OLIVIA’S CLOSET: Staying warm through winter

Before moving to New York City in August, one of the first things many people asked me was how I, a lifelong Malibuite and University of Hawaii graduate, was going to make it through winter. These nice people gave me some advice.

“Better make sure your apartment has a heater,” one said. “Prepare to be on house arrest for months.”

But most of them just laughed and said, “You’re gonna die.”

Little do they know that I am pretty excited to experience winter in the Big Apple … but only because it’s a great excuse to buy an arsenal of amazing winter coats.

My NYC apartment is the size of a shoebox (by L.A. standards), so the size of my closet can best be compared to that of a pillbox. But when you open it (slowly so that heels and handbags don’t fly out and give you a concussion), you’ll find I’ve already begun to stock up for what I hear will be a tough time of year.

Out and about in Manhattan, a few trends really stick out. A new one for fall/winter is the aviator jacket, which I’ve been seeing on women and in stores throughout the city. In soft leather, sheepskin and shearling, the most popular aviator jackets have an exaggerated collar, and plenty of buckles and strap detailing. The aviator appears to have replaced the leather motorcycle jacket that everyone went nuts over this time last year. But don’t get me wrong-everyone and their mother are still wearing the biker jacket. The surmounting demand for both styles proves advantageous for shoppers of all incomes, who can find the jackets in a variety of brands and price ranges. For those who don’t feel like making an investment, H&M is selling their version for around $30.

We’re almost at the cusp of moving from fall to winter and, like it or not, fur is big as ever. True story: there are a bevy of fur coats in my grandma’s closet. I’m talking vintage 1960s swing coats in mint condition. The problem? I can’t bring myself to wear them. So after canvassing the city in search of a quality faux fur coat that didn’t feel and look like it was made of Barbie doll hair, I finally bought one for $200 at a store called Topshop. The coat is wearable in California because it isn’t heavy, which makes it great for layering. Topshop unfortunately doesn’t have stores in Los Angeles, but check it out online at www.topshop.com. You’re welcome, animal lovers.

So far, I’ve realized that living in New York is all about efficiency. The hustle and bustle of this fast-paced city leaves little time to fuss about uncomfortable shoes or frizzy hair on a humid day. Two timeless cover-ups-the camel coat and the trench coat-instantly make you look more polished. Camel coats are fun to shop for because they come in so many different hues: cognac, caramel, toffee and nutmeg, to name a few. Camel cashmere is most luxurious, but it’s not very conducive to Malibu’s climate or a student budget. Luckily, camel coats are available in a variety of materials so it’s easy to find them in varying levels of warmth.

I must admit I underestimated the power of a good trench coat before moving to this city. In black, brown or tan, trench coats and boots are a must for rainy weather. If it’s chilly but dry outside, pair a trench with some flats and you’re good to go.

Like so many beach girls who cringe when the days begin to get shorter, I have embraced the change in seasons as an opportunity to upgrade my winter wardrobe. In the meantime, I’m still waiting for it to snow.

Olivia Damavandi formerly worked as assistant editor of The Malibu Times newspaper. She is now pursuing a master’s degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She can be reached at Olivia221@gmail.com

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