During the month of January, we launched our Basic series—a set of dedicated posts outlining the essential items every woman should have in their wardrobe.  They included:   

Today, we’re going to take that series a bit farther and deep-dive into a few of those topics.  But we’re going to go a bit further this month and talk about winter essentials you can’t live without.  They are: 

  • bold scarves
  • cozy sweaters
  • boots & booties 
  • sunglasses 
  • overcoats

For each item, I’m going to throw a few style tips at you and discuss whether you should think of that item as an investment piece or not.   So, let’s get going with the winter essentials you can’t live without. 

Bold Scarf

Winter can be cold, dark, and dreary, so there’s never a better time to incorporate bold pops of color into your wardrobe to brighten your day. What better way to introduce Fuschia, cobalt blue, or tangerine to your outfit than with a bold scarf? Pattern and print scarves add interest to an outfit too. Scarves are a great accessory any time of year.

Style tips 

  • I’ll wrap a scarf around my waist as a belt or tie one on my handbag in summer.
  • But come winter, a scarf is a great way to stay warm and stylish. Scarves can be tied in multiple ways around your neck to add a layer of warmth.
  • But don’t forget about silk scarves come winter. They go to work and the weekend with ease which is why they landed on my 5 classic winter essentials list.

Investment piece?  Yes. 

inclement weather travel style

Shop Scarves (Below)

Cozy Sweater

There are so many options when it comes to a cozy sweater. A simple style uniform I reach for time and again is a cozy sweater, blue jeans, and boots. Voila! Instant chic. There are so many sweaters to choose from as well as different silhouettes.

Style tips

  • Cable knit sweaters, merino wool, or a cashmere sweater are always a welcome sight on a cold winter day.
  • Whether you like a v-neck, crewneck, or cardigan, this versatile wardrobe staple can be worn multiple ways for work or the weekend and will last for years.
  • My favorite is a sleek turtleneck that looks fantastic with blue jeans. This sweater always lands on my 5 classic winter essentials list.

Investment piece?  Depends.  Sweaters can be on-trend or not.  Quality can run the full end of the spectrum. 

Shop Cozy Sweaters (Below)



Don’t forget a pair of sunglasses add a chic statement to any outfit. But they also protect our eyes from the harsh UV rays.

Style tips

  • Don’t be afraid to buy a pair of on-trend pair. 
  • Do keep pairs of classics like aviators or Jackie Ohhs 

Investment piece?  Most definitely.  Just be careful not to lose them. 

Shop Sunglasses (Click below)

Boots & Booties

Once winter rolls into town, the temperatures are sure to dip. Unless you live in Florida, Arizona, or California, that’s when boots and booties come into play as they keep your tootsies warm.

Style tips

  • Knee-high boots look fantastic tucked into a pair of skinny jeans.
  • Booties are a great option to wear with any length pants, skirt, or dress.

Investment pieces?  Depends.  Make, quality, and usage can determine whether or not a pair of boots and/or booties will last you a lifetime.  In general, I would say “yes”, especially when you’re dealing with tried and true bands like Frye.  

Shop Boots & Booties (Click below)


An overcoat always makes the top 5 classic winter essentials list. If you live in Minnesota or Canada, you know how vital a coat is to keep the winter winds at bay. But we don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. These days there are so many overcoats to choose from.

Style tips

  • We all need at least one classic overcoat to wear in the evening, at work, or during special events. That’s when a classic single-breasted or double-breasted overcoat comes into play.
  • Choose a neutral color with a longer length that can easily slip over a midi dress.
  • Shorter coats are perfect for the weekend.

Investment pieces:  Yes.   A good overcoat is timeless and should last you a lifetime.  

Shop Overcoats (Click below)


In case you missed it


That’s a wrap on winter essentials you can’t live without. Last week was Yellowstone week on the blog.  In case you missed it, we featured

We’re continuing this week with our Back to the Basics series.   This month, we’ve covered a lot of ground and walked through the 

Today week, we’re going to deep-dive into the essential jackets you should have in your wardrobe:

  • jean jacket;
  • utility jacket;
  • leather jacket;
  • trenchcoat;
  • wool overcoat
  • puffer vests; and  
  • scarves.

(True, scarves aren’t jackets, but I couldn’t resist.). The continued purpose of this column is simple: we’re here to help you establish a wardrobe that’s built on top of the basics. Think of it as building the backbone of your wardrobe.

We’ll dig down into each category, and I’ll give you examples of essential trench coats, for example. The way to read this post is simple:  in each section, I’ve given you photos of different ways I’ve styled that coat, with an assortment of links from tried and true retailers to shop the item. So let’s get started: here are the most essential jackets any woman should have in their wardrobe.

Jean jacket

The most versatile jacket you can own, you can wear a jean jacket in any season. They’re the perfect transition-weather coat. Wear them with: 

  • jeans; 
  • skirts; 
  • pants; or 
  • dresses 

Pair them with: 

  • sweaters; 
  • button-downs; 
  • t-shirts

And layer them with other coats. It’s hard to think of something a denim jacket does not go with. Get one in a classic wash, or pick one up in yellow, red, or orange. You probably don’t need another jean jacket in your wardrobe, but then again, you just might. Some retailers that consistently stock denim jackets: 

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears a Ralph Lauren denim officers jacket, white denim, striped sweater and yellow driving moccasins

Essential jean jacket (Banana Republic) | The modern jean jacket (Everlane) | The jean jacket (Madewell) | Classic denim jacket (Talbots)

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears a black pleated skirt, white tee, denim jacket, and gold metallic pumps

Essential jean jacket (Banana Republic) | The modern jean jacket (Everlane) | The jean jacket (Madewell) | Classic denim jacket (Talbots)

Field jacket

Field jackets, or military-style jackets, are generally multi-pocketed. Traditionally olive (or drab) green, long-time readers will know of my love for the quilted field jacket. The first quilted jacket came into existence in the mid-’60’s thanks to an American living in England. Mr. Guylas introduced a quilted vest in a timeless palette of olive and navy for hunting expeditions. Wear a field jacket with: 

  • jeans; or 
  • pants. 

And make sure to give them a pop of color with a colorful sweater or button-down. Make sure to check out: 

for a wide range of military-style jackets. 

spring, sprang, sprung

Cotton field jacket (multi-colors, Banana Republic) | The moleskin utility jacket (multi-colors, Everlane) | Utility jacket (Anthropologie) | Twill field jacket (multi-colors, Talbots)

jackets and scarves

Cotton field jacket (multi-colors, Banana Republic) | The moleskin utility jacket (multi-colors, Everlane) | Utility jacket (Anthropologie) | Twill field jacket (multi-colors, Talbots)


Leather jacket

Add a little spice to your wardrobe with a classic leather moto jacket. Perfect with your favorite pair of denim and a pair of Frye boots, the leather jacket is a staple in any classic wardrobe. But don’t be afraid to go modern chic with a dress and heels. Nordstrom always has an excellent selection of women’s leather jackets.

Faux leather moto jacket (Ann Taylor) | Essential leather moto jacket (Banana Republic) | The modern leather jacket (multi-colors, Everlane) | Faux leather moto jacket (Anthropologie)

Trench coat

Burberry reigns supreme when it comes to a khaki trench. Historians claim Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabric in 1879. In 1901 he designed and submitted an Army Officer’s raincoat to the United Kingdom War Office, and so the military trench began. 

I absolutely love trenches and wear them in khaki, but also keep a lookout for fun prints. Pair them with a sweater and denim for a classic preppy look. Or, if you want to class things up a bit, dress them up with your favorite evening dress and a pair of strappy heels.   You can never go wrong with Burberry for a classic trench, but retailers like J.Crew have more cost-effective options. 

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears an Everlane grey cashmere crewneck, high rise black cigarette jean, Tory Burch black ballet flats and a double-breasted trench coat

Twill trench coat (multi-colors, Ann Taylor) | Polished trench coat (Talbots) | Double-breasted topcoat in Cashmere (multi-colors, J.Crew) | Soft trench coat (multi-colors, Banana Republic)

Wool overcoat

If the north winds are blowing in your neck of the woods, then a wool overcoat is a must. This is the coat that you can throw over your jeans, trousers, skirts, and even dresses. A wool overcoat is one of the hardest-working items in your closet if you live in a climate that faces freezing temps and snow all the way through March. Choose a classic style in a flattering neutral shade, shoulders that fit well, and mid-size lapels.

Puffer vest

Practical and warm, the puffer vest is a casual staple of my wardrobe. Ranging in different types of colors, they come plain or can be adorned with, say, faux fur. Puffer vests are perfect transition-weather outerwear like denim jackets and really shine in the fall. I mostly lawyer them with sweaters, but they really shine with a crisp, white button-down. Orvis and Northface are always well-stocked with puffer vests and jackets.

Stretch down vest (multi-colors, North Face) | Puffer vest (Ivory multi, J.Crew) | The Renew vest (multi-colors, Everlane) | Quilted vest (multi-color, Talbots)

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears five classic winter essentials

Stretch down vest (multi-colors, North Face) | Puffer vest (Ivory multi, J.Crew) | The Renew vest (multi-colors, Everlane) | Quilted vest (multi-color, Talbots)


And then there are scarves. I absolutely love scarves because they are literally the easiest way to inject color and visualize interest into your wardrobe. Scarves come in every shape and size, from a cashmere scarf to quilted merino wool. Simple advice when buying a scarf:  have fun. Talbots and Ann Taylor are always my go-to for scarves. 

inclement weather travel style

Blanket scarf (Ann Taylor)Cashmere plaid scarf (Talbots) | Snow fair scarf (Talbots) | Cashmere wrap (multi-colors, J.Crew) | Merino waffle-knit scarf (multi-colors, Everlane)


Blanket scarf (Ann Taylor)Cashmere plaid scarf (Talbots) | Snow fair scarf (Talbots) | Cashmere wrap (multi-colors, J.Crew) | Merino waffle-knit scarf (multi-colors, Everlane)

In case you missed it 

Chic casual is always in and sometimes difficult to find inspiration for. And don’t forget our definitive denim guide for great jean suggestions to pair with your coats. 

As we leave the holidays behind and head into the heart of winter, it’s really easy to get stuck in pure neutrals. Sometimes, our outfits reflect the weather around us:  black, gray, white, and beige. And that’s totally fine. Depending on your personal aesthetic, you may never want to wear bold colors. But it’s still nice to add a splash color to our winter wardrobe. Not only does a color pop serve as a pick-me-up in the dog days of summer winter, but for those of you working up towards those bold colors, it’s good to start small before going big.

Add color to your wardrobe with a scarf

Accessories are by far the easiest way to add color to your winter wardrobe. Shoes, handbags, jewelry, and scarves all allow us to create visual interest while maintaining a neutral base. A splash of pink here, a yellow highlight there—accessories can breathe new life into our classic staples. Today, I’ve added subtle color by incorporating a cashmere scarf (similar) into a monochromatic blue base. The pink gradation isn’t overwhelming by any means, but it takes a classic look at pushes it that extra mile.

Talbots is generally my go-to for scarves, and I’ve paired with them before for breast cancer awareness. (But check out these affordable options from Walmart and Target.)

cashmere scarf

denim (similar) | ruffle neck blouse | puffer coat (similar) | puffer coat (similar 2) | puffer coat (similar 3) | puffer coat (similar 4) | cashmere scarf (similar 1) | cashmere scarf (similar 2) | cashmere scarf (similar 3) | boots | handbag (similar) | handbag (similar 2)

Shop the Post (below)

add color to your outfit

How to layer your clothes

Layering represents the intersection between practicality and pure fashion. In cold climates, layering is absolutely necessary, and in milder climates, it’s practically necessary, as we’re constantly moving inside, outside, and back in again.

As a basic rule of thumb, winter layering can be decomposed into four parts.

  • First layer. Well-fitting undergarments like tees, turtlenecks, or thermals.
  • Mid-layer.  Vests, crop tops, button-downs, blazers, and the like. (Note you can have more than one mid-layer:  think button-down & blazer.)
  • Outer layer. Any topcoat or jacket, poncho, shawl will do the trick here.
  • Accessories. Scarves, jewelry, hats, handbags, etc. (Again, the easiest way to add a pop of color.)

Athens never gets too cold, so I often forego the first layer. Today’s OOTD features a ruffle neck blouse from J. Crew as my mid-layer, paired with a puffer coat (similar) for my outer and a cashmere scarf (similar) as my main accessory. I’ve linked several more coats and blouses below if you’re looking for something similar, but not exact.

learn to layer clothes

denim (similar) | ruffle neck blouse | puffer coat (similar) | puffer coat (similar 2) | puffer coat (similar 3) | puffer coat (similar 4) | cashmere scarf (similar 1) | cashmere scarf (similar 2) | cashmere scarf (similar 3) | boots | handbag (similar) | handbag (similar 2)

shop the post (below)

layering tutorial

Shop the Blouses (below)

Spice up your outfit with Vince boots

There’s no better way to add that little something extra to a winter outfit than with a pair of boots. Almost paradoxically, combat boots represent that timeless freshness, no matter your age and no matter the trends. To my mind, the puffer jacket/combat boot combo is a classic cold-weather essential.

Here, I went with a pair of Vince boots, and you can never go wrong with a pair from Frye, arguably the best winter boots. But if you’re looking for a more affordable option, check out these WEARELLAS combat boots.

best winter boots

denim (similar) | ruffle neck blouse | puffer coat (similar) | puffer coat (similar 2) | puffer coat (similar 3) | puffer coat (similar 4) | cashmere scarf (similar 1) | cashmere scarf (similar 2) | cashmere scarf (similar 3) | boots | handbag (similar) | handbag (similar 2)

Shop the Post (below)

best combat boots for winter

In case you missed it 

This month, we’re all about reset, refresh, and renew. Make sure to check out yesterday’s the best way to clean your closet, and stay tuned for more ways to start the new year off right.

travel week is in full swing. on sunday, i showed you my outfit layouts and gave you some packing tips and tricks. in case you missed it, you can read them here. yesterday, i took you with me on my riverboat cruise to Normandy and Château d’Ételan. you can find that post here. today, i want to build on a theme from sunday’s post, namely how to build an essential travel wardrobe

in that post, i focused on three must-bring item types: i) denim, ii) black pants, and a iii) sweater. today, i’m showcasing 2 out of the 3 items much in the same way as i did yesterday’s post.  specifically, i want to show you how you can reuse elements of one outfit successfully in another (potentially) cutting down on the number of items you pack.  

day outfit

the importance of denim 

denim is one of the hardest-working items in your wardrobe. this is doubly true when you’re traveling. for those of you following the blog this month, i hope you got a chance to check out the definitive guide to denim i put together. you can read that post here.  

cashmere turtleneck dress | blazer | similar turtleneck dress | boyfriend jean | skinny jean | low heeled booties | scarf

the sheer flexibility denim provides when you travel is limitless. as i said sunday, dress them up. dress them down. dress them somewhere in-between. there is no single item more essential to pack than denim.  

cashmere turtleneck dress | blazer | similar turtleneck dress | boyfriend jean | skinny jean | low heeled booties | scarf

here, i’ve paired a cashmere turtleneck dress from Everlane with a blazer from Lafayette 148. blazers make my #4 essential items, and i put together a fall guide to blazers here.   you can match this look with a pair of boyfriend jeans or skinny jeans. either works perfectly. and if distressed jeans aren’t your thing, no problem. just make sure to check out these low heeled booties from Easy Spirit. i’m continuing to try to bring you chic but comfortable footwear, and these booties are just that. since September i’ve partnered with Easy Spirit as a brand ambassador, so please be certain to use code BETH25 for 25% off your purchase through November 2019.

evening outfit

the utility of black pants. 

at some point in your trip abroad, you’re going to spend an evening out. maybe you’ll head into town for a quiet dinner, or maybe you’ll spend the night dancing. black pants work in a variety of evening occasions, no matter what city or country you find yourself in.  and much like denim, they pair nicely with a mixture of tops and outerwear. you’re not going to want to forget them.  

cashmere turtleneck dress | blazer | similar turtleneck dress | faux leather pants | low heeled booties

for my evening wear, i’ve kept the cashmere turtleneck dress, blazer, and low heeled booties. i dropped the scarf and denim, swapping the latter for faux leather pants from Ann Taylor. just like that, i was ready to see an evening concert at the beautiful Château de la Roche-Guyon.

 Château de Chantilly

all right, gang! that’s a wrap for the second entry into my travel diary. like yesterday, i want to leave you with some breathtaking pictures.  these are from Château de Chantilly, and i hope you enjoy them. keep the comments coming! i’m loving hearing all about your recent travels or upcoming travel plans. tell me how you build an essential travel wardrobe in the comments below. 

the following photos were taken on our day trip to Rouen, France.

many of you know, mr. style lost his battle to cancer in july.  the outpouring of love and support from you, my readers, was moving.  it forever changed me. and in reading through your emails and comments, i was particularly struck by the fact of just how many of you have dealt with or are dealing with cancer.  i don’t think there’s a single one of us who does not have direct experience with this heinous disease.  


it would be impossible to put into words what we all have gone through in our own individual battles;  at least in any meaningful sense. but i do know that even when we feel powerless and like we cannot go on, we must—and do—wake up each and every day and continue our fight.

fight against breast cancer

when Talbots reached out to me to partner against the fight against breast cancer, i immediately agreed.  breast cancer is something that affects 12% of women a year. i know statistics can be abstract and impersonal, but i want you to think about that for just a second.  

1 out of every 10 women you know will be directly affected by this disease in their lifetime.  women like you and i; our mothers; our sisters; our daughters; our aunts; our cousins; women from our jobs; from our book clubs; from every aspect of our lives will face their own personal battle.  and that battle will forever change us and everyone we come into contact with.     

fight against breast cancer

today, i’m proud to announce that i’m working with Talbots to raise money to support women in their personal battle against breast cancer.  Talbots partnered with six internationally renowned female artists to create a limited-edition collection of one-of-a-kind scarves. In the spirit of helping women, Talbots will donate 20% of the net proceeds from each scarf sold from September 23, 2019 to October 31, 2019 in support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Care Helpline.

i’m wearing Caroline Melis’s scarf. designed in Cagliari, Italy this scarf displays lotus petals opening, one by one, to represent strength and determination.  and it’s exactly our individual, but more importantly, collective strength and determination that we must trust in to see us through our darkest moments. it’s important to continue to fight against breast cancer.

fight against breast cancer

i’ve paired this beautiful scarf with a pair of high-waist, straight-leg jeans.  as we move into cooler weather, it’s all about the layers. (it always is.) i’ve pulled in a beautiful blue heather sweater and double-face wool jacket.  don’t you just love the yellow color pop? and the clean lines of the jeans and mid-cap pumps pair perfectly with this layered combination. 

fight against breast cancer

today—maybe more than any time i can recall in recent memory—i want to hear from you.  no doubt our battles with cancer are highly personal. but if you’re willing to share, even in part, i know it will serve not just as inspiration to me, but for others as well. and don’t forget we aren’t in this fight alone. i love the fact that Talbots is helping with the fight against breast cancer.

fight against breast cancer

denim | sweater | c/o jacket | c/o scarf | shoes | similar handbag



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