Winter Wardrobe Essentials for Women

winter wardrobe essentials for women

[winter wardrobe essentials available at Oliver Bonas]

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the so-called “wardrobe essentials” we DON’T really need, and then we asked you to tell us about the ones you DO.

Now, having consulted your suggestions and noted the common themes, we’re pleased to present The Fashion Police’s own list of what REALLY constitutes a “wardrobe essential”. Just to keep things simple, we’re sticking to one season at a time – in this case, winter – and before we go any further, we want to add a quick disclaimer to say that these are simply the items which were suggested most often by our readers: obviously not every woman is the same, so you may find that your essentials are completely different, in which case we’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Read on for our list of Winter Wardrobe Essentials for Woman – as suggested by Fashion Police readers!

1. The Winter Coat

This was always going to be number one, wasn’t it? Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the type of climate which offers year-round warmth, it’s hard to get anywhere in winter without the services of a thick winter coat. Because this is the item you’ll wear every day, all season, a good coat is worth investing in, and we think it’s also worth picking something versatile enough to go with all of the rest of your clothes: it might be tempting to go for a bold colour, to brighten up those dull days, but if you tend to always wear brightly coloured shoes too, you might find the two colours sometimes clash. That’s not to say you can’t go for lots of colour if you want to: just pick one that works with your wardrobe, and which you know you’ll be able to wear every day, for months on end, without getting sick of it. winter coats

Winter coats from Miss Selfridge

2. The weather-proof boots

Our readers were pretty much unanimous about the need for a sturdy pair of weatherproof boots or shoes in the winter months. Exactly what those boots or shoes might look like will depend on your lifestyle and the type of winter weather you typically get (If you generally find yourself ploughing through a foot of snow on the way to work every morning, snow boots will be essential, but if you live in a city where snow is rare, you should be able to get away with a wider variety of footwear. Low or flat heels were also mentioned frequently: as much as we love our stilettos, we have to agree that they’re not much use in the snow, and positively lethal on ice, so leave them at home or carry them in your bag to change into once you’re indoors.

3. Hats, scarves and gloves

You already knew these were winter essentials, but they’re also an easy – and generally affordable way – to smarten up that winter coat and make it a little more interesting.

4. Jeans or warm trousers

We have a feeling this may be a slightly controversial one. Many of readers said they consider jeans to be a winter wardrobe essential, but we also know many of you hate jeans (or just can’t find the right fit) and never wear them, so we’ve expanded this category to include any kind of warm, hardwearing trousers: cords, for instance, are great in winter, as are tweed pants or even velvet. As for those of you who never wear anything with trousers…

5. Jersey dresses

Indispensable to dress-lovers in cold climates, jersey dresses can be casual or formal as required, and come in almost every shape and shade┬áimaginable, from 50s-style fit n’ flare shapes to simple shifts. When it’s really cold out, you’re probably not going to want to wear them with bare legs, like the model shown above, which brings us to…

6. Leggings/Opaque tights

We’ve lumped these two into one category, because while some of you can’t live without your trusty opaque tights, others insist that leggings are thicker, comfortable and more versatile. Personally, we’re on the side of leggings with this one (We don’t need to point out that we’re ONLY on the side of leggings when they’re not being worn as pants, do we?), but either option will work just as well.

7. A selection of sweaters

Ah, sweaters. At this time of year, we rarely see the words “winter fashion” written down without the words “cosy sweater” somewhere in the vicinity. As with everything else on this list, there’s no single type of sweater that will work for, or be useful to everyone: if you want to get through the winter in warmth, choose a selection of fine-knits (good for work, or for layering under other pieces) and chunkier styles for the colder more casual days.

So: what did we forget?


  • October 15, 2012


    Thick, long socks are a go-to for me! Usually between mid-calf and thigh-high, and they work really well for layering with pants when it’s extra-cold out. The longer ones can also work in place of tights, and they tend to come in a lot of colors, even the thick practical ones.

    View Comment
  • October 15, 2012


    I have silk long underwear that doubles as leggings under skirts. Slides right into the boots and are warm outside, but comfy inside, too. They also have a little fly flap to remind me they are NOT pants. ­čśë

    View Comment
    • October 16, 2012


      Haha. The little fly flap to remind you they aren’t pants! Genius. That made my day!!!

      View Comment
  • October 16, 2012


    a tip for coats: try finding a good-quality vintage coat. they will probably cost a bit more than the ones you buy at a budget store, but they last forever, especially coats from the 40’s-60’s. My favourite one is a black 1940’s coat with gold trim and a wide skirt, it’s just so warm! The 40’s are good if you want a fitted silhouette, the 50’s had a lot of swing coats in pretty colours and the 60’s were a bit younger and more playful, with a lot of colour. You can also have a coat hemmed if you want a more contemporary length.

    I only wear vintage coats at the moment because these things were just built to last a lot longer than a few seasons. I’m now even learning to make my own coat for this winter.

    View Comment
  • October 19, 2012


    Ah, this makes me love where I live. Down here is Brisbane, in the land of Australia winter woolies generally consists of stockings (not necessarily thick) and a dress (not necessarily with long sleeves) or jens and a t-shirt. If it’s really cold we’ll add a sweater or jumper. Gloves and hats are rarely necessary, and scarves are just a fashion accessory.

    Sadly, the proliferation of Ugg’s is unbearable.

    View Comment
    • October 21, 2012


      Only true if you live in the north of Australia. Down south in Canberra, we may not get inches of snow, but we certainly get very bleak weather and wind off the mountains and it cuts right through. So yes, I have a number of coats, far too many jumpers and cardigans, solid , boots, long socks, tights, leggings, singlets, lined leather gloves, headgear, scarves, decently thick skirts and trousers (leather or suede is highly recommended – keeps the wind out!)

      View Comment