Do you want to know the best winter wardrobe essentials for women today? These items are exactly what you need to stay warm in the cold weather, without sacrificing your sense of style.
When it’s cold outside (or freezing…always freezing, if you’re like me!) it can be tricky to create a stylish look that also keeps you warm. Or maybe you’ve been wearing that same pair of sweats three days in a row because it’s just too cold for anything else?
The perfect set of winter wardrobe essentials will solve these problems.
You’ll learn the best winter wardrobe essentials you need to prepare for the cold weather, stay warm and look good (there’s more to it than a warm coat and a turtleneck, I assure you).
As a long-term victim of the fashion winter blues, I was determined to find the perfect blend of style and warmth. I can assure you these key winter wardrobe essentials will improve your life (and maybe lessen your hate for cold weather).
This post is all about winter wardrobe essentials.
Best Winter Wardrobe Essentials
1. Long Winter Coat
A long winter coat is one of the most important winter wardrobe essentials to own. More specifically, a winter coat that’s long enough to cover your backside. I’ve often stood outside in the cold weather wearing a warm coat, but because the coat only went down to my waist, I froze. There can also be a problem with updraft if you aren’t wearing a form-fitting top underneath.
Know your height and check the length of the coat when you’re shopping. I prefer my winter coats to be long enough so that it covers the seating area if I sit down. A knee-length or longer coat is a great length.
Opt for a wool coat, fur coat, or an elevated puffer coat as those materials will provide the most comfort and warmth and can be dressed up or down with the occasion for your winter capsule wardrobe.
Related Post: How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe This Year
SHOP THE Style:
- Bernardo Fashions Vegan Fur Coat
- Cole Haan Slick Wrap Coat
- And Other Stories Single Breasted Belted Coat
- Lauren Ralph Lauren Wool-Blend Twill Double Breasted Coat
2. Thermal Knits For Layering
Base layers or thermal knits are how you can get away with wearing silk blouses, shirt dresses, and other loose-fitting winter clothes during the cold season. Thermal knits are the lifeblood of my winter wardrobe and will become yours too. Trust me. Without a thermal knit, I can put on a chunky sweater and still be cold underneath because I don’t have something hugging my body.
Thermal knits have come a long way since your grandpa’s long johns. You can find good quality tops, and bottoms that won’t show under your sweater, shirt, pants, dress, or skirt. I look for minimal seams in thermal pants and wider necklines in thermal tops for the most versatility to create stylish winter outfits.
Related Post: 7 Stylish Outfits For Winter This Year
Look for a cashmere blend for tops and bottoms for the most warmth and comfort. If you wear skirts or dresses, a hidden pair of tight leggings worn underneath can also be very effective.
SHOP THE Style:
- Intimissimi V-neck top in Modal Ultralight with Cashmere – I live in these all winter!
- Scoop-neck Thermal Underwear Set – Who doesn’t love a matching set of anything?
- SKIMS Fits Everybody Long Sleeve T-Shirt – This buttery soft top has a feminine cut and comes in many colorways to match your skin tone!
- 32 Degrees Women’s Lightweight Baselayer Leggings – Exactly what you want in a baselayer legging: thin and comfortable!
- X-CHENG Fleece Lined Tights Sheer – Looks like you’re wearing sheer black tights if you have light skin; hoping they come out with other skin tones soon!
3. Chic Winter Hat
A winter hat sounds like an obvious item to add to your winter wardrobe essentials, but this will be no basic winter hat. The slim-fitting beanie style is cute and quite possibly the only way I will wear a pom-pom; however, it doesn’t tick all the boxes when I look for a winter hat.
Recommended criteria for a winter hat:
- Mostly windproof
- Fits correctly over my head and hair
- Keeps my hairstyle intact or easily reshapable
- Doesn’t flatten hair or force you to commit to wearing the hat all day (anyone a fan of hat head?)
- Can be dressed up or down
The perfect winter hat I’m referring to is a beret.
You don’t have to choose a classic French one, although they’re great for milder winter temperatures. I was in the Austrian Alps a few years ago, bought a cheap, ivory knit beret in a store, and ended up wearing it the entire winter (which unusually averaged 0 degrees Fahrenheit the entire month of January!).
I can proudly say I am now a convert and am looking to add more berets to my winter wardrobe essentials. The y’re also the perfect hats for a winter engagement shoot or family photos during winter.
Related Post: What To Wear For Engagement Photos This Winter
SHOP THE Style:
- Hat Attack Classic Wool Beret – Keep it classy with this sleek wool beret in navy, pearl, or camel!
- By Anthropologie Houndstooth Beret – Chic and adorable for your winter wardrobe!
- Crystal Disign Studio Classic Wool Beret For Women – Romantic design with super warm wool and angora!
- Ultra-soft beret with feminine detail – I own this in ivory and pink colors and it’s definitely warm! Also can be washed in a garment bag on a gentle cycle.
4. Chunky Knit In Natural Fabrics
A chunky knit is paramount to surviving winter, especially in the northeastern United States where I live. Your winter wardrobe essentials need to consist of clothing made of natural fabrics (e.g. fabrics made from natural materials). Natural fabrics are warmer, more breathable, and look more expensive than synthetics.
Why Choose Natural Fabrics Over Synthetics?
The main types of synthetic fabrics are nylon, rayon, polyester, and acrylic, with a multitude of additional variations. What I find most interesting about synthetic fabrics is how they don’t breathe yet don’t keep you warm either. Mystery solved for those days when I’m fully dressed, feeling cold, with the phenomenon of one armpit randomly sweating.
Natural materials for winter wardrobe staples include such as wool, cashmere, thick cotton, alpaca, or leather.
While some of these fabrics come at a higher price tag, many do not and you can find them at numerous stores. A good tip for finding these fabrics at a lower cost is to look for pieces that blend both natural and synthetic fibers (e.g. pants made of 55% Wool, 45% Polyester).
Related Post: How To Shop For Clothes Effectively
This is where clothing labels become your best friend (like food labels did a few decades ago).
Don’t throw out your entire wardrobe just yet. My suggestion is to purchase your knit base layers first and when it’s time to replace your more substantial winter clothes, do so with natural pieces. Remember, you’ll be investing in higher quality pieces that will keep you warmer, last longer, and look more expensive.
SHOP THE Style:
- AYR The Hygge (minimalist style, slightly loose)
- Lily Silk Oversized Merino Wool Sweater with Slit Sleeves
- COS Chunky Pure Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater
- Jenni Kayne Cashmere Frances Polo
- Anine Bing Sydney Sweater
5. Tall Winter Boots
The key to staying warm in winter is by covering up as much skin as possible. Tall winter boots are a perfect piece to own as part of your winter wardrobe essentials.
Knee-high boots are a timeless choice and are perfectly styled in winter:
- Under your pants or jeans (bootcut, flares, wide-leg, straight)
- Over skinny or tapered pants or jeans
- Under midi or maxi skirts and dresses (paired with thick knit tights or leggings)
- With knee-length skirts (paired with tights)
You can even style them with a pair of joggers for an elevated, casual chic look.
Related Post: What Shoes To Wear With Joggers & Track Pants
Over-the-knee boots are a much-loved item in my winter wardrobe essentials. Style them as follows to stay warm and chic:
- Over skinny pants or jeans
- Under loose midi, maxi, or knee-high skirts and dresses (paired with thick knit tights or leggings-chilly legs be gone!)
- With short or mini skirts (with tights)
Look for materials that will hold up to the elements such as leather, synthetic leather, and synthetic suede. Treat your winter boots with a protective spray before wearing them each season. Opt for a more rugged sole or chunky heel if you’re going to be walking through snow and ice.
SHOP THE Style:
- Stuart Weitzman 50-50 Knee-High Lug Boot
- Sarah Flint Perfect Stretch Boot 30
- Tory Burch Double T Utility Boot
- Blondo Sierra Waterproof Boot
- Vivaia Madeline 2.0 Over-The-Knee Wool Water Repellent Boots
6. Winter Socks
Winter socks deserve their own section because they are that important in your winter wardrobe essentials. The hands and feet are the extremities of the body and are usually the first to feel cold (and stay cold) if not properly insulated.
The key to warm winter socks is not simply based on how soft and fuzzy they are, but on what material the socks are made of (read the section above on winter clothes in natural fabrics).
I asked my family and friends to stop buying me those fuzzy socks from a popular card and gift store. They may look cute and appear cozy but I always find my feet freezing (even while lying on the sofa with multiple blankets on). I love the sentiment, but enough of the cheap, fuzzy socks, please.
Look for winter socks made of wool, cashmere, alpaca, and 100% cotton. These materials will keep your feet warm, even if the fabric is on the thinner side. These socks will also last longer than those made of cheaper material. Investing a little more money in a quality pair of socks is worth it for the comfort of your feet this winter.
SHOP THE Style:
- Thin Merino Wool Dress Socks – Great purchase for basics or a winter work wardrobe!
- Falke Soft Merino Knee Socks
- Bombas Woman’s Merino Wool Knee-High Socks (4 Pack)
- Quince Merino Crew Socks (4 Pack)
- Calzedonia Soft Modal & Cashmere Blend Tights – A must for skirts, dresses, under pants.
7. Winter Gloves
This winter wardrobe essentials list is not complete without the perfect pair of fashionable, winter gloves.
There are four key factors to keep in mind when shopping for winter gloves:
- Finding the right pair to keep you warm
- Providing adequate mobility for hands and fingers
- Quality good enough to last multiple seasons
- Versatility to wear with your outerwear (color and style matches)
Meeting these key factors may require a higher investment upfront. However, you will make up the difference by not needing to purchase another, cheaper pair each season (and your warm hands will thank you).
I purchased a pair of synthetic, fleece-lined artisan-made gloves for $20 a few years ago. I absolutely love them. My hands stay warm on long dog walks. They are machine-washable and I use a fabric shaver to keep them looking brand new. One of my best winter wardrobe essentials purchases yet.
SHOP THE Style:
- ALLSAINTS Long Knit Cuff Leather Gloves
- Wolf & Badger Marsala Women’s Minimalist Leather Gloves – Quality craftsmanship from an independent design in Hungary
- Vegan Leather Gloves with Plush Lining
- Feminine Suede and Leather Gloves with Wool Lining – Super elegant; perfect for dressy occasions!
- Harris Tweed Ladies Black Leather and Houndstooth Gloves – Luxurious tweed gloves, chic Scottish countryside vibes!
- Berner Mohair Hat & Mittens Set – Ultra cozy hat and mittens set in the most beautiful lilac blue (black and white also available!)
Take your wardrobe planning to the next level with the Ultimate Wardrobe Essentials List, completely free to download and use on your mobile device or print out.
What item are you most looking forward to purchasing for your winter wardrobe this year? I’m saving up for a gorgeous chunky knit…maybe two of them!
This post was all about winter wardrobe essentials
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