How to Dress for Winter: 13 Fashion Tips for Cold Weather

Consider these fashion ideas for staying toasty while looking great this winter.
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  1. Wear three layers. Your base layer might consist of silk underwear, a merino wool turtleneck, and leggings—thin, moisture-wicking basics that will keep you warm without making you sweat. Your middle layer can be something like a thick fleece for insulation. And the outer layer—a winter coat or parka—serves as a barrier against wind and rain.
  2. Keep it tight. Tight-fitting clothing will help prevent wind chill. Swap wide-leg jeans for skinny jeans, which also help visually balance out oversize knit sweaters and chunky boots. Wear fleece-lined tights or leggings under skirts and dresses to keep your legs warm.
  3. Wear long coats. Cropped puffers might be trendy, but if your aim is to stay warm, you need to keep your entire torso covered. Make sure you have at least one long sweater and coat for the coldest days.
  4. Accept that you can pair sweaters with skirts. Try a chunky cable knit pullover with a knee-length pencil skirt. Looser maxi and midi skirts work with sweaters, too: Try the French tuck, and wear a statement belt to balance the look.
  5. Choose the right type of down. Down is a great material for keeping warm since it’s lightweight while also insulating. When it gets wet, however, it quickly loses its puff. Synthetic down is heavier, but it stands up to rain. For rainy weather, you’ll either want synthetic down or a separate rain shell to protect your down jacket.
  6. Invest in wool. Moisture-wicking wool keeps you warm and dry all day. If you find wool itchy, consider merino and cashmere. Merino is a lightweight wool that’s great as a base layer: Try a simple merino turtleneck and leggings for the ultimate winter base layer. Cashmere is a soft wool that will keep you cozy. It’s a great option for work-friendly cardigans and comfy beanies.
  7. Avoid cotton. Cotton is an amazing, breathable material, but it holds a lot of water, making it less ideal for winter weather. Save the plaid flannel shirts, corduroy pants, and college sweatshirts for fall and spring. If you have wool pants, wear those instead of denim.
  8. Consider a statement coat. If you’re going to wear the same winter coat every day, it should be something that makes you feel good. Instead of the same old neutrals, you might look for a puffy down jacket or classy wool coat in a bright color.
  9. Treat your hat, gloves, and scarf as accessories. If you wear the same winter coat every day, you can switch things up with a variety of scarves, hats, and gloves. A colorful cashmere beanie can add a spot of color to a dreary winter look. Plus, adding a hat is an easy way to keep your whole body warm.
  10. Ensure that your clothing is weatherproofed. Before winter, take your favorite boots to a shoe repair shop to get them reheeled and weatherized. Spray weather-proofing spray on your rain jackets if needed. You don’t want to find out that your shoe has a hole or your coat is no longer waterproof on the first rainy or snowy day of winter.
  11. Choose shoes with tread. If you live in a place with snow, choose shoes with tread to avoid slipping on ice. Wear them over thick wool socks to prevent frostbite.
  12. Repurpose warm-weather favorites. Layer your favorite slip dress over a turtleneck, and finish the look with ankle boots for a cute, party-ready winter outfit idea. Flowing skirts and short-sleeve T-shirts aren’t off-limits, as long as you have a solid base layer underneath.
  13. Play with texture. Winter fashion doesn’t have to be boring. Incorporate texture into your look with ribbed and cable-knit cardigans, faux fur coats, shearling coats, leather pants, and quilted puffer coats.
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