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What Do I Wear There? Cold(er) Weather!


Product Information: Black Funnel Neck Coat: TopShop, Leopard Print Coat:, White Wool Coat: Bluefly, Quilted Black Coat:

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what to wear in cold weather as we get closer to winter. Many of you commented asking for an article on what to wear in winter weather/really cold weather, and this past week, reader Mary expressed her own cold weather concern:

“I have just come to Sweden for an exchange program and I will be here for 1 year. The problem is that it’s super cold here, and I am really out of ideas on what to wear to keep both warm and cute/girly! The problem is that even for indoors I have to wear warm long sleeve shirts or something with a cardigan. Would you be so kind as to give me some suggestions for us girls living in very cold places?”

Many of us students will find ourselves going abroad at some point in our college careers and will potentially experience a similar climate change, so I think this is a great question. Plus, many of us are already living in really cold areas now!

A couple of quick disclaimers:

Before I get to the outfits, I have two quick disclaimers to make:

First, I am a firm believer in winter being the season for making investments. As much as I love Forever 21, H&M, and other discount retailers, winter clothes definitely need to be more durable in order to do their job.

Therefore, you guys may see that some of these pieces are a bit pricier than what I normally post. However, I tried to chose pricier pieces that you can use year after year, not just ones that are trendy right now. The trendier pieces are from–you guessed it!–those college student-friendly, cheaper retailers.

Second, I believe that winter coats are an extremely personal choice that should definitely be an investment. Therefore, I am only showing base outfits without coats.

I think that every girl should have a coat that they can throw over anything to stay warm and even add to their overall look. Since I  wouldn’t personally be able to try on any of the coats I’d be recommending, I would feel terrible if I had suggested something that was a major investment and ended up not being a smart choice!

Still, to give you an idea of  what’s in style for this winter, I have a couple cute coats in the graphic above. The sites are listed below, and I’d love to hear whether you guys maybe have these pieces or similar ones.

Now on to the outfits!

Cold Weather Sample Outfits

Look One: Cold Weather Classics


Product Information: Jeans, Knit Hat: TopShop, Cashmere Sweater: Uniqlo, Stitched Gloves: Banana Republic, Wool and Cashmere Pashmina:, UGG Boots: Zappos

This look is made up of the most expensive pieces in the article, but they are also the ones you will get the most wear out of. Each piece is durable and timeless on its own, and they all look pretty cute worn together too!

A black cashmere cardigan will keep you looking classy and well as comfy, while these basic skinny jeans are perfect for tucking into any sort of winter footwear.

As for the boots, I know that the label “UGG” strikes fear into the heart of many fashionable college girls, but I have actually heard pretty amazing things about this particular style. They are lined with super-warm material on the inside and have a durable exterior that promise to hold up against any cruelties of winter weather (I would probably use the UGG waterproofing spray on them just in case)!

An important part of staying warm is adding extra cold-battling accessories, so pick up a nice pair of gloves (preferably with a lined interior) that will match with everything, like these black leather ones. I seriously love slouchy knit hats to add a perfect winter touch to your look and hide static-y strands, while a pink pashmina will flatter flushed cheeks and add some color to your look. Pashminas are also great since you can wear them as a scarf or as a shawl!

Look Two: Everyday Style


Product Information:Cardigan: Uniqlo, Stripe Tunic:, Black Leggings: French Connection, Zip Gloves: TopShop, Knitted Ruffle Scarf:, Over the Knee Boots: Piperlime, Gold Earrings: Wet Seal

For this look, I wanted to create something you could wear in your day-to-day life that would be comfortable but appropriate for a variety of different activities, from going to class to going site seeing–you are in a new and exciting place, after all! The button-down striped tunic is especially adorable with the added ruffles by the neck, which match perfectly with a pastel-colored, ruffled scarf.

While I normally do not suggest leggings in colder temperatures since they are not very warm, they are the ideal piece to wear underneath winter’s hottest shoe trend: the over-the-knee boot. Since this is slightly tricky to carry off, I do suggest choosing boots that are dark and made out of a less flashy material, such as suede or this subdued brown leather.

Since the top and leggings are not as warm, I would layer a cardigan over the tunic. I love the deep, wine color of this one, and its batwing-style sleeves are also really popular right now. Add on a pair of brown leather gloves (try to get a pair in close as color and texture to the boots as possible), some gold earrings for fun, and you now have a stylish, versatile, and (most importantly) warm look for the winter!

Look Three: Trying Out Trends


Product Information: Long Sleeve Top, Skinny Jeans, Rib Beanie Hat, Tassle Zip Boot: TopShop, Fur Vest: H&M, Quilted Leather Gloves:, Scarf:

As I mentioned in my last post about dressing for colder weather, I have a terrible tendency to get lazy as the temperature drops. To break myself out of my typical boots-and-a-cardigan uniform, I sometimes like to try to incorporate one of the super-trendy winter fashion pieces into my wardrobe. For you CF readers that like a challenge, I suggest purchasing a cheap faux fur vest to add some warmth and excitement to your winter style. I know Zephyr wrote an post about faux fur outerwear on Monday, and though the reaction seemed mixed, some of you definitely seemed interested in this super-hot winter accessory.

Since the fur vest is such a statement, I would try to keep the rest of your look classic so that the vibe is vintage-chic, instead of furry mess! Neutral colors are still cool for this season, so choose the rest of your pieces in that color family. Layer the vest over an oatmeal long sleeve top and plain denim skinnies. Tuck those jeans into tall (but not over-the-knee–you don’t want to go trend-crazy!), sleek brown boots.

To finish this look off, I added a pair of quilted brown leather gloves for some sophistication and topped it all off with one of my beloved slouchy beanie hats in a nude color. If your neck is feeling bare, you can add a scarf with light detail but try to avoid any other accessories for fear of looking too overdone.

What Do You Think?

Are these looks enough to protect you from a cold winter (after you mentally add your favorite winter coat to each look, of course!)? How would you mix and match them for different activities? Do you have any tried-and-true pieces that you believe are Cold Weather Classics? Let us know below!

And as always, don’t forget to share any “What Do I Wear There” questions you may have. Your question may be in next week’s article!

Posted on on October 9, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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40 Responses to “What Do I Wear There? Cold(er) Weather!”

  1. 1
    October 9th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    I live in Sweden (usually, but right now I’m in USA) and I think these ideas for outfits are perfect and supercute! I would check out stores like H&M (for cardigans and scarves+gloves), Lindex (for tights and warm socks), Zara (for nice coats), Carlings (for jeans and sweaters) and Vero Moda (for cardigans and dresses).

  2. 2
    October 9th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    wow I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I personally think you are the best one out there, I mean I read other ones everyday too but yours I like stalk lol keep up the great work :)

  3. 3
    October 9th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    AWESOME ARTICLE!! I am so happy to see posts like this, as I live in Canada and it is sooooo cold here a lot of the year.

    And I totally agree with what you said about a coat being an investment. I have a beautiful black and white coat from Next that I adore- it goes with everything!

  4. 4
    October 9th, 2009 at 10:39 pm


    I’m form Canada too… toronto actually and the weather gets colder by the day. This article was great and gave me some neat ideas. Another plae to check might be Club Moncao for good quality winter clothes like cardigans and sweaters. They just brought out their new collections and i absolutlely love it!

  5. 5
    October 10th, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Really? Leggings in Winter? When it’s like 30 degrees or colder out and snowing? Not practical or warm. But, I like the other outfits.

  6. 6
    October 10th, 2009 at 2:19 am

    i lovee this article!
    i live in canada, and worse, i live in the one of the coldest cities in it. LOL.
    soo i really have to dress really warm come october.
    cardigans are a great staples evry winter. all u see that people wear in my school are cardigans and lately ive been obsessed with oversized knitted/boyfriend sweater matched with skinny jeans and if the sweater’s long enough, just plain leggings.
    and ive been sporting the slouchy hats too.but i wear them a certain way [kinda the top leaning to the side,like a beret] =)

  7. 7
    October 10th, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Great choices I loved the outfit ideas! Even the area I live in haven’t get too cold yet but I love cold wheather so I can’t wait to try these out !

  8. 8
    October 10th, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Those are really gorgeous outfits!
    I also live in Sweden, but I do not agree with Mary on that “you have to wear long sleeve shirts”, I can totally live in tank tops even though I’m French!
    Thank you for an amazing blog!

  9. 9
    October 10th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for the article, great inspiration. I think it would be helpful to have an article on choosing a versatile winter coat, too, though.

  10. 10
    October 10th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I’m doing an exchange in Sweden right now too, and I definitely agree with Mary: Long sleeves indoors are a must! (And I’m Finnish, so I should be used to the cold…)

    I love the first outfit, a dark slouchy sweather with colourful accessories and nice boots – it’s such a no-brainer on cold, dark mornings. However, my favourite uniform during this time of the year (when it’s still too early to break out the heavy knits) is based on layering. I love a long basic top or summer dress under a loose checked shirt or tunic, and a cardigan on top, together with thick opaque tights and boots. The slouchy beanie is perfect for adding a boho touch.

  11. 11
    October 10th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Like many who have posted so far, I also live in Canada, and it snows a LOT where I live… Good ideas! :) I just have to find the perfect pair of boots (I think of them in the same way as the jacket: they have to be very functional as well, or else they will fall apart in the snowy and icy conditions), as it hard to find good quality boots that will survive a long, harsh winter.

  12. 12
    October 10th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I’m pear-shaped, and as a result skinny-jeans don’t suit me. Is there a look WITHOUT skinny jeans, as they don’t flatter me as much, and so am really conscious of it. Thank you.

  13. 13
    October 10th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    It snowed a little in Wisconsin today. It was a bit sad. What I do when it’s REALLY cold is wear tights or leggings under my jeans, or a pair of tights or two under my leggings just to add a layer or two and take the nip out of the wind. If my jeans are a little looser, I might try to wear my longies underneath. No one can tell the difference, and the extra warmth is completely worth it when hiking to class.

  14. 14
    October 10th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I agree with Leira, I’d love to see an article on choosing a good winter coat- like some shapes to look for, ways to measure quality, how to choose etc.
    I love this post- even if I’m not fond of the leggings-in-winter or faux-fur trend. These outfits look comfy and verstile. I’m in the Windy City and will probably be using a bunch of your ideas this winter..

  15. 15
    October 10th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Alexandra – I do that too on really cold and windy days! Tights or leggings are great under jeans and they really do help keep you warm! It’s a great tip for winter.

  16. 16
    October 10th, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    I like this post!! I love all the outfits, especially the third one because of the pretty and neutral tones. I’m really glad that you did this post! Your location in NYC definitely works to your advantage because you get to see all these fashion and you are in the East Coast so you know what you are talking about when you’re talking about to cold weather!

  17. 17
    October 10th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    These are great outfits that can actually stand the weather! Thanks!

  18. 18
    October 11th, 2009 at 10:22 am

    In one of my classes, we go camping for a weekend in the woods in mid november. Now I live in florida, so its not unbearably cold, but to us who are used to warmth, its a huge change. I was wondering what to wear at night, when its the coldest, to keep warm, but not look like im drowning in hoodies. thanks

  19. 19
    October 11th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Wow, that was helpful! I am at school in Tulsa, which, yes, I know, is not very cold, but I am from Austin, Texas, where it is really only cold in, oh, January. Then I just wear sweaters, but I was wondering today what really lies between sweaters and short sleeves…this has given me new inspirations to try winter fashion!

  20. 20
    October 11th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Hey guys, always great to hear back from you!

    Ashley: I totally agree that leggings are typically not the best choice for colder weather, however, I feel like they may be the best choice to wear underneath boots that are more than knee high, as jeans may crumple up and get uncomfortable. I actually saw the other day that American Apparel has leggings specifically for colder weather; I would love to hear if anyone has tried them!

    Sarah: I chose skinny bottoms for these looks as they are easiest to stuff into boots, so I’m sorry if I left out girls who don’t like them! You can substitute bootcut or straight-leg jeans for any of these looks. If you prefer baggier or flared jeans, I would simply pick boots that are slightly less bulky than these that you would be able to tuck under the jeans. Hope this helps!

    Everyone else: you guys had some really great cold weather ideas! I definitely am going to be trying those out as the weather gets colder. Also, I will try to start asking around and finding out where to go for good coats so I can let you guys know!

    Thanks for the comments!

  21. 21
    October 12th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    absolutely love the first look – SO cosy. saw that faux H&m vest this weekend it surprisingly doesn’t feel like plastic!

  22. 22
    October 13th, 2009 at 2:11 am

    I am really loving the first look Colleen, it’s so chic and simple, totally something I would wear. Actually, now that I’m looking at these, I’m pretty sure I would wear all of these outfits, give or take a few things. Great post, it definitely gave me some ideas for new outfits!

  23. 23
    October 13th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    hello from Switzerland =)

    try wearing tights underneath your leggins, or wear two pairs of leggins and you’ll freeze even less then when you wear jeans!!!! trust me ^^


  24. 24
    October 13th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Colleen I LOVE your posts!! They are so helpful!

    I just got accepted to a study abroad program in Europe for the spring semester and the first thing I thought about was how do I pack to go abroad? and I thought.. I should ask colleen.
    So what do I wear there? I have no idea what the temperature will be like and how I should go about packing for all occasions that may come up when I can only bring two suitcases.

    Please help and write a post about this!! I think a lot of people would benefit from it!!

  25. 25
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you so much Colleen. I can’t believe I didn’t even tell you how good these looks even are when I commented before! I’m so sorry, that was really rude. Thanks for the reply, and for coming up with such great ideas. xxx

  26. 26
    October 14th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I really love the first outfit!
    I actually live in sweden so this is perfect,
    Thank you :D

  27. 27
    October 15th, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Hey, I have a question for this series (I posted it in today’s post and the other blogger kindly told me to post it here). I’d really like it if you answered it ASAP.

    Next november I’m giving a lecture out of town, in a village near to the beach. I’m from Argentina so november means spring-summer, but I’m preety sure it’ll be windy in the coast. I have to look serious and put together, but not too formal, and I wanna look young (I’m 20). I’m thin and a bit short (but with long legs), and I have a lot of back problems so I can’t wear high heels. Can you help me? Thank you!

  28. 28
    October 15th, 2009 at 4:44 am

    I was wondering if you could post a section on rainy days. I live in Shanghai, so it rains a lot during the spring, winter and fall (practically every day!), and occasionally during the summer. I know that Zephyr already did a post on something like that, but it was for much warmer weather. I have a pair of rain boots, but I’m not too sure if they would be good for the winter as well. I was wondering if you could give some ideas on how to dress during the fall and winter for rainy days.

    Thanks! :)

  29. 29
    October 17th, 2009 at 3:16 am

    NEED that fur vest in my life. I like these outfits, they’re very classic and low maintenance. Best of all, all of these outfits look very appropriate for college students. And I love how you incorporated those thigh high boots in the second outfit! I’ve been trying to find a good thigh-high but I can’t find any ones in my price range :P

  30. 30
    October 19th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    ah i seriously love all of the pieces from the first outfit…i totally agree they are all so worth the investment they are amazingg pieces….and ive also seen those leggings from American Apparel and i wanted to know if they would actually work in the cold weather too! anyway…i love all of the outfits once again…you are awesome!

  31. 31
    October 21st, 2009 at 12:40 am

    I’m pretty sure i’m obsessed with all of colleen’s articles.
    She is such a talented writer and has such an eye for fashion!

    These articles have taught me so much, i’m going to go out and get that cute scarf and hat tomorrow!

  32. 32
    October 22nd, 2009 at 12:45 am

    hey i would like an article showing outfit ideas that look cool with over the knee boots.. i just bought ones like the ones that serena is using in the article of would you wear over the knee boots and i dont know which outfits to use with them

  33. 33
    December 18th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    i’m from california, but i’m attending school in Syracuse.
    It’d be helpful if you could give tips on certain things you could do for even colder weather, especially on the lower half of the body, because these outfits would be perfect for 30 degree weather, but for sub-zero, i don’t know if most of these would work unless you put multiple jackets over.

  34. 34
    December 24th, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I live in Holland and we’ve got a white christmas! It’s very much fun but also very cold. I kind of like that because it’s a great opportunity to go crazy with layering. :)

  35. 35
    December 24th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    OMG! you have helped me soo much! im from jamaica and i do travel but this time will be my first in the winter season. Im so excited! i was really worried ide have to look out of date and like a boy for the whole time but this gives me hopea nd also prepares me for that change of climate as i land. Thanks so much!

  36. 36
    May 27th, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for the great tips!

  37. 37
    August 25th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I just loved this post. I just moved to Ireland and coming from a tropical weather I was finding rather difficult to dress up!
    Thx :)

  38. 38
    February 7th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    This was posted on my birthday! <3 Great outfits though! ^.^

  39. 39
    November 17th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    These outfits are cute but they don’t look too warm :l I would wear those outfits here in FLORIDA during the winter. I’m going to Tennessee soon for a trip and…I need COATS AND JACKETS not sweaters and little scarfs….

  40. 40
    January 19th, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    this stuff is so cool

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