You know how it goes. At the beginning of fall, you’re happy–a little excited even–to be rid of the scorching temps of summer and fully embrace the cool, crisp, breezy days of autumn with open sweater-ready arms. But, alas, as the temperatures drop and fall freezes into winter, you become a little less thrilled–and a lot less inspired–to keep up that fresh fashionista lifestyle while shivering through yet another snow-blanketed commute to work.
For some of us, the relentless cold of winter seems to linger longer and longer every year, and the temptation to sacrifice style for warmth wins out more often than not. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. Believe it or not, with a little prep, planning, and wardrobe examining, there is a way to keep warm and look great all winter without compromising your own uniquely savvy style. Keep reading for five tips on how you can enhance your winter look and bring some heat to your cold-weather appearance this season.
1, Layer like it’s your job.
Sure, you’ve heard the term “dress in layers” thrown around when discussing how to survive the cold. And, up until now, you’ve even put it into practice on occasion—sort of. After all, who hasn’t worn a belted cardigan or leggings under a sweater dress from time to time? But once those temps start flirting with freezing (or dropping well below), it’s time to drop the amateur fun and kick your layer game up a notch if you want any chance of keeping cozy this winter.
The key to creating a truly successful layered look is starting with a solid base layer. For some, this may be the crisp button-down shirt or flowy tunic beneath the belted cardi. But on those really bone-chilling days, a strong base layer may be one that no one sees at all. A base layer is, simply put, clothing solely meant to hold in precious body heat like long sleeve fitted t-shirts under sweaters or sheer pantyhose or tights worn under pants or jeans. Once your base layer is taken care of, you can finally focus on putting together the stylish outfit that others are meant to notice (and envy). Your layering prowess doesn’t have to stop there. Bonus points for wearing bold statement pieces that look great wrapped in a cozy scarf. Because yeah, you’re gonna need that layer, too.
2, Put your best foot forward.
Your trusty slip-on and cute flats got you through the spring and summer in sassy style. Bravo. But honestly, as versatile as they may be, flats (and high heels) are no match for the black ice and slushy sidewalks of winter. Save yourself a twisted ankle or two and have a couple of pairs of sturdy yet stylish boots that can withstand the harsh elements of winter at the ready when that first flake falls. If you’re wondering if you’ll want more than one pair of women’s boots to brave the season, the answer is “yes” and “of course.” Aside from the obvious snow boots, you’ll want on the slopes, you’ll need to have a pair of sleek ankle booties to pair with cute dresses and sleek slacks all season. But, for those days you just have to be the center of attention, you’ll absolutely want some knee-high boots capable of kicking some serious butt.
3, Build your outerwear collection.
To survive a serious winter, you’re going to need a serious coat. As much as we love chic moto jackets and adorable bombers when it comes to braving the elements, you want a no-nonsense winter-proof jacket watching your back. Like shoes, chances are good you’ll need more than one kind of coat for your busy lifestyle. Longwool coats or shorter wool pea coats are sure to keep you warm while maintaining picture-perfect style for those days you need to keep that professional appearance in check. But for serious storms or take-no-prisoners snowball fights, you’ll want to make sure you have a pair of cozy knit gloves and a vibrant chunky scarf and hat at the ready for that full-body coverage kind of protection.
4, Protect your skin.
Taking care of your skin can feel like a full-time job, but it goes into overtime during the winter. Between the sun reflecting off the white, glistening snow and the harsh winds and cold air drying everyone out, it’s really important to pay extra attention to what your skin needs during those harsh winter months.
Everyone knows how important SPF is in the summer, but winter sun can be just as harsh. Protect the skin you’re in from the great outdoors year-round by using a moisturizer with SPF 15+. If the cold weather and brutal winds have your skin feeling flaky and dry, you may want to consider adding a thicker nighttime moisturizer to your pre-slumber beauty routine. But, of course, it isn’t just the skin on our face that suffers when the air is dry. Keep a hydrating hand moisturizer and restorative lip balm in your handbag at all times, and you’ll be living soft and smooth–regardless of the forecast.
5, Take care of your clothes (even more).
We’ve all had that one sweater with special washing instructions. The one you wear out on certain occasions, only when you can almost 100 percent guarantee that no harm will come to it by way of excessive movement, chocolate stains or (gasp!) red wine spills. But, if you spend a majority of your winter sweating from being bundled up beneath layers, then you’re going to want to make sure you wash your clothes a little more frequently. Take care to wash delicates with special detergent and always use a cold water wash to help preserve colors and keep clothes from fading–especially after frequent washes.
In addition to that healthy “glow” you acquire from layering, the dirty snow in the streets and rock-salted sidewalks you trudge through every day aren’t doing your hemlines any favors. Don’t risk ruining a perfectly good pair of pants from dragging them along the slushy ground. Take any slightly-too-long pieces to a tailor now and rest easy walking in your best winter fit for many snowy commutes to come.
Don’t let the cold weather drag you down. Use these five simple tips to enhance your look this winter. Make the most out of your own personal winter wonderland.