Ask the Fashion Police: How to stay stylish AND warm at the same time…

Military_jacket Nina asks…

"Now that autumn is approaching much faster than anyone would have thought, I find myself being cold ALL THE FREAKING TIME (I know you understand me, I read your blog). So in order not to freeze to death this winter, I was looking for some really warm yet stylish clothes to wear on Campus and in the city.

I wondered whether you could help me in my search for pullovers (and maybe skirts or dresses as well) that will keep me from dying without making me look like a fashion criminal. Thanks for helping me out!"

Oh Nina, Nina, we feel your pain! The Fashion Police HQ is located in the frozen north, which generally means that as soon as the leaves start to fall, the officers have to abandon all hope of looking stylish, and settle instead for doing whatever it takes to try to stay warm. That said, there are some ways to do both, and so here are our tips for cold weather dressing…

1. Get a good coat

This is so obviously we don’t really need to even state it, but a good quality winter coat should be your major purchase of the season, so take a look at our Coat Corner selection and pick something warm and suitable for your lifestyle.

2. Look for "knitted jackets" rather than cardigans and sweaters

The Fashion Police are addicted to buying cardigans, and this season we’re particularly loving the long-line boyfriend style.  The problem with this, though, is that pretty cardigans tend to come in a fine-knit fabric, or, worse, to have three-quarter length sleeves, so they’re not actually much use when it comes to keeping you warm. The answer? Knitted jackets.

The one at the top right of this page, for instance, is from Next, and although it looks like a jacket, it’s actually knitwear, so it’s soft and flexible. This is good news for anyone who’s ever sat huddled over their keyboard wearing a coat because of the cold. As those people will tell you, coats just aren’t meant to be worn indoors and they’re not very comfortable to sit around in, so the knitted jacket is a Godsend here: they’re lovely and warm, but look smarter than things like hoodies or thick sweaters so they’re perfect for times when you need to look reasonably smart, but don’t want to freeze. Plus, you can layer fine-knit sweaters or long-sleeved t-shirts underneath and take off the jacket if/when you need to. And speaking of layering…

3. Layer!

Another obvious one, but layering is the key to stylish winter dressing, and lots of thin layers will not only be less bulky than an oversized sweater, they can also be warmer, and look better too.

Thermal_vest 4. Buy thermals. No, really…

No, they’re not pretty, but given that you’ll be wearing them under your other clothes, it doesn’t really matter. Thermal vests (long sleeved ones are best, we find), leggings and even tights make great layering pieces and will allow you much greater freedom in terms of what you wear over them. So those fine-knit sweaters and cardis can be back on the agenda… The vest pictured is from Marks and Spencer, but you’ll get these in most major department stores and, if you’re in the UK, in Matalan, where they only cost about £5 per piece.

5. Knit fabrics are your friends

When it comes to buying dresses, there are always lots of knitted ones around during the winter season, and this is good news because they’re warm and flattering. We featured the budget options from Target last week, but again, you’ll find something similar in lots of different stores. Both of the dresses at the bottom of the page are from Victoria’s Secret – belt a longline cardigan over the top for extra warmth, and to bring the look up to date, and add a pair of opaque tights and long boots to finish it off. And while we’re on the subject of boots and legs…

6. Wrap up the extremities

You loose a lot of heat from extremities like hands, feet and heads, so hats, gloves and good footwear are a must. If you’re really cold, go for woolen tights rather than lycra ones (there are also lots of thermal tights on the market), or wear leggings with boots: they tend to be thicker and warmer than tights, and they can be more comfortable, too. Tights come in so many different colours and patterns now that they make a really cheap and easy way to make an outfit more interesting, while keeping you warm. This year there are also lots of over-the-knee socks around, which you can wear over tights for extra warmth.

So, there you have it – our quick guide to keeping warm and staying stylish. We’re sure our readers will have other tips we haven’t thought of, though, so over to you, folks: how do you make sure you stay warm without looking like you’re on an expedition to the North Pole?

Sweater_dresses

11 Comments

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    Annjo

    I can’t. I literally cannot look stylish in the winter, because once December hits, the temperatures start to dip down to -40.

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    Am

    Well, You seem to have it pretty much covered there Fashion Police. I would add that lined dresses are very warm in winter, and tend to not look too bulky either. I’ve been wearing one all morning for a business networking event and was the only person in the room who didn’t have to put on my coat! Also Vests – I can’t imagine life without vests!

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    PrettyPorcupine

    I second the advice to wear thermal undies. I, too, once scoffed at this idea until one of my aunts gave me some very fine-knit (almost like pantyhose fabric), long-sleeved ones because she knew I had to stand around waiting for trains and buses. These are a GODSEND and I will buy more this winter. They are thin enough to wear under anything and keep you super-warm (and I am constantly cold from September to July).
    But aside from that, I’m with Annjo. Once it gets really nasty I find I just pile on ugly woolen tights, four sweaters, my boyfriend’s hideous watch cap, some mismatched gloves and my ugly-but-warm Uggs (these were also a gift) and go out looking like Nanook of the North.

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    Steph

    Thanks Fashion Police! Although like Annjo and PrettyPorcupine, when it’s cold, I just don’t care about stylishness any more. I spent a particularly freezing February fortnight at my sister’s uni flat once, and wore every item of clothing I owned, and her hoodie on top (with the hood pulled up – I looked like Eminem). And I’d do it again!

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    Natasha

    I just look stylish and go everywhere by car.

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    Danielle

    Someone want to trade places with me? It’s sweltering hot here in Southern California and I absolutely detest hot weather. I wish I could wear me some stylish winter clothes!

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    Nina

    Heehee :) Thanks for your advice guys and a BIG thanks to Amber, for taking care of my problem!
    Warm wishes!!

  • Reply October 1, 2008

    Annjo

    Haha, okay Danielle, you come live in Norway for a while, I will try out California :)

  • Reply February 27, 2009

    berlin

    Gut!

  • Reply September 6, 2009

    Bethany

    Wool. Wool is warm, breathable, and can be found in all kinds of weights. If you don’t mind a bit of fuzz, angora is eight times warmer than wool. Insulation is the key. As well as protecting the extremities, wrap up your neck well. There’s little that can chill me faster than a draft down the back of the neck. Even inside, a fluffy little scarf can look cute and keep you warm all out of proportion to its size.

  • Reply September 4, 2010

    alexis

    ok i know this might sound really stupid but do you know where i can find a white full body suit with no sleeves it looks kinda like a bathingsuit but isn’t if you saw the can’t be tamed video by miley cryus then its something like that but no feathers please help its important to me

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