Colder weather brings new opportunities for fashion inspiration
Everyone has favorite and least favorite seasons. For me, winter is certainly my least favorite, mostly due to the hassle of determining what to wear each morning. Not only do I have to worry about looking presentable, I also have to stay warm. I find myself repeating the same outfit combination of leggings, a sweater, and boots every day because it’s quick and comfortable — but that’s become stale.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered a couple methods to alleviate this problem. You can read them below in this comprehensive guide to dressing for cold weather.
Let’s start with outerwear. You have a lot of options, but depending on the situation, some are more appropriate than others. For nice, crisp fall weather, choose a classic denim jacket. These look great layered over anything from a patterned dress to leggings and a trendy shirt. Avoid wearing jeans with your denim jacket; the denim on denim look could make you look too much like a cowboy. Leather jackets are another fall staple.
Slightly colder weather calls for a thicker jacket, like the very trendy military jacket. It seems like the military jacket may even have replaced the denim jacket as a fall wardrobe staple — you’ll see them everywhere you look. Layer yours over a sweater to stay warm.
Windbreakers are also pretty common, and as the name suggests, they’re the best for those days that are windy, rainy, or just plain gross. If you’re planning to buy one, get one with a hood to protect yourself from the rain.
When it becomes inhumanly cold outside and you have to walk to class, it’s time to bring out the puffy jacket. While these jackets may not be the most flattering, at this point, warmth should be your top priority. Accessorize with a cute hat or head wrap to keep your ears warm, as well as gloves and a thick winter scarf.
For more formal occasions, blazers are a great way to dress up an outfit when it isn’t too cold out. Try wearing one over a nicer top, with jeans and boots for a chic look. Pea coats are also appropriate for dressier events. You can pair a pea coat with a dress, tights, and heels for a polished look.
Now that you’re an expert on which type of jackets to wear and when to wear them, we can move on to the shirts, sweaters, and cardigans category. Generally, when choosing an outfit in the morning, the first item of clothing that comes to mind is the most comfortable — leggings. Then I face the struggle of finding a sweater I haven’t worn in the past couple of days that’s also long enough to wear with leggings. Sound familiar? Well, here are a few tips to help you deal with this problem.
It’s always good to have a lot of comfortable sweaters, but think about adding variety next time you shop. A close relative of the comfortable, oversized sweater is the sweater dress. You can wear it with leggings or tights and boots and it’s basically a new version of your old go-to outfit. If you have any longer cardigans, layer those over longer shirts as well.
In terms of cardigans, everyone should own at least three. I recommend black, gray, and tan as the bare minimum. Colors are always good to have, but neutrals are the top priority since they can be worn over anything.
Tops are the main way to add variety to your outfits, so make sure they’re interesting. You should definitely have a couple of basics to build off of, but try to find shirts that have some color, detail, or anything else that’s unique. You also want to look for shirts of different lengths and materials, so that you can wear them with either leggings or jeans. Lately, people have been wearing edgier shirts with studs and cutouts. At the same time, many stores have been featuring T-shirts with animals printed on them — another major trend — as well as tops with beaded necklines. Get long-sleeved versions of these to keep warm, or if yours has shorter sleeves, wear it with a cardigan.
Bottoms can be another issue in winter weather. When it’s warm out, it’s easy to just throw on a pair of shorts; you don’t risk each outfit looking the same, since shorts come in a variety of styles and colors. However, it’s easy to feel repetitive as it gets colder and you find yourself alternating between jeans and black leggings.
From blue jeans and black leggings, the obvious step up is to wear printed versions of either of these. Recently, the range of styles of printed jeans and leggings has significantly broadened to those with cutouts, leather panels, and more. Colored denim has been in style for a while and is a great way to add interest to your look. Colored jeans look best paired with a neutral-colored top. Floral leggings have been in style for while and seem to be here to stay, as well as Aztec print.
However, there are alternatives to jeans and leggings, such as corduroys. Now, I know what you’re thinking: They’re old-man pants. At least, that’s what I thought when I first heard that Free People clothing store was introducing them a few years ago — but the floral and plaid prints completely changed my mind. Free People also sells solid-colored corduroy pants, and other stores have similar items.
If you feel like dressing up a little, wear a skirt with tights. To class, you could wear this with a cardigan and boots, or if you have a special event to attend, complete the look with a nice shirt and heels.
My last tip is to accessorize with jewelry to vary your outfits. A chunky necklace can make last week’s plain sweater look completely different. The same can be done with a pair of statement earrings. The key is to mix and match to create a whole new wardrobe for winter.