<p>Jenna Marie Wakani</p>
Chilly weather calls for bold and beautiful coats! Our curvy fashion expert, Meredith Shaw, rounds up the best outerwear picks to keep you looking chic and cozy.
Your outfit is perfect. Your accessory game is strong. You know you look, and feel fabulous. But wait, it's winter—in Canada—and your styling efforts are about to get smothered by your winter coat. Every Canadain woman is well versed in this struggle: Be warm or look cute? For me, the latter often wins out, but this season I want both—no more basic black or months of being concealed under a boring puffer. Our curves have never had more options.
By the way, my name is Meredith Shaw, and this is the beginning of our beautiful (and stylish) friendship. Consider me your personal full-figured style guide. At long last, the fashion industry is getting hip to accepting different body shapes and reinforcing that curves are awesome. Not to #humblebrag or anything, but I'm a professional model and a style expert on TV. I've also experienced fashion at almost every size, from 8 to 22 and back to 14. One of the most important things I've discovered is to feel good about the body I'm in now—not 10 pounds from now—and so should you!
But back to coats. When the temperature dips, I get excited about transitioning to outerwear. There's something about a perfectly tailored sleeve and the smoothness of a fine wool scarf against your cheek. I've learned to go bold or go home with my outerwear—and I wish more curvy gals would embrace that, too. Rather then blend in with the crowd, choose something that will help you stand out and walk a little taller through the slush and snow.
Structure is our friend
Steer clear of baggy oversize coats, which can make you appear larger. Instead, look for details that provide structure—like banding, darting around the waist or built-in shoulder pads—which, in turn, gives you shape.
Coat (sizes XS to 3X), $52, justfab.com.
I think puffer jackets are a winter-wardrobe must, especially in a fun colour. Stave off any Michelin Man effect by keeping puffers fitted and snug.
Active Zone reversible down coat (sizes X to 6X), $160, penningtons.com.
I once thought capes were only for superheroes, but they're perfect as a transitional piece. Buy one in a neutral tone and opt for texture over pattern—you'll get more wear out of it.
Hide Society cape, $875, toniplus.com.
Pick a colour—any colour
Canadian winters are long and grey, so do us all a favour and wear a splash of colour.
Make sure your wardrobe is full of great fall fashion finds—these ones also happen to be plus size.
Don't have the time or money to overhaul your wardrobe this fall? No matter—add one of these fall trends for an instant update. Our trendy plus size picks for fall have you covered.
Add some whimsy to your look with ruffles and flounces. Flounce top, $31, forever21.com.
Fall's best dress trend? Something flowy and printed—channel your inner boho babe. Boho dress, $148, additionelle.com.
Take summer's cold shoulder trend to fall with long sleeves and a pop of colour. Rachel Roy off the shoulder shirt, $129, additionelle.com.
You seriously cannot go wrong with a classic pair of medium denim skinny jeans. Skinny jeans, $30, hm.com/ca.
Bomber jackets are still going strong. Embroidered jacket, $57, forever21.com.
Embroidery is in! Pick up some denim with this season's hottest detailing. L&L embroidered denim, $98, additionelle.com.
If you are going to pick up one trend this season, make it velvet. The best part? This luxe fabric doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Velvet wrap top, $96, asos.com.
Letterman jackets and other carsity detailing is a great way to get trendy this season. Varsity jacket, $53, forever21.com.
If you're going to pick up something knit this fall, make it a ribbed knit piece.Two piece knit, $198, laura.ca.
We're always a fan of embellishment, but it's really shining bright right now. L&L embellished blouse, $78, additionelle.com.
A striped shirt is timeless—but also the easiest way to look pulled together. Tunic, $40, suzyshier.com.
Winter florals tend to be darker and sexier than their summer counterparts. This dress is the best of both worlds—a pretty-in-pink touch to a sexy silhouette. Dress, $170, asos.com.
Plaid is made for cooler weather, and this season we're partial to a big, buffalo check. Cotton shirt, $30, hm.com/ca.
Lace is the easiest way to make any outfit feminine and fancy. Lace blouse, $50, hm.com/ca.
Take a page out of Kim K's book and pick up a nude coat for fall. Camel peacoat, $75, oldnavy.ca.
Cordouroy is the perfect textile for fall. Pick up a pair of cords in a rich colour this season. Rockstar cords, $50, oldnavy.ca.
A shirtdress is season-less, but when paired with cute booties and a great cardigan it's fall outfit perfection. Printed dress, $53, oldnavy.ca.
This friendlier take on fur is the perfect way to incorporate a luxurious touch—and to warm up. Wool jacket with faux fur collar, $150, asos.com.
Yes, this is as comfy as it sounds. Pick up an oversized blanket coat to stay cozy this season. Blanket coat, $48, suzyshier.com.
A puffer jacket is *the* outerwear piece of the season. So invest. B by Bernardo jacket, $298, laura.ca.
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
Bars and squares make a fun addition to any cookie exchange.
Tested until perfect.
Get the recipe: Butter Tart Squares
The pride of Nanaimo, B.C., these bars have a crumb base layered with a creamy custard filling and a chocolaty topping. Best served at room temperature, the bars keep well refrigerated or frozen.
Get the recipe: Classic Nanaimo Bars
Enjoy these Australian squares just as they are, or dip them in a mug of hot cocoa for the ultimate treat. While they're traditionally made with sponge cake, our version uses easy-to-make chocolate pound cake instead, making them a sinfully indulgent dessert for chocolate lovers. To retain their moistness, store the squares in the fridge.
Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Lamington Squares
Sweet-tart cranberries are cooked with a hint of orange to make an easy jam-like filling, then sandwiched between layers of crisp almond pastry. Freshly ground almonds are crunchier than the storebought ground variety, so whirl whole nuts in a food processor for the ultimate nutty crust.
Get the recipe: Cranberry Almond Squares
A thick layer of creamy mint icing is sandwiched between a crumbly chocolate cookie base and smooth dark chocolate ganache in these irresistible squares.
Get the recipe: Mint Chocolate Squares
The inside-out version of this classic square offers a classy white chocolate top with a rich dark chocolate centre. Use a vegetable peeler to make the chocolate shavings.
Get the recipe: Reverse Nanaimo Bars
These layered bars are like three desserts in one! Using a candy thermometer ensures you have the right consistency of caramel (not too soft and not too hard).
Get the recipe: Gooey Peanut Butter Squares
If simplicity is your style, look no further than these six-ingredient squares, made with ingredients you'll likely already have on hand. If you prefer, use seedless raspberry jam instead of strawberry.
Get the recipe: Crumble-Topped Jam Squares
A smooth and silky no-bake filling comes together in a matter of minutes for this easy crowd-pleasing treat. Be sure to top the squares with peanuts quickly, before the chocolate sets.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake Squares
Each layer of these bars is a delicious treat on its own; together, they become the star of any goodie tray. To make them gluten-free, be sure to use oat flour that's labelled as such. If you choose not to use pasteurized egg whites, whisk a fresh egg white until frothy and measure out one tablespoon.
Get the recipe: Sugared Pecan Fudge Squares
Vanilla wafer cookies, raspberry filling and white chocolate lighten up the traditional colour – and flavour – of the classic Nanaimo bar.
Get the recipe: Pink Berry Nanaimo Bars
Classic pecan pie gets a bite-size makeover with these crunchy pecan-packed squares. Toothsome shortbread is the perfect base, adding a delightful contrast. Chill the squares before cutting for a smooth, easy slice.
Get the recipe: Honey Pecan Pie Squares
Trust us, these easy-to-make squares will be the hit of your holiday parties and family gatherings. Wrap them in cute little boxes and hand them out as hostess gifts at all of your festive get-togethers.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Hello Dollies
Sweet glac? cherries and vivid pink icing give these sumptuous brownies a nostalgic retro look. Make them a couple of days ahead, then spread on the fruity icing just before serving.
Get the recipe: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Sweet butterscotch squares hide a layer of crystallized ginger and velvety milk chocolate. These are pretty when packaged as gifts and are the perfect holiday treat to add to a bake sale.
Get the recipe: Ginger Butterscotch Squares