Forget relativity. What should have concerned Einstein is the question of how women can look hot while in subzero weather.

It doesn’t take a fashionista to figure out how to look sexy for parties in the summer — you can literally take your pick from a wide array of skirts and tops oozing sex appeal. But, in the winter, are you really willing to risk frostbitten cheeks (both there and there)?

Well, perhaps the reason why Einstein wasn’t perplexed is that looking amazing in the winter isn’t a conundrum at all.

The key is to look beyond the basic top and bottom to other details of the outfit, like hat, scarf, handbag, shoes and, of course, earrings. Think of these details as all the decorations on a Christmas tree (or Chanukah bush): It is so inviting and visually appealing, and without them there wouldn’t be a difference between one tree and the next.

The surest way to spice up an otherwise blase outfit and to get noticed at a packed party is to sport eye-catching accessories from head to toe.

Let’s start with shoes and work our way up. A sexy pair of stilettos; round-toed, high-heeled, black pumps; and furry boots are all smart investments given their versatility and smooth transition into a number of outfits. You can be bundled up in tons of layers and showing no skin at all, but if you’ve got on a pair of gorgeous booties or stilettos, be prepared for the inevitable mating call of “nice shoes” followed by some cheesy pickup line, like “Ooh, can I stroke your fur?”

The right shoe can add a whole new dimension to your character, which is why I dare everyone to occasionally stray outside their “comfort zone” and don a more exciting shoe Steve Madden almost never fails to offer outrageously sexy (or just plain outrageous) shoes, and their winter line pays wonderful homage to tweed and fur. One of my favorites is “The Foxy,” which somehow manages to transform even the most boring weenie-bin hogs into “foxes.”

Besides shoes, another thing that can add instant pizzazz and personality to your getup is the handbag. Jill Savarese, the owner of, notes how the purse is a way to assume a new persona.

“To look the part of a lovely yet sophisticated ‘ski bunny,’ put on a pair of cute earmuffs and carry a matching handbag. White looks particularly beautiful and elegant, especially with the snow,” Savarese said.

Snow or not, the nice thing about splurging on a fantastic handbag is that you can reap the profits any month of the year without having to risk hypothermia — while you may freeze to death in that frilly skirt, you can just as successfully hog the limelight carrying an exquisite handbag.

Earrings, scarves and hats are also effective ways to achieve a noteworthy look even before the coat comes off. Because, let’s admit it, we girls want to look stunning both in and out of doors. Scarves abound in various stores, but if you’re looking for vibrant colors, a sleek shape and luxurious feel (think 100% cashmere), then look no farther than J. Crew. Hats — sadly underutilized here on campus — are also a great way to “play roles.” You can go for the seductive/ flippant/naughty look with a leather beret or for a more innocent, “I’m-so-adorable” demeanor in a bell-shaped wool hat. Either way, you get to cover your head, which is one of the essentials to keeping warm.

A must-have for the holiday season are chandelier or drop earrings because they add instant glamour and luminescence to your face and neck. For a similar effect, especially for those who don’t have pierced ears, try wearing this season’s trendy and ubiquitous brooches on sweaters, scarves and even in your hair.

In terms of clothes, the buzz item right now is faux-fur-accented — with or without ribbons and crystals. Guess, Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters, among other stores, are all carrying adorable faux fur or woven “capelets” in various colors and textures. These miniature shawls, not for the faint of heart or self-conscious, are incredibly stylish and feminine, not to mention downright hot, especially when worn with a tight or revealing top.

But, proceed with caution. Do not make “tight and revealing” your wardrobe mantra. What’s hot and what’s not may change from season to season — and also with Paris Hilton’s every whim — but what’s always not cool is revealing too much skin and not leaving enough to the imagination. Steven Gu ’07 admits that less is not always more.

“I get turned off when girls come to parties wearing not much more than lingerie. Victoria Secret is sexy but also meant for the bedroom. I think there could be a lot of sex appeal in understated elegance,” Gu said.

And, indeed, winter is one of the best opportunities for sophistication: Gone are the days of skimpy halter tops and illegally short skirts; now, we may have to resort to pants and skirts that — horror of horrors — fall below the knees!

In the land of pants, what’s king is the black fitted striped pant. Thin pinstripes not only look chic and expensive but also elongate your legs to make you appear taller. Express is now selling blue-striped pencil skirts and pants that would make for a stunning outfit when paired with a satin, silk or lacey camisole. Top this all off with a stylish jacket, some well-chosen accessories and an “I’m-too-sexy-for-Yale” attitude, and you’ll be snuggly warm through any cold wintry night.

Einstein came up with E equals MC squared. I say the formula for looking hot in the winter is confidence cubed times fashion sense. You can raise it to whatever degree you choose.