Ladies, it’s getting cold out there! Like it or loathe it, winter is coming. If we’ve learned anything about swapping wardrobes in preparation for the chilly weather ahead, it’s this: Layering may be the key to fall dressing, but all things cozy are the key to warm winter outfits for women.
Assessing the items in your closet is the first step to styling winter outfits ahead of the season. The goal is to stockpile stylish ensembles that protect you from brisk winds, dipping temperatures, and wet conditions like hail and snow. Heavier pieces like faux fur and weighted knits, warm fabrics (think wool, down, silk, and even leather), long sleeves, long hemlines, and accessories that provide additional coverage (gloves, scarves, ear muffs, etc.) will likely make up the majority of your wardrobe.
Once you've got all your options in front of you, if you’re not sure how to style them in a way that's both functional and fashion-forward, there’s no shame in looking to others for a little winter outfit inspiration.
What’s cozier than your favorite pair of winter pajamas? There are plenty of stylish pajamas that can easily double as ready-to-wear. Pair your pieces with a classic wool coat, sneakers for casual occasions (or booties to dress things up), dainty jewelry, and warm accessories like a scarf or beanie. You'll have a sleep-to-street ensemble appropriate for winter outings.
These one-and-done ensembles make layering that much easier because they’re sleek and adhere to your body’s unique shape to act as a true base. They’re also comfortable, with a level of versatility that can’t be matched. They can be worn on the slopes, to the office, or for happy hour. To style, slip into your unitard, add a chunky sweater overtop, some slouchy socks or leg warmers, knee-high boots, a long overcoat, a scarf, and a beanie.
Tweed was forecast to make a comeback for fall, but we have our suspicions that the textured fabric will also be a staple in our winter wardrobes, and for good reason. The material is warm and durable, and while not completely waterproof, it can hold its own against poor weather conditions (within reason).
There are a myriad of tweed pieces you can incorporate into your winter outfits: tweed jackets, full-length coats, long-sleeve tops, and even accessories like baseball caps.
This is another material that’s going to keep you warm throughout the winter months, and there are a few ways to execute the look in your winter outfits. Leather leggings have cycled in and out of fashion since the 1970s, but since Spanx dropped its faux-leather pair in 2015, this kind of sleek-looking bottom has become a staple in many closets. You can also swap a down jacket for a leather option, and trade your fuzzy booties for a sturdier leather pair.
Another comeback story this winter: all things velvet. Velvet dresses, velvet suits, velvet tops, velvet bows—the 80s staple is making a cameo in our closets once again, and to be honest, we’re not mad about it. Velvet is an excellent fabric to have hanging in your wardrobe in the wintertime, as it’s thick, soft, and oh-so-warm. Pair a maxi velvet dress with thick stockings, boots that climb at least knee-high, and a long overcoat, and you'll have yourself a suit of armor to protect against whipping winter winds.
Faux Fur Details
Fur is a common shield against harsh temperatures in the wintertime, and thanks to some innovative designs, there are plenty of faux options that offer the same levels of warmth and comfort. Furry coats, hats, leg warmers, earmuffs, gloves, and more make for excellent additions to cold-weather wardrobes as they trap heat so efficiently.
Maxi Hems for Maximal Coverage
Now that we've done all things cozy, let’s talk about coverage. Maxi hems are having a moment because they are both stylish and practical. The longer the hemline, the less skin that is exposed to Mother Nature. Of course, depending on the material of the skirt, you’ll want to invest in some quality tights for an extra layer of warmth, but the pairing is a classic all the same.
Another clever source of coverage that might be hiding in plain sight in your closet is your trusty pair of over-the-knee boots. When it’s chilly (not freezing) outside and you want to wear a mini dress or skirt, use your favorite pair to shield your legs from any brisk winds blowing through your neighborhood. Then, when temperatures turn frigid, you can swap leggings for a pair of faux suede or leather boots under a maxi dress. You could also layer them over skinny jeans for additional warmth.
When you think of gloves for winter wear, mittens, and tech-touch pairs probably come to mind before opera looks. However, opera gloves trail up the arm and are generally made with leather materials—sometimes velvet—making them not only stylish but incredibly warm. All we’re saying is, you might want to consider a swap this season.
Big Blanket Scarves
We have Lenny Kravitz to thank for the blanket-scarf phenomenon of the 2010s, and I guess we can credit the artist for its renaissance. Blanket scarves are the epitome of cozy. You can wear them over your shoulders, around your neck, or over your head like a hood if your ears start to freeze in low temperatures. They’re also a highly versatile accessory, as they come in an array of colors and patterns, so you can pick and choose which you’ll wear based on your ensemble.
Related: How to Wear a Blanket Scarf
While sweaters are introduced into our wardrobes in the fall, these pieces shine their brightest in the wintertime (especially if you live on the East Coast). The chunkier, the better in our book. We love an oversized knit tucked into trousers — or a satin maxi skirt for contrast—and you can’t go wrong with a classic denim pairing. Complete the look with a puffer vest over top, some high-top sneakers, and a ball cap. For oversized options or tunic styles, swap traditional bottoms for leggings or yoga pants and lean into the lounge look.
While we love a good overcoat, chunky cardigans make for a fantastic layering piece on a cold winter’s day. Beyond the fact that cardigans are super cozy, they’re also highly versatile. They can be worn with trousers and loafers to the office or as loungewear with flare leggings, a basic long-sleeved shirt, and slippers.
Matching sets saw a spike in popularity during the pandemic that has yet to drop off. They make perfect winter outfits for women because they’re a two-and-done ensemble option. The time that you’d normally spend piecing together a top and bottom is now freed up for honing in on your accessories game. Think outerwear, footwear, jewelry, and any layering pieces required to keep warm throughout the day.
Let’s face it: Cold mornings make getting dressed difficult, which is where one-and-done winter outfits, like sweater dresses, come in clutch. Sweater dress outfits will never go out of style for the cold weather months, because they’re classic and easy to put together. You can dress them up with booties and heels or dress them down with flats or sneakers. You’ll want a pair of quality tights at the ready—whether your hemline is mini or maxi length—once weather conditions become unbearable.
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