. The only thing missing? A bright faux-fur-trimmed parka.
Bold, Bright Coat: When temps go low, Boston girls like Lauren Wells go bright. Because what better way to combat the cool weather blues than with vibrant color and OMG-worthy outerwear?
2. J.Crew Diamond Tweed Coat ($325): Enter the prettiest pink coat you’ve ever seen. Between the blazer-inspired styling and rad under-the-radar details (think: hidden interior pockets and striped lining), this stunner is a winner all around. Toss it on with skinny jeans, ankle boots and an embellished crossbody bag for an effortless yet impactful look.
Over-the-Knee Boots: A great pair of ankle boots is essential when fall rolls around, but if making a statement is at the top of your agenda, OTK is the way to go. Statement outerwear, though not required, comes highly recommended.
3. Sam Edelman Kent Over-the-Knee Microsuede Boots ($190): Instababe or not, your cold weather wardrobe deserves a pair of over-the-knee boots with serious ‘tude and wear-anywhere appeal. Not just limited to after-dark events, these sassy suede stunners can be styled alongside everyday denim, a low-key sweatshirt and silk square scarf for a leisurely lunch with the girls. Eyeing ‘em for the office? Treggings, a crisp white button-down and statement studs are the way to go.
Cable Knit Sweaters: A cable knit sweater and jeans is an unstoppable combo that nails it every. single. time. It’s classic, easy and totally chic, not to mention it brings endless styling opportunities to the table. Consider it a blank canvas for all of your of-the-moment accessories.
4. Express Cold Shoulder Mock Neck Cable Knit Sweater ($80): Cozy yet cutting-edge is how you like to roll, and this cold-shoulder cable knit just gets you, girl. Whether you’re in the midst of a Netflix sesh or talking politics over Sunday brunch, it’ll keep you comfy and looking fly at all times. Pair this saucy sweater with a pleated midi skirt and next-level Mary Janes (a la Alexa Chung, of course) for a look that’s polished enough for the office or a much-anticipated dinner date.
Midi Shirt Dress: Step one to becoming a New Englander: Invest in various plaid pieces and proceed with ultra stylish accessories like pointed-toe ankle boots, structured bags and Insta-worthy shades.
5. BB Dakota Coley Gen X Shirtdress ($115): Lazy girls everywhere, rejoice! Perfect your one-and-done routine with this check shirt dress that stands on its own. The laid-back basic pairs exquisitely with leather-look leggings, lace-up ankle boots and an oversized cardigan for a look with endless tough-girl edge laced with a touch of grunge-era glam.
Structured Top Handle Bag: Whether you’re dominating the dance floor or schmoozing at a networking event, you can always count on a structured bag to bring the girlboss vibes. For a bit of extra polish, don’t hesitate to pair it with a sleek leather moto jacket and sculptural pumps.
6. Zara Crossbody Bag With Metallic Straps ($40): Your bag collection is bar none, but there’s always room for improvement — and this structured sac is the piece you’ve been waiting for. The architectural silhouette and gilded top handles are at once classic and cutting edge, and just the thing to usher basics and statement essentials alike into full-on street style territory. Team it with a leopard coat, Gucci-inspired loafer slides and a bold red pout for drinks downtown.
Bomber Jacket: It’s not what you wear, but how you wear it that counts. Armed with a bomber jacket that is straight-up#goals and round sunnies, this style maverick (see what we did there?) is seriously bringing the swagger.
7. Silence + Noise Fun Faux Fur Pilot Bomber Jacket ($149): With cold weather officially being a thing, it’s time to upgrade your trusty bomber. This bad boy brings the same downtown vibe you love, while a faux fur collar is all about keeping biting winds and frigid temps at bay.
Fishnet Tights: Tights and such are essential when things get frosty AF, but you don’t have to surrender to a winter full of plain black sheers. Do like Boston bloggers do and team an after-dark ensemble with saucy fishnets and ankle boots for a #winning look.
8. Nasty Gal Diamond in the Rough Fishnet Tights ($18): Hey girl, hey. While these shimmer-studded stockings might not pass HR’s inspection, best believe they’ll be bringing their A-game to every late-night ensemble. All that’s missing is a leather mini skirt and a graphic t-shirt for a low-maintenance look that isn’t messing around.
Faux Fur Trimmed Parka: Windy City dwellers know that a scene-stealing coat is key for making it through the winter months while still staying sane. Exhibit A: Jennifer Worman’s pink faux-fur-lined parka that manages to make the plummeting temps a bit more bearable.
9. Zara Parka With Colorful Faux Fur Hood ($169): Fierce doesn’t even begin to cover it. Play it cool when temps take a serious dip by teaming a flashy parka (just check that bright yellow faux fur — FIRE) with a metallic high-neck top, distressed boyfriend jeans and souped-up combat boots for a look that’s so RN.
Bright Oversized Sweater: While oversized sweaters take on a more classic tone on the East Coast, Chicago likes their knitwear served up with a side of panache — and that goes far beyond donning bold and bright hues. Nakea Lavee shows us how it’s done, teaming a cotton candy-colored sweater with a swingy metallic skirt and statement clutch. Swoon.
10. Keepsake Rendezvous Knit Jumper ($230): Standing out from the crowd is what you were born to do, meaning snoozy neutral knitwear is a no go. This punchy bell-sleeved beauty, on the other hand? It’s right up your alley. Pop it on with jacquard trousers and embellished heels for an upcoming holiday party or laid-back fête.
Dramatic Nail Polish: Sayonara, coral — Chicago girls have moved on. Tapping into the season’s dramatic mood, Instababes all over the Windy City are flaunting manis in dark striking shades of garnet, black and plum. Bonus points if you match your nails to your shoes. Just sayin’.
11. Essie Nail Polish in Licorice ($9): It’s time to cross over to the dark side. Black is bold, but it also boasts an eternally cool air and rockstar attitude that will give you a major boost midweek when the workweek blahs start to settle in.
Faux Fur Poms: If you’re going to rock a winter hat, best make sure it stands up to your haute style standards. Take style cues from this chic Chicagoan and ditch the expected knit beanie in favor of a faux-fur pom cap. You may never go back.
12. Charlotte Simone Sass Cap ($63): Sassy is right. Culminate a killer winter coat — bold embroidery and high-octane color are highly recommended — by adding this playful pom topper to the mix. Round out the look with platform loafers and an oversized bag for a runway-ready look that’s ready to combat the cold like WHAT.
Show-Stopping Sunglasses: Sure – balmy beach days are far behind us, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to pack up your carefully curated collection of shades. Snow glare and the odd sunny day call for a pair of sunglasses that are OMG-worthy in their own right. Do like Blair Staky and match yours to your ensemble for a perfectly pulled-together look.
13. Krewe Josephine Sunglasses in Carnevale 24K ($295): Okay, we admit these shades cost the big bucks, but they inspire that forever kind of love that will put them at the forefront of every #OOTD. Game-changing? We say yes.
Next-Level Denim: Classic denim never loses its appeal, but sometimes even your most prized closet essentials need a boost. Chicago girls are ditching tried-and-true styles for options with a little more oomph. Case in point: Blake Von D’s two-tone raw-edge bottoms that up the ante on a timeless weekend uniform.
14. American Eagle Vintage High Rise Jean ($60): Run, don’t walk, to scoop up the pair of patchwork denim that will change your approach to off-duty dressing forever. Achieve It-girl status by rockin’ them alongside v-shaped heels, a larger-than-life turtleneck and asymmetric earrings for an afternoon sushi date or a bit of boutique hopping with your bestie.
Layered Maxi Dress: While a floral maxi dress is always stunning, it’s the way blogger Marija opted to style it that has us swooning hard. Layered over leather leggings and strappy slingback stilettos, the one-and-done wonder takes on a totally new ‘tude.
15. Free People Your Love Maxi Shirt Dress ($168): Fact: Mastering the layering game is as easy as adding this maxi shirt dress to your arsenal. It’s a hero piece in disguise on mornings when you have five minutes to put together a scene-stealing look — just throw it on with embroidered jeans, classic ankle boots and a duster coat for an effortlessly flawless ensemble. Complete the getup with a messy topknot and rich berry lipstick for endless I-woke-up-like-this elegance.
Glam Faux Fur Wrap: For you and your go-glam-or-go-home sensibilities, THIS is what taking it down a notch looks like. A faux fur wrap is a step down from the bright coats and OTT winter accessories you rock on the regular, but don’t worry — it’ll attract just as many double taps.
16. Zara Oversized Faux Fur Wraparound Stole ($100): Live in a cool climate, must have at least one fabulously fuzzy accessory on standby. Duh. Between the oversized styling and wear-with-everything white hue, this unexpected wardrobe workhorse will have no problem finding opportunities to make its debut. Team it with a cardi-coat and joggers for an amped-up take on the athleisure trend.
Velvet Duster: Velvet fever certainly didn’t pass the Windy City by. Bloggers like Fashion Lingual’s Desirée interpreted the trend with a sleek velvet duster styled impeccably over a slinky slip and statement metallic boots. Girl knows what’s up.
17. Free People Velvet Duster ($248): Take note: THIS is what Instababes wear when effort just isn’t on the table. It doesn’t matter whether you’re killing it in a morning board meeting or shopping ’til you drop — this gorgeous duster jacket is as foolproof as they come. Team it with a band tee, boyfriend jeans and pointed-toe mules for a getup you’ll come back to again and again.
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