Winter Fashion Is 'Granny Chic'

If you want to be fashionable this winter, just go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. And then raid her closet.

Styles that Granny has been wearing for years — beaded cardigans, big brooches, pleated skirts, fur-lined snow boots over pants and gold brocaded clothing — are anything but dated this season.

“The theme, I’d say, is ‘Granny chic,’” said Glamour magazine (search) fashion editor Suze Yalof Schwartz. “It’s Grandma’s closet that's come out to the runways this season. And it’s sexy.”

The vintage, bejeweled cardigan is piping hot, now that the mercury has dropped. Cardigans studded with rhinestones, sequins, beads or pearls spruce up any outfit and are even spicing up jeans.

“It’s a great investment,” Yalof Schwartz said. “Everybody’s doing it, from Express to Marc Jacobs. Everybody has knocked off your grandmother’s cardigan.”

Last year, the Ugg boot (search) was the must-have in footwear. This year, moon boots and furry, shaggy snow boots with a wedge heel are hot — but make sure to wear them over your pants or jeans if you want to be really hip.

Marc by Marc Jacobs' Snow Boot (search) for $180, Tecnica's Moon Boot (search) for $129, Coach's Sofie Boot (search) for $400, Mukluks (search) Native American boots for $395 and the KORS by Michael Kors (search) Crosby and Cosmic boots for $353 and $373, respectively, all fit the bill.

“Moon boots are making a huge resurgence, [as is] the hairy fur boot with the long fur,” Yalof Schwartz said.

As for wearing them conspicuously over the pants instead of tucked discreetly under them, the fad started coming back last year with Uggs, and now it's de rigueur. Kate Moss appears in the latest issue of Marie Claire wearing a pair of fur-trimmed Mukluks over her jeans, for example, and other celebs have been spotted sporting similar looks.

“A lot of celebrities have been wearing a higher-heeled boot over the jeans,” said Elycia Rubin, fashion expert and author of the book "Frumpy to Foxy in 15 Minutes Flat" (search), which comes out in April.

Granny’s big, gaudy brooches are glinting in the wintry sun this year, adorning everything from sweaters and blouses to coats and scarves.

For a sexy, glam look that’s also cozy and warm, fur (or faux fur) trim on puffy, down-filled parkas, tweedy tailored coats, cardigans and wraps is also en vogue to an even greater extent than it was last winter.

“Fur is definitely huge, especially faux fur, from trim to full-length fur coats,” said Dannielle Romano, editor at large at the trend-spotting Web site (search). “There are so many [more] faux fur options than there ever were before. It’s definitely carried over from the hint of it last year.”

Gold brocaded skirts, jackets and coats and full, pleated skirts — look at Granny’s Sunday best for ideas — are also everywhere Old Man Winter is.

Grandma isn’t behind every style popping up this winter. Overstuffed, down-filled parkas are still huge (“This season, it’s all about the puffy coat. The down jacket is really hot,” according to Yalof Schwartz), with everyone from Gap (search) to Juicy Couture (search) selling them. White pants in wintry fabrics like velvet and corduroy and tight little blazers are also hot.

But still, the bulk of the styles darting in and out of the cold wind and snow flurries have clearly been inspired by that dear, sweet, old lady who baked you cookies and knitted you afghans when you were little.

Don’t worry, though. The looks have been modernized and sexed up enough that people won’t think “retirement-home fashion” when they see you.

"Think hot Grandma," Yalof Schwartz said.