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Winter wear: Faux fur, knits and fake leather

There are many affordable and animal-friendly outfits that won't leave you looking like a teenage rock star or a serious frump. Stacy London untangles tricky trends, from faux fur to pleather, and explains how to make them work this season.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Cold-weather clothing, including fur, leather and thick knits, can make us look bulky and unfashionable. But with so many items on the market, there are also tons of affordable and animal-friendly options that won’t leave you looking like a teenage rock star or serious frump. Stacy London untangles tricky trends and explains how to make them work this season:

Faux furYou can’t turn a corner this season without seeing an oversized, floor-length, hippie-inspired faux fur vest. Fake fur can quickly look cheap and tacky, but when worn correctly, it’s a great way to freshen up an evening or work outfit. When going for this trend, look for pieces that look and feel real; just because it's fake doesn't mean it should look it!

Also, try classic silhouettes from the ’30s and ’40s, like a sophisticated wrap or shrug as opposed to a floor-length vest or long-sleeved jacket. You can pair this with a blouse in satin or silk that fits close to the body and a pencil skirt in a neutral color (black, navy or subtle metallic). Dress it up for evening with jeweled accessories, higher heels and opaque stockings and voila! This look is stylish, contemporary and puts a classic twist on a tricky trend.

Black faux fur stole, Ann Taylor,; $75
Sequin and mesh sleeveless blouse, H&M; $34.95
Silver metallic brocade pencil skirt, LOFT,; $89.50
Black satin and feather evening heels, Nina,; $99.95
Round pave stud earrings, LOFT,; $29.50
Fishnet stocking pearl necklace, Juliet & Company,; $58
Onyx and silver ring, Silent Gypsy,; $44
Rhinestone Mutiny bracelet, Rosena Sammi,; $75
Black leaf embossed faux leather evening clutch, Jessica McClintock,; $41
Black herringbone hosiery, H&M; $4.90

KnitKnitwear is all over the place right now. It’s a great way to look stylish and casual, although many chunky knits can look shapeless and add bulk to your body. It is essential when choosing a thicker, looser-shaped knit to pair it with more fitted pieces. Adding a belt is the ideal way to give more structure to an outfit and create a waistline. When choosing a belt, look for one that sits just above or at your natural waistline — it creates a longer leg line and keeps the body looking longer, leaner and taller. For the most part, knits should be proportional to body height and size.

If you’re taller (5'6" and up), go for a longer silhouette. If you are shorter (5'5" and under), go shorter; mid-thigh is a good length for taller women, whereas if you’re petite, sweaters that hit just above your crotch or top of the hip are most flattering. Find pieces that have texture to the knit, like a cable sweater. This adds detail without the bulk.

Lastly, layering a fitted piece underneath, like a long-sleeved cotton T-shirt, helps define body shape. Knitwear can be worn appropriately to the office as well; pair a cardigan with a silk blouse, a wide-leg tweed trouser and a high-heel pump for a more professional ensemble.

Dark wash bootcut premium jeans, Not Your Daughters Jeans, Nordstrom; $98
Orange cotton peasant top, Mossimo for Target, and most Target Stores; $14.99 Gray cable knit sweater, LOFT,; $79.50
Gray and white cotton cable knit scarf, H&M; $41.95
Green faux-snakeskin collage Satchel, Carlos Falchi for Target, and most Target stores; $49.99
Silver and gold chain belt, Spring,; $14.99
Crema Flowerstud Bracelet, Rebecca Minkoff, Scoop; $68
Pine Flowerstud Bracelet, Rebecca Minkoff @ Bloomingdales Direct; $68
Python ring, Allison Daniel,; $98
Teardrop gold hoop with crystal inset earrings, SYLAS by Nashelle Jewelry,; $85

Faux leatherWe used to know it as “pleather,” but now fake leather is looking just as sleek, modern and expensive as the real deal. There are so many styles to this trend, but I love it for an updated work outfit. Look for fake leathers in classic silhouettes and neutral colors that are easy to build from, like a black pencil skirt or cognac tailored blazer that nips in at the waist. Pair it with a woven blouse that has a muted pattern (to add visual interest) or even add a tweed blazer to the pencil skirt for an uber-chic style.

Also, when choosing fake leather pieces, remember matte looks more expensive than shiny, and trust me, no one wants to look cheap when attempting this tricky trend in the workplace!

Brown faux fur Liz cape, Target-Limited-Edition, and most Target stores; $49.99 Gray Wool and Viscose Jacket, H&M; $59.95
Black faux leather pencil skirt, UNIQLO; $29.50
Charcoal pima jersey long-sleeve shirred-waist shirt, LILLA P @; $74
Gray textured tights, H&M; $4.90
Merona Plaid Satchel, Merona for Target, and most Target stores; $26.99
Silver Swarovski crystal hoop earrings, Lunessa @; $22
Mini stretch pearl bracelet, LOFT,; $34.50