I’m sure you’re all tired of reading, talking, and thinking about how cold it is by now. Which is really too bad, because Winter has just started – and here in Toronto – it’s not going to warm up for months.
After living here for 4 years, the colder climate, winter doesn’t really get any easier— especially in urban environments. Here’s what I’ve learned since then about keeping warm in a cold, urban climate where you have to walk among the elements.
6 Tips for Dressing in the Winter
1. Learn to Layer
There’s a real art to layering your clothes and while still looking good. There are a lot of items in this list first and foremost, put on a base layer like a pair of tights and a tank top. Bonus points if either of these are made of silk, which is super-thin and comfy. Then comes a long-sleeve shirt, a cardigan or light sweater, a sweatshirt/hoodie/other light jacket, followed finally by your coat. On the bottom, wear jeans or other thick pants. If it’s really cold, you could wear knee socks on over the tights but under your pants, or invest in leg warmers to throw on top of everything.
When it comes to layering, the idea is to make the each layer thin and snug, which prevents the bulky marshmallow-type look, which is definitely not as cute as it sounds. Plus, if you overestimated how cold it was going to be, you can always take something off. Lastly, your coat should at the very least reach the bottom of your butt. Save those cropped, waist-length things for fall or spring, or risk and icy chill going straight up your spine.
2. Get a Tote Bag or Bigger Purse
In addition to your the layers of clothing I just mentioned, you’re also going to need a hat, gloves, and a scarf. Before I moved to Toronto, I thought these things were just fashion accessories (and they still are!), but they also go a long way to keeping you warm. Once indoors, warmth-providing accessories get taken off and you’ll need a place to put them all. You don’t want to be that person who accidentally abandons a single glove on the sidewalk.
3. Master the Costume Change
Office attire is very often not the same as cold weather attire. If you can, leave a change of clothes at work and switch out of your Arcticwear when you get there. If that’s not reasonable at your job, this is where the giant purse comes into play. Dress for the weather when you leave your house, pack a professional outfit in your bag, and change in the bathroom before clocking in. It can also be good to leave a few pairs of work shoes under your desk or in a file drawer. That way you can wear winter boots during your commute and have options when you arrive.
4. Embrace Fur (faux fur, of course!)
There aren’t many redeeming factors about living through really cold weather fashion wise, but it is the best time of the year to rock those faux furs! So just have fun with it! You can wear fur with just about anything to give your outfit an instant upgrade. Unvest in a statement fur topper, throw on a fur vest or stole over your winter coat, or find cool fur accent pieces like fur collars or even fur mittens to liven up your winter outfits.
5. Treat Your Feet
If it’s snowing, all the footwarmers in the world won’t help if you’re wearing thin shoes that will eventually leak. Once the temperature drops and the rain/sleet/snow combo starts, I pretty much live in snow boots. What you want is a pair of waterproof shoes with thick soles that will keep your feet as far from the ground as possible. Tread is good too, as are shoes loose enough to leave space for really thick socks. This is also a good place to take advantage of the knee-high boots trend because the more layers between you and the cold, the better.
6. Experiment with Scarves
Scarves are a fun accessory that can be worn in many more ways than simply wrapped around your neck, and winter is the perfect time to experiment. We love the retro look of a scarf tied around your head belted on top of a jacket, or even tied in a knot around your shoulders.