How to Dress in Cold Weather

Posted by Mary Elizabeth on Feb 6th 2019

The weather outside is frightful, but you don’t have to be. We know it can get tough figuring out how to dress in cold weather when you’re trapped under pounds and pounds of winter clothing. Life goes on even when the temperatures dip below freezing. Stick with us through this article as we take you from looking miserably cold to looking super cute this season.

Safety First, Always

While looking fantastic in any situation may be one of your top priorities, make sure you take care of your health first and foremost. Always wear enough clothing to keep you warm and protected from the icy bite of the “polar vortex.”

How to stay warm this winter

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you style your next ensemble. These tips will keep you feeling hot enough to melt the snow beneath your boots.

Layers, Layers, Layers

Start with some basics closest to your body, like a camisole or a tank top. Throw some thick tights or a pair of leggings under skirts, pants, or jeans. As the temperature decreases, you should be increasing your layers. Think about adding a long-sleeved shirt on top of your base layer, a thick sweater on top of that, and a coat to complete the toasty look.

Don’t Expose Yourself to The Cold

Your feet and hands are just as important as the rest of your body, and even more at risk to damage from the cold because they are the furthest parts from your heart, which pumps blood throughout your body and maintains your body temperature. Look into buying insulated shoes or winter boots, complete with a pair or two of thick socks, preferably wool. A cute patterned mitten or glove gives your winter look the flair it needs on gray snowy mornings.

Accessories

As we mentioned before, layering is the key to staying warm. Throw on some fabulous additions like a chunky scarf, a thick knit headband, or fluffy white earmuffs. Currently popular is an impossibly soft knit hat with a poofy pompom plopped right on the crown of your head. The more fluff, the merrier!

Pay Attention to Materials

Pay attention to the material the piece of clothing is made of. Cotton simply won’t cut it when it’s freezing. Look for fabrics that are known for their insulative properties, like wool, fleece, cashmere, flannel, and down.

Structuring your Outfit

Structuring your outfit is as important as the materials you choose to wear in the wintertime.

Coats

A girl’s best friend is her coat. Not only does it provide the bulk of the insulation you’ll need to actually enjoy a snow day, it also smooths away what lies underneath and gives its wearer a structured, elegant silhouette… that is, if she knows what jacket to choose.

The Puffer Coat

Stay away from your mom’s classic marshmallow-shaped puffer jacket. Instead, if the weather calls for some serious feather-down protection from the chill, opt for a thigh- or knee-length puffer in a darker color. Contrasting your jacket with the gray or white of your surroundings will brighten up your day and give your outfit a bold twist. The cut of the jacket will draw the eye down, making you look tall and slender.

The Pea Coat

Elegant as ever, the pea coat is often double-breasted and belts at the waist, giving your coat some much needed curve. Since it generally falls to just below the waistline, make sure you’re sufficiently layering your clothing underneath to protect yourself from the cold. Buy this piece in your favorite bright color to lend a pop of flair to your winter wardrobe. Look for a pea coat in a warm material, like wool, and pair it with a chunky scarf to attain a perfectly chic winter outfit.

The (Faux) Fur Coat

If there’s anything to beat back the wintertime blues, it’s a fabulous faux fur coat. It is absolutely impossible to feel sad when you’re walking along the street basking in luxurious softness brushing your face and enveloping your body like a warm hug. Take a risk and adopt a faux fur coat in a surprising color, like dusty pink, or incorporate it into your everyday wardrobe and buy a staple neutral color like tan or black.

Don’t want to wear a coat that’s nothing but fluff? That’s perfectly fine. Look for coats that have fur lining around the hood, collar, or sleeves to get the same glamorous look without going overboard. Here are some other common accessories that are often accented with fur:

  • The piece that covers your ear on an earmuff
  • The inside of a pair of gloves or mittens, or just around the outside of the opening
  • The ends of a scarf or the entire scarf itself

Pants

The top half of our bodies always gets the most attention in the wintertime. We have so many accessories: scarves, sweaters, coats, mittens… the list goes on and on. It’s crucial to not neglect our legs when the temperature drops. No matter what you decide to put on your bottom half, make sure it’s enough to keep out the cold.

Ripped jeans and cropped pants are super in fashion right now. However, exposing your skin to the harsh winter elements is never a good look. Keep the distressed jeans and put on some sheer tights underneath to stand up to a little chill. If you need some more insulation, go for a pair of wool tights or even a pair that are lined with fleece.

Skirts

The sun is shining, the sky is crystal blue, and you feel lovely enough to put on your prettiest plus size skirt. You think to yourself, “What a beautiful day, spring is in the air!” You open your door… and you’re hit with an icy blast of air that knocks you off your feet. Just because the blue skies fooled you doesn’t mean you have to change your whole outfit. Stay hopeful for spring but be prepared for winter.

Take a peek at these tips to stay warm in a skirt:

  • Wear a pair or two of thick stockings under your skirt so no chilly wind creeps in
  • If you’re wearing a long skirt and the temperature drops, try wearing a pair of real pants on top of those stockings
  • Don’t worry, no one will know how many layers you’ve got on. You can always peel some off when you get inside in the event that you get too warm. The art of dressing for winter is blending style with functionality

Boots

Let your boots shine this season. A gorgeous pair of shoes can revive any tired-out winter wardrobe. Mix your style up with a few pairs of boots with differing heights and contrast them with your outfit. For example, if you’ve got a stunning pair of thigh-high boots, put them together with a flirty short dress, stockings, and a wool pea coat.

Make sure the weather in your area permits bold boot styles. Your priority this winter is staying healthy. If that means sacrificing the cute booties that have been sitting in your closet since the beginning of the season that you’re dying to show off, then so be it. No one wants to twist an ankle in the winter. Pull on your snow boots and own your safety.

If you simply can’t stand the look of the boot no matter what you do, obscure the boot from view with a long billowing skirt.

Accessories

No outfit is complete without a healthy dose of accessories. Luckily, winter boasts some of the cutest outfit additions of all the seasons. That’s because the more you put on, the warmer you are, and the better you feel!

On your head

This is where hats and beanies dominate the accessory game. However, you can spice it up and throw on a chunky knit headband or earmuffs instead.

On your neck

Scarves are an absolute necessity in the wintertime, and there are so many styles to choose from. For a more structured look, go for a triangular scarf. If your goal is to be enveloped in soft warmth, a pashmina wrap is the way to go. Whatever you choose, always keep in mind that adding a scarf to your winter look is never a bad idea.

On your hands

You can only really take advantage of mittens and gloves in the wintertime, so go for it! They’re small enough to take off and put away if you get tired of them, but visible enough to make a fierce statement.

Colors and Patterns

Everyone is going to have winter weather clothing on. If you want to stand out, you have to go for bold colors and interesting textures to set you apart from the pack. A long black parka is great, but wouldn’t you want someone to stop you and ask where you got that fabulous three-toned neutral duster? Break out of the cold-weather fashion norm and keep your style stylish.

Monochrome

You don’t have to dress in eye-catching colors to leave a lasting impression. Go for a subtle yet striking look by dressing in the same color from head to toe. Now, this does not mean that you should race out to buy one of those velveteen tracksuits that were popular in the early 2000s – unless your heart calls for it, in which case go for it! What we mean by monochrome is putting an outfit together with clothing in the same tonal family.

Layering different shades of the same color may look daring and sophisticated, but it’s much easier than it looks. Here’s an example: If your color theme is gray, feel free to pair a dark gray pant with a light gray sweater, and polish off the outfit with a blue-gray duster coat and black boots.

Texture

It’s difficult to stand out when almost every piece of winter clothing you own is made of wool. Branch out and buy some pieces with a different feel to them to break up the monotony. When you’re covered in fabric, reach for playful textures to keep your style interesting.

Think about adding these textures to your woolen wardrobe:

  • Faux fur accessories
  • Chunky knit scarves and hats
  • Soft, flexible leather (think gloves!)

You can also fake texture by the way you wear your clothes. If it’s not too cold out, think about draping your coat over your shoulders rather than wearing it the traditional way. It’s an easy way to elevate your look and make your outfit seem way fancier than it actually is. This works especially well with faux fur, though a pea coat or even a bomber jacket do the trick just as well.

Pop of Color

The fastest way to fight against the gloom that comes with the gray winter sky is by donning your biggest, brightest winter coat. You can pair it with a fun colored sweater underneath so that the cheer doesn’t end when you walk indoors. Take it a step further with a complementary colored scarf and a different colored hat or headband.

Adding color into your outfits sets you apart from everyone else and makes you look cute and lighthearted. If it’s not snowing, throw on your cutest boots and head out to brighten up everyone’s day when the winter’s got them down.

Winter Wrap-up

Take this chilly season by storm! You’re going to look so good that when spring rolls around you’ll be sad to pack your winter clothes away. Please remember that your safety comes first, so dress warmly as the weather gets colder. Luckily, you’ve just learned that it’s not hard to look hot even in below-zero temperatures. Now that you know how to style yourself to perfection this winter, pull yourself together and show off your style.

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