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Top Outdoor Winter Essentials For Minnesotans

By Sasha Westin

We all know that winter weather means we'll be layer up and hibernating most of these cold months. But it is also an essential time to protect bits and pieces from the harsh winds and cold when we do venture out. My list of essentials are a mix of form, function, necessity and back ups. Yes you heard me -- back ups -- extra pairs of everything you can throw in your bag or have in your car just incase.


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Hats go a long way when it comes to holding body temperature. Wool is always a solid choice for every day - from newsboy caps to toques - while fleece and fur hats are an excellent choice for below-freezing temperatures. If you are outdoors for extended periods of time, opt for a hat that will protect the sensitive skin around the ears. Fedoras and berets will always stand the test of time. Keep a back up or extra hat in your purse for those times when you are either rushing out the door or think it's "not that cold out". Shop for hats at department stores like Macy's for a wide selection; discount designer stores like Opitz or resale stores like NuLook.


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Wrap yourself up in warmth, inside or outside, with a scarf that adds a pop of color to an outfit or dark coat. Opt for one that feels soft against your skin, does not shed and is proportionate with your body size (for example, taller people can wear bulkier knits). Tassels and fringe can add a touch of style and can also signal a scarf that needs to be replaced. Keep an extra scarf at the office in solid colors that will go with most of your outfits. Shop for a plethora of scarf options at Target, Marshall's and department stores like Herbergers.

Coats And Jackets

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Coats and jackets are a no brainer, at minimum, I recommend two items - one for weekend and one for work. Your weekend piece will be primarily practical for errands and outdoor activities while your work piece will be dressier and pair more appropriately with professional clothing. You can really never have too many winter coats or jackets; one's that extends beyond the waist will work best. Opt for one that fits close to the body over a layer or two for the most flattering look. Land's End and department stores like Nordstrom Rack carry quality outerwear that will last for years while consignment and vintage shops have a smaller selection at bargain prices.


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You honestly can't have too many pairs of gloves, I have extra pairs in my purse, car, at the office, in a basket by my front door. They are critical for activities that require active hands including driving, snowball fights and holding children's hands. A leather glove will hold in warmth, last for years and add a polished look. A plush glove is looks pretty but may not be as warm unless you splurge for a special lining like Thinsulate. Bulky gloves can offer a lot of warmth but are not as functional. Fingerless gloves are an excellent item if you spend your days in a cooler indoor temperature and/or for using gadgets that require a warm touch. Gloves of all kind and price ranges can be found everywhere from department stores like Kohl's and JCPenney to local specialty shops like StyledLife and MartinPatrick3.

Hand Lotion

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It is always nice to shake hands with someone who takes care of their skin. A good hand lotion will prevent cracked, scaly looking hands and chapped skin that we all have in the winter. Opt for a creamy consistency that does not leave grease marks behind. A light scent or unscented lotion is best for office environments, travel size locations can easily fit in your purse or glove compartment. For an extra healing treatment try using Vaseline and gloves overnight, it works wonders. Delicious lotions from Minnesota-based companies J.R. Watkins, Thymes, Aveda and more can be found in specialty shops and malls.

Sasha Westin, Personal Style Concierge and owner of Fabuliss, helps you feel confident looking successful with the right outfits. Get style advice, see client results and learn how to connect at

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