The most popular question I've been asked, other than "What is your name?" is "Aren't you cold?" I love clothing so much that I tend to not really consider the weather when putting together an outfit. If I want to wear something, I wear it. Even if that means layering a bikini top over a dress in 25-degree weather. (Jennifer Lopez would be proud, I'm sure.)
You might call this method of dressing ridiculous, in which case you should three-way call my mom and grandma to discuss this at length. There is truly no wrath like that from a Spanish mom and grandma witnessing their offspring walk out of the house in a cropped puffer jacket — unzipped — into the cold New York City winter. They would always curse my name after I left and, in a flurry of angry text messages, demand I come back home and put on more clothing. I never did.
That's because, for most of my life, I found nearly all knitwear, sweaters, and innately warm items of clothing meant to shield you from extreme weather and pneumonia to be unsightly and bulky, so I never really wore them. This clearly upset everyone around me. Not to mention, I was pretty uncomfortable between November and March, which is admittedly a lot of the time.
But then everything changed when I discovered YanYan Knits, which launched in spring 2019. I remember actually stopping in my tracks when I saw its lambswool cardigan on a hanger at a press preview in Chinatown two springs ago. It was like a cloud with small puffed sleeves, the most adorable collar, and colorful knot-stitched roses all over. The cardigan is something I knew I would wear forever — and that my entire family would approve of in all seasons. It now sits in the top drawer of my large armoire, where I keep all of my favorite items, and every time I look at it, I feel like the heart eye emoji, about to burst into a poof of warm, sparkly happiness. Whenever I wear it to visit my parents, my grandma has endless compliments. I think she wants to buy a matching one.
Shop now: $225; nordstrom.com
I'm just convinced YanYan Knits is different. It does knitwear unlike any brand I've ever seen before. Every single one of its pieces feels like it's from a dream world far off from 2020 and 2021, with whimsical patterns and colors that instantly transport me elsewhere.
The brand is founded by two best friends, Phyllis Chan and Suzzie Chung, who now live in Hong Kong. Their designs draw inspiration from their home city and the unapologetic style of their grandmothers. They also reinterpret classic pieces from their culture, like the cheongsam and the kung fu jacket. Everything is proudly made in China with colors that feel straight out of a cheerful Chinese festival.
Shop now: $425; nordstrom.com
Chan brings some New York perspective to her label, having recently moved back home from the Big Apple after working as the director of knitwear at Jennifer Aniston's go-to brand, Rag & Bone. And while YanYan knits is not yet a household name, it has many enthusiastic fashion editors and influencer fans on Instagram. I'm convinced a celebrity sighting in the brand is imminent, especially since it just launched at Nordstrom and is already selling out fast.
In conclusion, you can find me not freezing to death and instead looking cute and cozy thanks to a brand that Nordstrom is now smart enough to carry. Watch: Before you know it, YanYan will be everywhere. And while I can't promise I won't still try to style its knits with a bikini in the winter, at least I'll still be warm.
Shop the best pieces by YanYan Knits at Nordstrom below.
Shop now: $350; nordstrom.com
Shop now: $295; nordstrom.com
Shop now: $525; nordstrom.com
Shop now: $275; nordstrom.com