Wisconsin winter. When I hear those two words I cringe and want to book a plane ticket to Florida. Unfortunately, the only things we can do to safeguard against winter are wearing warm clothes and staying indoors. Staying indoors is not really an option, so choosing the appropriate clothing for winter is very important. It allows us to travel easier through Madison's tundra. A common misconception about winter clothes is that they are monotonous and unstylish. Here are a few tips on staying warm and savvy this winter, without looking like Ralphie from "The Christmas Story."

First and foremost, the fabrics we wear determine our warmth. Cotton is out, the fabric is comfortable and light, but is usually worn in warmer weather. Synthetic fabric, such as Gore-Tex is helpful in guarding against the atrocious wind from the lake. Smart Wool is also a fabric that helps hold warmth in your body. These two materials are lightweight and can be infused into almost any article of clothing. Specifically, socks, gloves and undershirts made of this material are the best.

Another fabric that is amazing for winter is cashmere. It is a little bit more expensive, but totally worth it. Cashmere is warm, soft and classy. You can wear it lounging around the house, or to a holiday party. Take advantage of this fabric, because it can take you anywhere.

A good way to brighten up short days and long nights this winter is to wear color. Colors that usually are associated with winter are deep reds, black, emerald and gold. This season in the fashion world, designers are breaking the age-old fashion rule of wearing white after Labor Day. It sounds crazy, because white doesn't attract warmth, and blends in with snow. Although it is against the unwritten rules, it's new and creative. Designers are using several different shades and calling it "winter white." The best way to wear this color is in formalwear. The trend is head to toe white or beige with gold accessories. I think this look is chic and confident. It is gutsy to dress up in white and go to a semi-formal or formal event. Classic red is a color that will be a staple in winter clothing forever. It is festive and warms whatever it is worn with. It is a versatile color because it can be worn through fall and winter, making it practical as well as stylish. Another color that will always be popular in winter is black. It is flattering on anyone, and is perfect for dressing up or down. A trend that has been around for a while is an all black look, with a hint of color. It provides a uniform look with a little flair – a fun scarf, belt, brooch or shoes will do nicely.

According to some fashion on the streets, weather is not the only cold thing in Madison. There are several styles that are unflattering, no matter how widespread they may be. First of all, I am not an UGG-hater. I have tried them on, and they are quite comfortable. From what I hear from my friends, they are really warm. Originally, UGGs are from Australia and worn in warm weather. They remind me of an old, worn sweatshirt — comfortable yet scrubby. I am sure they serve their purpose to the people who buy them, but they do not represent classy footwear.

A trend that can be even worse than brand overkill is wearing style wrong. If you choose to wear UGGs, know that it looks ridiculous to tuck your pants into them. Not only do you look like you are trying to hard, but you look like you are in a barn shoveling hay. Unless you are a farmer, that style is unnecessary.

The more correct way to tuck your pants into your shoes is if you are wearing tall thin boots and skinny pants. This style is fashionable because it is smooth throughout. Usually, if you tuck your pants into boots, you want to show off the boots. There is nothing to show off with UGGs. They are shearling, leather and rubber in a Frankenstein form. My advice is to ditch the clunk and find a pair of clean cut, waterproof boots for the winter.

Madison's fashion may at times fail, but I respect students' attempts to be themselves. Especially during this time of the semester, most of us are lucky enough to put some thought into winter clothing, much less be super stylish. With whatever time you do have, be yourself and love what you wear.

This season is also the time to be thankful and give to others. I give to you ideas, comments and criticism. I also give away my old clothes and the stuff I deem "unfashionable." I urge you, in your search for the perfect winter fashion, to go through your wardrobe, update your style and give to those who don't have the option of fashion at all. We as a college community should try and protect ourselves as well as the less fortunate from winter, whether it is "fashionable" or not.

Melissa Eisenberg is a sophomore planning to major in journalism. She can be reached for question or comment at [email protected]

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