<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.
From hearty casseroles, to tacos, meatloaves and pasta dishes, we share our favourite ground beef recipes.
Our quick mini lasagnas give you all the cheesy, hearty flavours of classic lasagna, without the time-consuming process of layering.
This tasty recipe is a quick fix when tacos just won't do. There is no rolling involved and each slice has a generous helping of thick enchilada sauce.
East meets West in these tasty little bites. We've doubled up on the spring roll wrappers, which provides extra crunch and prevents the filling from bursting out.
The beef and lentil combination gives the burgers a tender texture, and the jalapeno supplies a spicy kick.
A touch of horseradish adds zesty flair to classic meat loaf. Cooking the onion, celery and garlic before adding them to the mixture means the loaf is tender and evenly flavoured.
This kid-friendly dinner is made with ingredients most people keep on hand in the refrigerator and pantry.
This quick meal packs the addictive flavours of classic beef tacos onto crispy flatbread crusts. Go ahead and customize the recipe using any produce from your fridge.
Spinach adds extra nutrients to these juicy beef meatballs.
This tidy version of a sloppy joe is perfect for small hands. Serve the extra sauce on the side for dipping. Kids with bigger appetites will want to eat two!
Creamy mushroom sauce elevates meat loaf to new heights. A double dose of mushrooms – dried in the loaf and fresh in the sauce – is a dream for mushroom lovers.
Ginger, cumin and curry powder give this beef and rice dish some serioius flavour. This quick meal is perfect for weeknights, as it cooks in 30 minutes.
Layer after scrumptious layer of rich meat sauce, tender pasta and creamy cheese make this lasagna the best you'll ever have.
These bite-size meatballs are tossed in a retro sweet and sour sauce that everyone will love.
All you'll need to make this classic dish is some ground beef, a couple of onions and some pantry staples.
There's no need to choose between shepherd's pie and beef Stroganoff, thanks to this simple skillet dinner, which combines a creamy mushroom-and-beef filling with a smooth, buttery potato topping.
Fifteen minutes of prep time is all you need to make these flavourful muffin meat loaves.
Classic beef tacos are a real crowdpleaser and a family favourite. To feed more people, simply double or triple the recipe.
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