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Chicago is supposed to get it’s first big snowstorm of ’06 tonight, which means I’m going to have to bust out the boots and down parka tomorrow on my day off with my son.  But as a fashionable mom, how am I going to avoid looking like the State Puff Marshmallow Man when the cold weather hits the streets?

My theory on foul-weather gear is buy from the big brands and avoid the boutiques.  I find that the brand name goes a long way for reliability when the weather gets rough and the big brands usually come with a lifetime guarantee.

So without further ado, here are my favorite cold weather items for fashionable moms:
Every mom who lives north of Kansas needs a good pair of warm boots.  That’s why I bought Uggs. I know, I know, they are so “out.”  But moms, they really work, and are super warm and comfy while pushing Junior down Michigan Avenue.  I have the Ultimate II, but I wish I got the Uptown II (to the left, love the black). 

landsend.jpgAnother good, lower-cost option is a boot I saw from Land’s End.  I usually think Lands End = Land of Dowdy, but, these quilted boots are adorable. And they are lined with Polartec. What more could a mom want?  Working moms: Check out Tamara’s advice for “commuter shoes.”

Of course, all fashionable moms need a durable jacket that looks flattering, not fattening.  My pick is the North Face Metropolis Parka.  Filled with down, it wears well in mom-land AND at the office. Buy this coat, and you will never need to wear anything else.  North Face updated the Metropolis this year with new fun colors.

Gloves: North Face wins out again for me on gloves. You cannot beat their windproof version when pushing baby in the stroller.  Your hands will love you.  

Hats: This is a sore subject for me, since I have a rather large head (don’t laugh).  So it’s hard for me to find hats that I like and that fit.  I really liked this one from Banana Republic (to the left), but it didn’t fit (shocker). So I’m reusing the one I got last year from Marmot.

With these four key pieces you can build a great cold-weather mom wardrobe.  Now, off to the snow!