Montreal: Wrap yourself in Haramaki Love

Winter has been coming down so hard in Montreal the past couple of weeks that it’s hard to keep it stylish without freezing out to death on the streets.

Since I’m a winter renegade—I don’t wear fur, I still refuse to wear the ugly-but-warm coat or to pay zillions of dollars (when I can get at least 10 fabulous dresses)—I’ve become the master of layering cardigans, T-shirts and sweaters to keep my fashion pride. (I know! It doesn’t look that hot when it takes half a day to take off your layers in front of your date, but why go on winter dates anyway? Stay home!)

I may have found a solution to at least one of my problems: A belly warmer called a haramaki that’s made in Montreal and promises to keep me warm or at least warmer. After a trip to Japan, designer Julia Aynsley brought back the concept of haramaki and started her own line, Haramaki Love ( The thinking is that the wrap improves circulation in your midsection, keeping your body temperature high. The fabric tube also supports the lower back and stomach, and apparently every Japanese woman is wearing one under her blouse. By adding stylish fabric and colors, Aynsley brought the one-time samurai garment up to a whole new level, where it can be worn many ways, not only to warm you up but also as an accessory to spice up your outfits.

Hot! Now I can take off that old grandpa cardigan my ex used to hate.

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