How to Stay Cozy & Cute

By Jasmin, age 17, Indiana
Sweet Designs Featured Writer

Featured Gold Star Writer Bio

Yes, I know guys, it is getting pretty cold outside, and I know you are already getting pretty tired of the weather already! Well, I know I am at least. Especially when the weather doesn't want to make up its mind if it wants to be rainy and cold, rainy and warm, sunny but frigid, or warm and semi-cloudy? I mean, come on, Mother Nature, make up your mind, girl! I know you are a female and the act of making quick snap decisions can be a very difficult task, however, there are millions of people on the line here! Thousands of fashion forward teens and adults here trying to work around your schedule.

I must say that most times I just get so darn stubborn and rebellious against good ole' Mother Nature I choose to make her work around my wardrobe! It never winds up happening that way; she just makes my life miserable and punishes me whenever I step foot outside. For example, the night before I simply hear it'll be semi-warm outside (I never check the news - again, too stubborn), so I decide to dress up, go all out, with the dress and maybe a little heel action, decide to get up a tad bit earlier to actually do my hair and put on some eye shadow, a diversion from the norm of two minute mascara and a dab of eyeliner in the morning. I wake up, feel all fresh and excited to be all dolled up, then that happiness dissipates as fast as my two inch peep-toes dissolve into the moist grass. It's freezing outside!!! I can barely move in my cute striped H&M dress, my newly shaven legs quickly acquire those annoying little goose bumps all over, and needless to say I'm left again cursing that "dang Mother Nature" and her poor weather decision that yet again leaves me angry, frozen, and bitter. So, my fellow stubborn weather rebels (if there are any as crazy as me) I have recently found (well, bought) a few solutions that will solve this exact problem! Or, at least, a quandary similar, just not at quite the insane level mine is on. :)

First of all, the most important solution to freezing your behind off in the early morning is my favorite! I first looked these specific solutions up online with my sister, wondering about the trend in school, and we were so curious if they were really that warm and how expensive they really were. So, we looked up Columbia fleece jackets and North Face fleeces, seeing which looked like the best quality and price.

While North Face's ranged from about $50 to $130, Columbia's were only $30 to about $45, if you want a hood. So, to test out which was the best bang for our buck, we went to Dick's Sporting Goods and looked. North Face fleeces were definitely a good $20-$30 more expensive for pretty much exactly the same fleece jacket. So, my trusty sister and I bought three Columbia's, one for each of us and even one for my mother! They were so inexpensive and perfect for the upcoming chilly weather which we knew Indiana had in store for us at any moment (again, thanks, Mother Nature!) So a mere $112 later, which is very fair I believe for three fleece jackets, one with a hood since my mother wanted head protection from the rain, we were off to another store, already testing out our fancy fleeces. (They were our first ever fleeces, if you can't tell.)

All three of us immediately fell in love with them and we still wear them pretty much every single day, beating off the chilly weather with our Columbias - no way for wind to go through the thick fleece.

And so, what I'm telling everyone is to simply buy a fleece! If you want to drop an extra $20 or so for the North Face brand, that is perfectly up to you, but for everyone on a budget, definitely invest in a Columbia fleece! If you like hoods, like my mom, it's only an extra $5 for a hooded one! But at Dick's Sporting Good's, $35 is fair for something that will last you through not only the chilly fall weather, but can also help you survive in the winter! If you're not a big fan of the whole big, heavy coat scene in the winter, just bundle up with a regular hoodie, then wear your fleece over the top of it, and I assure you that you will be protected from the frigid winter wind.

Available for $34.99 at or your local Dick's Sporting Goods store. Also available in black and white (or hooded for $39.99).

Available for $50.00 at or your local Dick's Sporting Goods store.

Alright guys, another simple savior of fall and upcoming winter is (don't cringe too much here) - leggings! But, not just any thin, nylon leggings that won't keep your bum warm at all in the wind, but wool leggings! My mother and I, on another shopping adventure, walked into our local mall, Washington Square, into a Rainbow and found multiple darker colors in these warm wool leggings. They're prefect! They're thick and go all the way to our ankles - I know how irritating it is to buy leggings that barely cover your calves! Plus, these are only $7.99! So we bought a chocolate and black pair to share! A few days later, after we washed them, I tested 'em out on a lazy day during my wonderful two week break (when unfortunately I had to wake up early still to take my mom to an early doctor's appointment).

So I threw on the chocolate pair and my handy-dandy Columbia, my Ugg-like boots, and went on about my business, coffee in hand, of course. Outside it was probably around a chilly 50 degrees F (10 C), but lo and behold I was actually warm! Legitimately, guys - not trying to do an endorsement deal here or anything! I was pleasantly surprised with the effectiveness of these inexpensive, but miracle wool leggings! So again, any girl who wants to be comfy but still look cute, purchase yourself (and maybe your mom or sister or best friend even!) a couple pairs of these! Plus, since they are still leggings and stretchy, you can buy a universal medium or even large to be extra stretchy and comfy and still share - pass 'em around all season!

Available for $12.99 at or your local Target store.

Unfortunately all I could find online were normal knit or nylon leggings, however knit can work and be warm, depending on your footwear. But, in order to find some thicker wool ones, you just gotta scope out the local shops! Inexpensive shops generally have them, like Rainbow, Rave, Citi Trends, TJ Maxx, or possibly Marshall's if you really look! Just keep an eye out and bargain shop - they shouldn't be expensive at all!

Lastly, somewhat of an add-in to all these keep-you-warm items, but I cannot let these shoes go, even as winter comes! Oxfords! Find a cheap pair of these and wear them until the snow comes, then you can break out your Uggs! I have been obsessed with these shoes for months! They are so simple and they seem to go with literally almost any outfit! Just a simple jean shorts and t-shirt outfit, or even a cute sun dress! I loooove them! Especially brown ones, or my favorite, the black and white tuxedo styled ones.

Although I have yet to snatch up a pair, it's only because I am so picky and frugal when it comes to purchasing a new pair of shoes. I view buying them as an investment in my future fashion. Kind of odd, right? But everyone should consider buying a new pair of shoes a serious investment in their future wardrobe.

You have to really ponder the shoe issue ... Will you wear them often enough to spend a pretty penny? Will they go with quite a few outfit combinations? Will they compliment the clothes or be the major statement? Then you should consider the color of the specific pair, if there are any choices. Will the color flatter or match any items or clothing you own? Or will they just be bold and that nice pop of color you need to spice up your wardrobe? These are all very important questions you should definitely at least consider asking yourself before purchasing a pair of shoes. Or, if it's a random splurge, try asking them immediately after you arrive home, when you still have a few days, or hours, to ponder these questions and determine if this indulgence was a smart decision after all, or just an unwise snap decision. But back to the Oxfords - this could be a shoe you can wear for the rest of fall, until, as I said, the snow comes ... then we'll talk boots! But until then, you can maybe spare a little dab of money to buy these cute every-outfit shoes!

Available for $24.80 at or your local Forever 21 store.

I thought these gold ones were absolutely precious! The glittery gold-ness of them could be just perfect to sparkle up a simple outfit :)

Available for $39.99 at or your local Journey's store.

Here is my favorite combination of colors! These are simple enough that they'll go with any outfit - hello, black and white! So wear these with practically every outfit, girls!

Alright, now that I've wrapped up a couple items that will keep you nice and cozy, yet still cute, of course, you gals can go out and make these investments yourselves! Especially those comfy Columbias and wintry leggings! I know you guys will thank me once you buy them! I'll be expecting those thank you e-mails ;)

Thanks everyone, until next time! Try your best until then to survive the chilly weather! :)

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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