It feels like only a few months ago that I was writing a blog post on how to dress in hot weather.
I live in Northeast Georgia where the humidity combines with high temperatures in the summer to create a sort of permanent outdoor steam room. In the winter, though, we may dip down to freezing a few times and scatter some snowflakes every three years for the fun of it.
I feel incredibly lucky that I don’t live somewhere cold currently, but seen that side of the weather spectrum too.
Surviving in negative 40-degree weather in Upstate New York is one thing. Looking fashionable in said icebox is a whole other thing.
I’ve had the privilege of living everywhere from New York to Arizona and quite a few places in between (helloooo Iowa!) Most of these places were cold as an iceberg during the winter and, much against my will, this Georgia girl learned how to dress for the winter- and dress well.
Here are the top tips I learned from working in the fashion industry in unbearably cold places:
Living in the South, you can get away with having one or two coats: one navy peacoat for casual settings and/or a fitted black coat for more formal affairs. Try having two coats somewhere cold and it’s like bringing one bathing suit on a three-month cruise. Outerwear is basically innerwear. I know innerwear isn’t a word, but you get the idea. You basically need almost as many coats and bulky sweaters. Your new innerwear outerwear isn’t just keeping you warm, it’s a vital part of your outfit.
Coats are a lot like shoes- you need a basic black pair, a practical pair, a fun pair, a serious pair…you get the idea. If you find coats to be rather boring, you’re in luck. This year is all about the statement coat…and they are everywhere at all price points. I recommend splurging on your daily classic pieces (psst. here are 20 classic pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe) and then spending less on a few fun statement coats like these:
Sometimes I feel like the only millennial that wears hosiery, but I’m totally okay with that. Why? Because my legs are way warmer than your legs. Seriously though. Don’t underestimate the magic of tights. Most tights these days are quite comfortable and they can add a little extra to any outfit. You’d be surprised how much warmer a pair of strategically layered tights (think: under your jeans!) is than your normal work ensemble. Here are some of my favorite outfits styled with tights.
Here’s something fun to think about: One wool sweater can be warmer than 2 cotton ones. Why? The nature of the fabric. Different fabrics are better (or worse) at helping your body regulate it’s temperature and stay warm. In the hot weather blog post, I wrote about which fabrics work best for hot weather…this time the tables are turned. Here are the best fabrics for staying warm:
I’m not going to lie, layering is tricky. Sloppy layering can make you look like a homeless vagabond while strategic layering can make you look like an Olsen twin. What’s worse is that layering is essential especially in today’s workplace. In the overly temperature controlled boxes we work in, the office may feel like Bermuda while it’s blizzarding just outside the window. How does one even begin to dress for that sort of situation…let alone dress well? The answer is layering. Being able to peel off layers and still look work appropriate (and fashionable!) is a skill that anyone can master. Here’s a whole blog post on my magic formula for creating the perfect layers.