How to Dress for Cold Weather

February 3, 2016
Living in Scotland I should be an expert on dressing for cold weather! I find I can keep myself warm when I’m out walking the dog in winter, I bundle up in walking boots, waterproofs and fleece jackets. But although these keep me warm, they don’t look good and I don’t want to wear them for anything other than dog walks. Keeping warm in the cold weather when you’re heading to work or into town is a whole other story and can be one of the hardest parts of dressing in the winter. Like everyone else, I’ve gone out dressed inappropriately and ended up freezing cold and miserable. When will we ever learn! Since we’ve had storm after storm this winter I thought I would share a few of my tips for keeping warm in cold weather. Hopefully, together we can all start dressing right for the weather and stay warm out there.

Dress in Layers

I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, and there is a good reason everyone says to dress in layers. The air gets trapped between the layers of clothing, keep it warm and in turn keeping you warm. Aim to have 3 layers on your top half. If it’s really cold start with a thermal layer, yes I know there is nothing stylish about a thermal top but this is your base layer and won’t be seen by anyone. If it’s not cold enough for thermals (or you wouldn’t be outdoors long) try wearing a button down shirt as your base layer (these look very cute with the collar poking out of a jumper) After your base layer, add a jumper or sweatshirt. For advice on picking, knitwear read my knitwear guide. Then it’s time to add your outer layer, if you’re going to be spending time outdoors I suggest finding a warm, waterproof coat as the British weather can be very wet. Look for a waterproof parka or trench coat (you don’t have to wear a hiking jacket) If you don’t need a waterproof any warm coat will do. Look for one with a high wool content.

For the bottom half, you may just want one layer as it’s never really cold enough here for a thermal layer. However, if it’s really cold where you add some thermal leggings or tights under your trousers/skirt. If it’s likely to be wet, avoid jeans as they take ages to dry and will make you cold if they get wet. Look for quick drying materials or opt for a skirt with thermal tights (these are often warmer than jeans anyway).

When dressing in layers, think about where you will be going. If you’re heading to the office and have to do some walking before you arrive. You will want plenty of layers to keep you warm outdoors, but when you arrive you may need to remove some layers in the heated building. Make sure everything you put on is suitable for the environment your in.

Cosy Toes = Cosy Body

Keeping your feet warm when outdoors in cold weather is really important. Once your feet get cold or wet you’re just miserable. Invest in good quality footwear (if you’re on a tight budget this is where you should spend it). Stick with leather boots as they are waterproof and warm. Check the soles of the boots as you want to have good grip in the ice. You can find good quality leather boots everywhere, go for high leg boots if you want the extra warmth, or stick with ankle boots. Also get yourself some cosy socks to wear, like with clothing wool is best as it will keep your feet warm.  I really don’t understand how people can wear no socks in the winter, I hate having cold feet.

Wrap Everything Up

Once you’ve gotten yourself dressed in plenty of layers and have warm boots on its time to add your gloves, hat and scarf. Try adding an oversized blanket scarf to your outfit (see my post on how to style oversized scarves) as this will keep you warm outside and can also be used indoors if it gets a little chilly. Add a nice pair of leather gloves to keep your hands warm and to keep things looking smart. Grab a cosy wool beanie hat for a more casual look or add a wool fedora for a more glamorous outfit.
Do you often find yourself dressing inappropriately for the weather, especially when its cold. Read my tips on dressing for cold weather

One response to “How to Dress for Cold Weather”

  1. Ulrike says:

    For the base layer try some Merino Wool (e.g. Icebreaker) – keeps you warm but don’t make you sweat…

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