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12 Must-Have Winter Essentials, According To Fashion Insiders

Photo: Briar Clark
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With cooler temperatures on the horizon, it's time to swap out our autumn go-to pieces with winter's must-haves. In preparation for the weather, statement coats in a variety of silhouettes — that both add protection and a strong look — will be a big seasonal trend.
Head of Style at The Iconic, Nicole Adolphe, says, "My go-to winter essentials are textured knit jumpers [in] merino wool or alpaca. A knit or slip dress. In terms of colours to note this winter, it would be cobalt blue, browns and bold pink."
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"We are currently in a minimalist cycle, and car coats are the natural choice to throw over your blazer or trousers," adds Arielle Siboni, ready-to-wear fashion director at Bloomingdale’s. "Bonus points if it is herringbone, bouclé, or plaid."
Kate Bellman, Nordstrom’s senior managing fashion editor, also expects chunky knits to be a cold-weather trend. “Textural details such as cable knit or fringe move cozy into chic territory when applied to head-to-toe sweater dressing,” she says. "The standout within this category is the sweater dress which is getting a seasonal update. Both sheer materials and cut-outs modernise this style by adding a touch of sex appeal.” Bellman also expects Fair Isle knitwear to be a central style story: “Nothing says winter essential like a Fair Isle sweater. This season, look for amped-up versions in electrifying colours or all-over patterns.”
On the other end of the style spectrum, "power dressing" will mark the winter months, according to Celenie Seidel, senior womenswear editor at Farfetch: "[There is] a new energy coming through via a slightly darker, moodier take on '80s influences." This will include the stiletto heel, tailored pants, and silhouettes with "intimidating shoulder energy." Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at MatchesFashion, says that pantsuits, in particular velvet styles, will take off: "Velvet tuxedos are such a great way to update tailoring for the season. It is the perfect option for our customers who want to dress up but don’t necessarily want to wear a dress."
On the accessories front, winter will see the return of the boot — from over-the-knee to combat and Western boots — and the humble tote, as shoppers make their way back to the offices. "Tote bags are taking on a new life with interesting and unique shapes, textures, and colours," says Roopal Patel, fashion director at Saks. As we emerge from the pandemic into busier times, the functionality of a tote is so important as they can fit everything we might need for our days including workout gear or computers."
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Ahead, other winter staples essentials to get into your wardrobe rotation, according to fashion insiders at some of the world's most popular retailers.

Cardigans

"Every winter, my go-to staple is a cozy cardigan, and I'm excited to see this item everywhere this season, from Acne Studios to Proenza Schouler. Consider it your 'house coat,' a piece you can wear in the house, while running errands, or around the office, keeping you chic and warm wherever you go!"  — Caroline Maguire, fashion director at Shopbop

Tote bags

"We see sales picking up on totes again as brands have put more emphasis on this shape, providing the perfect balance between fashion and functionality. Bottega Veneta makes the chicest options." — Tiffany Hsu, vice president of fashion buying at MyTheresa

Feathered fashion

"Keeping the embellishment trend going, feather-trimmed pieces are popular this winter and will continue into spring! Whether it's a full statement dress or simple touch in accessories, our customer is loving the strong statement it gives."  — Stephanie Kennedy, merchandising director at Revolve

Statement outerwear

"The weather may have turned glum and grey, but that doesn’t mean we need to look the part. Coats get an energetic boost this season in vibrant colours across all types and silhouettes. From colourful puffer coats to lush and plush faux fur, there’s a style for everyone. This trend even applies to office-ready looks with statement-making tailored wool coats." — Kate Bellman, senior managing fashion editor at Nordstrom

Cowboy boots

"Knee-high boots have been trending but my favourite iteration of this is the cowboy boot. I love pairing them with straight-leg jeans — tucked in — and an oversized blazer for a Western-inspired look." —  Arielle Siboni, ready-to-wear fashion director at Bloomingdale’s
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Fair Isle sweaters

"Fair Isle knitwear has had a modern update this season from brands such as Junya Watanabe, Khaite, Lisa Yang, and Jil Sander. We also love the colourful options from Bernadette, Molly Goddard, and Caro Editions. They are the perfect addition to your winter wardrobe." — Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at MatchesFashion

'90s fashion

"Coming in as a quiet remedy to the comparatively OTT '00s trend wave of the past few seasons, the minimalist late-'90s aesthetic is on the rise. Black, grey, muted neutrals, and blue denim are key for this look — prepare to counter the minis you’ve been collecting with ankle-skimming longline skirts." — Celenie Seidel, senior womenswear editor at Farfetch

Textured Bags

"I am gravitating towards lots of texture this winter — a shearling bag is a great way to make a statement with an added element of warmth and fun. I love the shoulder bag from Jacquemus and top-handle bag from DeMellier — both elevate any outfit, making it winter-chic." — Jodi Kahn, VP of luxury fashion at Neiman Marcus

Perfect pant

"The biggest trends we’re seeing this winter are around returning to office, and an appetite for more lifestyle wear. This season, we’re seeing a major shift from dresses to pants. Everything from tailored trousers to cargo pants to high-waisted denim flares are gaining popularity and traditional styles are being reimagined with updated silhouettes, pops of color, and sleek materials." — Roopal Patel, fashion director at Saks

High shine

"Everyone has been ready to party! After the last few years of things being consistently cancelled, we are ready to get out and socialise while looking and feeling fabulous in mirrored shine fabrics." — Anu Narayanan, chief merchandising officer at Anthropologie
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Thigh-high boots

"Thigh-high boots are a key footwear update for the season. We love [styles from] Paris Texas for this, whether it’s full-on crystal for party season or the suede fringe styles to take you through spring. They also look great styled with midi and maxi skirts, another key trend we have seen coming through." — Tiffany Hsu, vice president of fashion buying at MyTheresa

Modern suiting

"This year brought the rise of the modern suit with styles that feature everything from clean lines and structured details to bold colours and prints. Our customers are definitely gravitating to a more relaxed oversized fit this season for a casual effortless look."  — Stephanie Kennedy, merchandising director at Revolve
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