Layer Up

Feel as fierce as the winter winds

I love Maine. I love the scent of crisp fall mornings transitioning towards winter. I love feeling the sense of community we are so lucky to have as I walk past locally owned shops in the Old Port on my way into work. I love to stop at The Crooked Mile and linger a little too long catching up with my favorite baristas before tackling the mountains of work. I love Maine!

Cocoon Coat by J.Crew (, $350)
Ruffle Quilted Vest by J.Crew Factory (, $49.50)
Classic scarf by Burberry (, $430)
Infinity Tote by Eklund Griffin (, $500)
Photo by Amanda Whitegiver

But I am too cheap to pay for parking in Portland, so I park on Munjoy Hill and walk approximately a mile each morning into my office. Three-quarters of the year, this is a delightful transition into work mode. I can move my body and mentally prepare for the day. However, in the winter, it can be miserable. It can be bitterly cold and/or wet, and it is seemingly impossible to feel confident and fashionable underneath the myriad layers that leave me feeling more akin to the Michelin Man than Kate Middleton. So, in an effort to combat the cold, we’ve rounded up a few items to help keep you warm while also feeling as fierce as the winter winds that bite your cheeks.

As we all know, one key component to warmth is layering. The trick can be finding an outer layer that is large enough to accommodate additional pieces, while simultaneously not making you feel like you’re drowning in wool or down. We love the Cocoon Coat by J.Crew for this reason. I actually purchased mine in 2016 as a maternity coat, but have found that it transitions beautifully into non-maternity as well. The fuller silhouette still maintains a flattering feel, evoking 1960s sentiments, and it accommodates as many layers as you want to pile underneath. We chose to add in the Ruffle Quilted Vest by J.Crew Factory, a classic scarf from Burberry, and cable beret from The Scotch House. (Fashion side note: when the last Scotch House locations were closed in 2001, they were owned by the Burberry corporation and re-opened as Burberry storefronts.) Given the high neck line of this coat, a scarf isn’t always necessary, with the exception being the most blustery winter days when the streets of Portland rival a wind tunnel. The locally crafted, buttery leather Infinity Tote by Eklund Griffin comes with its own clutch, and its size makes this investment piece an excellent commuter work tote, with room for a few notebooks, your laptop and indoor shoes.

Fiona Parka by Patagonia (, $299)
Maine Lobster hat by Betty Louise Studios (Day Trip Society, Kennebunkport, $125)
Photo by Amanda Whitegiver

Our second look, featuring the Fiona Parka by Patagonia, elicits a more casual sensibility. We are in love with this jacket for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact the ultra light down is reclaimed from other down products. Waste not, my friends! From a design perspective, we appreciate the feminine lines the princess seams in the front and back create, in addition to the contoured quilting that provides a flattering silhouette. This show-stopping cocoon of warmth pairs beautifully with the Maine Lobster hat, hand knit in Bridgeport by Katie Chalmers, founder of Betty Louise Studios. Chalmers has created many unique designs, but we are seriously crushing on the Maine vibes of this lobster + Maine motif (available this season at Daytrip Society in Kennebunk). The lofty wool blend keeps both head and ears toasty warm and the pom-pom is the icing on the cake.

The locally crafted Infinity Tote by Eklund Griffin comes with its own clutch, and its size makes this investment piece an excellent commuter work tote. Photo by Amanda Whitegiver

Lastly, nothing puts more pep in my step than a perfect shoe. But let’s be honest, function needs to win out over form in the depths of winter. I generally tote my “inside shoes” along in my bag and venture out in my Bean boots through the city slush and snow. I’ve had mine for many years, and they have held up beautifully. I’m not quite ready to pull the trigger and replace them, but they are starting to look a little worn, which is why I was positively thrilled to see the new boot lace bar in the mens shoe department of the flagship store in Freeport. With over a dozen colors to choose from, there’s something to fit every aesthetic, customized right down to selecting the aglets on the ends of your laces. This $4 investment gave my boots the facelift they needed to make it through a few more winters, and they brighten my cold commute along the way!

For more detailed fit reviews of these items and more Maine fashion, head over to the East Coast Inspired blog,

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Amy Power and Amanda Whitegiver are co-founders of East Coast Inspired, a fashion and lifestyle blog. Amy is a mother of two (and the model featured in this column’s photos) who spends her days dreaming of the ultimate craft room and intending to go for a run. Amanda is a lifestyle family photographer who adores dark chocolate and singing with her two daughters.

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