Winter Fashion Tips: Looking Good and Staying Warm When It’s Cold

Woman drinking coffee with headphone earmuffs


2019 has flown by, hasn’t it?

One minute you’re enjoying a pumpkin spice latte in a light cardigan, cute blouse and leggings and then BAM! It’s winter and you’re left wondering whether it’s socially acceptable to wear a duvet to work.

Winter may *literally* happen every year but with so many of us woefully underprepared for it, we thought we’d share some winter fashion tips on looking good and staying warm when it’s cold.

Looking Good and Staying Warm in the Winter

Love to Layer

According to Mountain Warehouse, the most effective way to beat the cold is to wear multiple thin layers of clothing one on top of the other. 

Warm air is trapped between each piece of material which makes it more effective than wearing a single big layer such as a winter coat. You can then add or remove clothing whenever you need to.

There are three elements to successful layering: the base, the mid and the outer layer. 

The base layer sits closest to your skin so it can regulate temperature and wick moisture away.  The mid-layer retains heat. The outer layer protects you from the elements.

If you’re into hiking, mountaineering or running, you’re probably already very familiar with the layering system.

You can also apply layering to your day-to-day dressing.

We generally dress for the outdoors but that’s difficult when some places of work, some shopping malls, and public transport options are over-heated.  Layering allows you to remove clothing temporarily and then put it back on when you’re feeling cooler.

Some people are scared of layering; they think it’ll make them look bulky and heavy.

Whilst using a poor mix of textures, wearing big items closest to the skin and using weighty fabrics can look odd and be restrictive, layering correctly can make a real statement. Not only will it keep you warm but it’s a great way of creating new ensembles from older items of clothing.

Woman wearing thick scarf holding coffee mug

Recently, The Guardian ran an article that asked styling editor Melanie Wilkinson for tips.  Her advice was to start thin and small.  It’s better that ‘lots of light things… go under chunky things.’

Think roll-neck tees under long dresses, turtlenecks under cardigans and (as suggested in the article) cardigans under bomber jackets. Use of textures is really big at the moment and layering plays right into this trend.

We’re big champions of wicking fabric as it’s so good at moving sweat away from the body. Where possible use it as a base layer.  Try to avoid cotton next to the skin as it absorbs sweat and can make you feel cold.


Use Your Head

It’s often said that we lose more heat through our head than any other part of our body. 

This isn’t true.

We lose heat through whichever part of our body is exposed to the cold and the head is no different to the arms, the shoulders or to the legs.  Covering your head in the cold weather is still good advice, however.

Beanies and bobble hats are amongst the most popular type of winter hat on the high street.  Although, trapper hats can be good fun to wear, too.  When choosing a hat to wear, consider the shape of your face so where possible try hats on in a shop before you buy one.

Verily Mag has a useful guide for matching face shape to the size and design of hats. It suggests that people with long faces should wear hats with fitted crowns and wide brims but they should avoid beanies.  Square-faced? Beanies, berets and round brims are best but avoid fedoras. Heart faces suit fedoras and thin-knit sock hats but stay clear of wide-brims and floppy hats. Those with a round face can wear shallow crowns, fedoras and long-sock hats but are less suited to berets and deep crowns.  If you have an oval face, you’re in luck – your face shape suits all hats!

 Woman wearing earsnugz headphone covers

Keep Your Ears Warm

Earmuffs are ideal for people who don’t like wearing hats and who aren’t into big scarves or snoods.  They don’t mess up a hairstyle either and can easily be stored in bags or carried around the neck.  Ears are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather with some people suffering from Otalgia – a painful ear complaint set-off by cold air. Earmuffs can help reduce the amount of cold air reaching the ear.

If you wear headphones during the winter months, then you can buy earmuff headphone covers.  These fluffy covers slip on over on-ear and over-ear cushions to keep you cozy without reducing sound quality.


View the Range

Coat Check!

Coats are a winter weather staple.

They keep us warm and they’re the best way to make a fashion statement when the rest of our body is bundled up.

Coats fill multiple functions: you might wear one to work and then that same one out to dinner, out shopping, to the theatre, to the cinema and out on walks in the park.  Covering all these bases can be tough so think about what you need your coat to do for you.

Primarily, it should be warm.

Pick a neutral colour if you’re mixing daytime casual with evening attire. Buying one very good coat can be better than buying multiple cheaper ones. Buy to your body shape.  This means trying a coat on before buying whenever that’s possible.  It should fit but with enough space underneath to accommodate layers.  Winter is the season of overindulgence so having a little wiggle room is always helpful.

Check the manufacturer’s label before buying. Winter coats aren’t always suitable for winter. It’s sometimes a false economy to buy cheap.  Don’t go for something that looks fashionable because if it doesn’t keep you warm then you’ll only end up buying a better coat later. If you really suffer with the cold, look at brands designed for hiking and mountaineering. If you have a coat that you love but that doesn’t do up tightly, or if it doesn’t have zips or buttons, then synch the waist in with a belt for a quick and easy way to keep warm and look good.


Fits Like a Glove

No one likes having cold hands.

Gloves might be sold as an accessory but they’re a vital element of a winter outfit.  They should be snug without being too tight.  Manufacturers often say one-size-fits-all but that’s not strictly true.  The size of the glove is key to how warm it’ll keep your hands and if the gloves are too big, they won’t retain the warm.

It’s tempting to pick a pair of gloves based on the colour or pattern (which is fine), but we really should be looking at what’s inside: what insulation is there?  Some materials are better than others and it’s this inner material that’s key to keeping your fingers cozy.

You should still be able to hold things when you’re wearing gloves. Some will still let you operate a smartphone or device, too. Find a pair where fashion and function meet. Ski gloves, for example, whilst very warming, won’t be all that suitable for a cocktail evening, and there’s no way you could hold a phone. Equally, a thin pair of mittens won’t do much in a howling gale.

The Independent’s article on the best gloves for 2019 offers a selection of prices, materials and styles but all offer a reasonable level of protection from the cold. Goose down, cashmere and fleece tend to be the warmest but aren’t vegan friendly.  Thinsulate and Goretex provide synthetic fibres and are also very warming.


Stick Your Neck Out

There’s a huge range of scarves available from the thin synthetic ones you find in discount retailers to high-end designer ones costing hundreds of pounds or dollars.

Find one that’s warm.

A good scarf is worth its weight in gold and it doesn’t need to be super-expensive. Choose a scarf in a shade that compliments your complexion. Buying in person rather than online and standing in natural light next to a mirror should give a good idea of what suits you. Match it to the colour of your coat, too, as almost inevitably you’ll be wearing them together.

Different widths and lengths will determine which to wear and when.  Going wide gives you more coverage around your neck and can provide a seal over your skin on particularly cold days.  Adding a scarf to work attire is a great way of adding a pop of colour to your coat even on the dreariest of days.

Winter is a great time to be fashion forward and staying warm doesn’t mean sacrificing your style.

What’s your go-to winter fashion tip? Drop us a comment below and let us know 😊

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