Dressing for Cold Weather

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Dressing for cold weather can be a bit of a challenge, or maybe better put for some of us a total drag. The harsh temperatures and snowy streets forced to think of practicality over fashion during the winter if we have any plans on staying warm and dry. It’s the time of year where cute ankle boots are switched out for clunky winter boots, and crop tops are replaced with body warmers. It can seem nearly impossible to put together an outfit that’s comfortable, cute and keeps you toasty. And if we’re lucky it lasts a least 3 months, so there’s that to have to come to terms with.

We’ve had quite a winter here in Toronto so far which has made getting dressed for pretty much any occasion from work to weekend errands an event in itself. Ever since I can remember, I absolutely hate being cold and am usually that girl totally bundled up the minute it drops below -5°C. But this year instead of looking ridiculous I decided to make smarter wardrobe choices when it comes to dressing for the cold. I’ve taken the time to invest in quality pieces with materials made to keep you warm, and find those perfect basics for that extra layer underneath my clothes. I have a few tips that I’ve learned throughout the years that keep me from having to sacrifice style for warmth.


Tips For Dressing For Cold Weather

Tip #1: One Word, Layers

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This is probably the most obvious of the tips for dressing for cold weather but it’s probably one of the most important ones. Layering in the winter has the be the biggest reason why I’m able to get away with wearing most of my fall and spring wardrobe even on bitter cold days. In your layering arsenal you’ll want to make sure you have things like tank tops, leotards, body suits, leggings and henleys as they’re all great pieces to wear underneath your outfits. You’ll also want to think of having different thicknesses of socks for easy layering when you plan on being outside for a while. Tucking your layers into each other, like leggings into socks, and tank tops into pants will help keep drafts out and keep you extra warm.


Tip #2 Wool Is Your Best Friend

Not everyone is a fan of wool thanks to it’s notoriety for being a bit itchy but for those of us living in cold climates, we appreciate it greatly. Wool is pretty much my secret weapon when dressing for cold weather. I personally own sweaters, pants and coats all made with wool and they are my go-to pieces when dressing for extreme cold days. The trick with picking wool pieces for your wardrobe is the content of wool. At minimum, you want at least 15-20% wool content for any sort of warmth; the more wool content the warmer the piece will keep you. For those who find wool itchy however, you’ll want to stick with wool blends on the lower side of the scale.


Tip #3 Keep Your Extremities Covered

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The one thing my mother never had to nag me about as a kid when it came to dressing for cold weather was keeping my extremities covered. I’ve always loved the accessories part of outfit planning, so there’s little to no surprise there. The second it hits 0°C already eager to bring out the leather gloves, and hats are a daily part of my outfit planning no matter the season. But wearing hats and gloves during the winter isn’t just a fashion statement, it’s a big part of keeping warm. You loose the most heat out of your extremities (fingers, feet and head) so keeping them covered helps retain body heat keeping you warmer. Keeping your chest covered with a scarf also keeps body heat in and can help save you from catching a chest cold.


Tip #4 Dry Feet = Happy Life

Dry feet are just as important as keeping the the rest of your extremities warm and toasty. I see so many people in snowy weather wearing their sneakers or leather dress shoes and I can’t help to feel sorry for their shoes… But dressing for cold weather with winter boots can be a bit of a buzz kill for your outfit. Luckily these days stylish and weatherproof footwear is a lot easier to come across than it once was. But if winter boots really aren’t your thing I recommend sticking to high cut boots with decent soles to help keep your feet dry, and you from slipping!


Tip #5 Sunglasses Aren’t Just For Summer

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Sunglasses a key part of dressing for cold weather? Absolutely. Keeping your eye protected from the sun during the winter is just as it is in the summer. In fact, the reflection of the sun on snow is actually worse than the sun itself. But sunlight isn’t the only thing sunglasses are a good thing for. They can also help protect parts of your face from harsh winds and brutal snow, like a face windshield. So yes, I wear my sunglasses in the winter.


Dressing For Cold Weather: Outfit Inspiration

If my tips weren’t enough to help you with outfit inspiration, here are my 5 ways of dressing for winter for any occasion.


The Office


Dressing for cold weather to go to the office can be one of the biggest challenges of them all, especially if you’re a transit commuter faced with having to be outside for longer than it takes to run into your car. It’s a battle between dressing warm, but not dying of heat all day at work. My solution is thin layers underneath clothing, like body suits and leotards and using warm layers can be removed easily like a cardigan once you get to the office.

Shop The Look:

Pants – Zara; Top – H&M  (similar); Cardigan – Zara (similar); Shoes – Jeffrey Campbell at Nordstrom; Coat – Oak & Fort (similar); Hat – Urban Outfitters (similar)


Girls Night Out

For those who don’t believe in hibernation all winter long, dressing for cold weather to head out for girls night out can sometimes be a challenge. But you don’t have to look like the odd one out amongst your girlfriends to stay warm while roaming the streets from restaurant to late-night drinks. Wear layering items that provide warmth and style, like a leather jacket under a warm coat, that can be worn inside with causing you to overheat. I also love layering t-shirts under turtlenecks when going out with friends as they’re easy to remove when inside but keep you warm outside.


Weekend Brunch

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Brunch is probably the easiest event when it comes to dressing for cold weather as comfort is the universal dress code. I love keeping it casual in sweatpants or jeans and hoodies that keep you cozy and warm while still being appropriately dressed for the occasion. I usually opt for sneakers with this look when weather permits, but if mother nature has other plans a pair of Dr.Martens or other trendy winter boots look just as great.

Shop The Look:

Hat – Nordstrom; Sweater – Zara; Jeans – Zara (similar); Shoes – Adidas (similar); Belt Bag – Nordstrom (similar); Coat – Pretty Little Thing (similar); Sunglasses – Sloane Eyewear (similar)


Date Night

On the contrary to brunch,  dressing for cold weather on date night can be more of a challenge. No one wants to wear bulky sweaters and layers when drying to look cute for that special someone. If you’re willing to brave the cold in a dress, try wearing over the knee boots to keep your legs warm and layer with a jacket under your coat. But for those who are more like me and prefer not to freeze, there are still plenty of date night outfit options that are still sexy. Try an oversized dress shirt over a cami, or wearing a blazer as a top with jeans for a chic but weather appropriate look.


Errand Runs

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Running around the city in an abundance of layers, and heavy winter boots can be exhausting, but is often required during the winter. Jeans and sweaters are kind of my go-to uniform during the winter for running errands as they’re warm but still allow me to look put together (you never know who you’re going to meet). Keep your outfit choices light but warm to avoid bulk by picking key pieces like a wool turtleneck and doubling your sock layers. Dressing for cold weather to run errands doesn’t have to leave you dressy frumpy!

Shop The Look:

Coat – Zara; Sweater – Treasure & Bond at Nordstrom (similar); Pants – Zara; Boots – Dr. Martens at Ssense; Hat – Urban Outfitters (similar); Bag – Givenchy


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