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Winter Outfit Ideas: Hot Party Looks for Cold Nights — Part 1


Winter night in the city
Photo Credit

There’s a little winter issue that I’m sure all of you have encountered before — I’ve come to know it as the Hot Inside, Cold Outside (HICO) dilemma.

The HICO Dilemma:

We’ve all been there — it’s your BFF’s birthday, you’re going to grab a drink with that cutie from your accounting class, or maybe you’re just ready to blow off some steam after an exam. You’re ready for a fun night out, and you want to turn heads. So you put together a killer outfit. The problem? Most popular college hangout places (bars, fraternity houses, etc.) rarely provide a safe place to stow your coat.

At this point, you’re forced to choose between two major inconveniences — “ditch and dashing”, or stowing your coat in your car (or at home) while you sprint into the party, or carrying your winter coat around all night. Both of these scenarios are annoying — waiting for a cab ride home is miserable without outerwear, and, well, it’s difficult to dance while holding a balled-up peacoat in your arms.What’s a girl to do?

Well ladies, CF has got you covered. Below, I’ve put together four awesome outfits that will help you solve this HICO dilemma. Be sure to visit CF again next week for even more ideas. Check out the first installation below!

Note: We know that these outfits still might not be warm enough to wear without a coat if you live in a really cold part of the world. Be sure to leave us a comment if you’re one of those girls and tell us how you manage to stay warm and look chic on nights out!

Tip#1: Pair liquid leggings and a boyfriend sweater with edgy accessories.

Winter night out look 1
Leggings, Sweater, Shoes, Earrings, Clutch

I have a huge collection of knit sweaters that I like to pair with jeans and boots for an easy and casual outfit on the go. However, they look a little too lax for a big night on the town when just paired with jeans.

An easy way to dress up a big knit sweater is by pairing it with dressier pieces, making it go from class-appropriate to trendy enough to wear to a bar or party. Liquid leggings are just fancy enough to accomplish this. I especially like this pair above, embossed with crocodile print. Be sure to wear heels with this look, and finish with a clutch and cool earrings.

You can modify this tip by pairing knit sweaters with coated denim or patterned leggings. Leggings are also a clever way to make a short dress more seasonal!

Tip #2: Make your jacket an essential part of your outfit.

Winter night out look 2
Skirt, Top, Jacket, Earrings, Shoes

Another way to combat cold weather and still look cool is to combine pieces that you wouldn’t normally think to wear together. The results will be an interesting match of casual and dressy, which has been all the rage lately on street style blogs.

Start with a chic hi-lo skirt and pair it with a top — I like this cropped bra top because it creates an edgy aesthetic when paired with a high-waisted skirt, but almost any blouse could work in this situation. A utility coat, worn on top, gives you coverage, while also keeping you warm and creating contrast against the girly, flowing skirt. Finish with earrings and ankle boots.

This tip can also apply to cardigans, motorcycle jackets, military jackets, blazers, and more!

Tip #3: Layer with a dressy vest.

Winter night out look 3
Shirt, Vest, Shoes, Jeans, Ring

An easy way to tweak a fall wardrobe for chilly temperatures is by adding a jacket, vest, or scarf to simple outfits. A silky black blouse like this one is incredibly versatile, and will look amazing under a faux fur vest and a trusty pair of jeans. You’d be surprised at how warm these vests keep you — and they’ll work great with long sleeved shirts, thin sweaters, turtlenecks, and even long sleeved dresses! Keep this looking night-appropriate by adding a pair of platform booties and a sparkly cocktail ring.

This tip will also work great with military, knit, Sherpa, and motorcycle-style vests. The possibilities are endless!

Tip #4: Add tights and a leather jacket to a dress.

Winter night out look 4
Dress, Jacket, Boots, Tights, Necklace

Probably the easiest way to winterize a party dress is to add your trusty leather motorcycle jacket. It will add an edgy element that will make even the most flowery pastel dress look amazing during the coldest months. Balance out the top by wearing tights and boots with the look. Finish with girly accessories, like this cameo necklace.

Don’t limit yourself to just dresses, though — leather moto jackets work wonders on sequined party tops and silky blouses as well. If moto jackets aren’t your style, you can substitute a black blazer for a trendy look perfect for a night on the town.

What Do You Think?

Does it get very cold where you live? What tricks do you use when you want to look chic but stay warm? Do bars in your college town have coat check areas? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Posted on on November 23, 2012 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , ,

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22 Responses to “Winter Outfit Ideas: Hot Party Looks for Cold Nights — Part 1”

  1. 1
    November 23rd, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I find it that the best thing is to have a really good jacket – i have one that ALWAYS keeps me warm even it if looks bulky. So what I do – I dress-up and that means short skirt, shorts, t-shirts, sleeveless blouses or whatever I want since I know I am going to be alright inside. And then i grab the bulky jacket (which has huge pockets so no need to carry a bag too!) and head to the party. No one really cares how you look outside the club :)

  2. 2
    November 23rd, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I live in central Europe and I would be probably freezing in these outfits, no matter how cute they are.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t solve the problem yet. If room for coats is full at the club, yu just have to carry it around (super annoying!). But usually I use the coat room. Many pubs have hangers (hope it’s the right word!), so that’s option too. Most of the time, my coat just ends lying near to me (I’m more pub and caffé person, where it’s simpler situation).

    Well, winter sucks. :/


  3. 3
    November 23rd, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I went to college in Eastern Washington, and it usually snowed this time of year so tights definitely wouldn’t cut it. One way I stayed warm was wearing gloves and then putting them in my jacket pockets when I got to the party. I also wore skinny jeans and snow boots and just made sure I wore a really really cute top.

  4. 4
    November 23rd, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I love all of them!
    Too bad I’m in France and it’s too cold to leave the house without a jacket and a coat (not to mention the gloves, scarf etc.)
    Good thing is, most of the places here have somewhere to leave your coat (some for free some paying, but quite cheap) so we get to be warm outside and still look hot on our nights out :)

  5. 5
    November 23rd, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I seriously love all three of these outfits, thankfully where I live it doesn’t get too cold at night so I could get away with a “hot” outfit :)

  6. 6
    November 23rd, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Where i live it freezes in the winter. And i owning a car isn’t really an option, parking it is way too expensive around here. So when we go out we go by bike or public transport..
    But here’s what i do, i just have an ugly coat and an ugly bag no one would want and i just put the coat in the bag and hope no one steals it.
    I also wear sweatpants over my skirt/dress and i take them off before i go inside.

  7. 7
    November 23rd, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Love all of the outfits!

    When I was going to school in Montana and went out to the bars, I’d sometimes bring an older jacket that I didn’t care too much about, and my friends and I would shove them between one of the windows and the blinds. I know that sounds kind of sketchy, but I never had my jacket stolen or get stained, and I could be comfortable in the hot bar while warm enough to wait for the bus or taxi outside.

  8. 8
    November 23rd, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Fortunately a lot of places here do have cloakrooms, and if I’m in a bar with friends where there isn’t one, we’ve usually set up “camp” (i.e. snagged a table) where we can leave our coats. I might try the first outfit, I’ve got a lovely snuggly new jumper to wear!

  9. 9
    November 23rd, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I wear these all winter long:

    And cashmere or wool tights are the secret to staying warm with any outfit :)

    xandra ?

  10. 10
    November 24th, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I live in Michigan, so the weather is basically ridiculous. Last weekend it was in the 60s and today it snowed…yup.

    Two tricks I like a lot for cold weather

    1) wearing warm leggings underneath a maxi skirt. There’s something about a long skirt that instantly makes anything look un-frumpy

    2) warm wool cable knit tights with colored tights OVER it, so you get the warmth and the fashion!

  11. 11
    November 24th, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I wear cardigans or some type of covering over my regular outfit to stay warm.

    A lot like the “Make your jacket an essential part of the outfit” idea.

  12. 12
    November 24th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I live in Europe and fortunately we don’t have really cold winters but still we need at least a coat or a jacket but most places have a place to store them.

  13. 13
    November 24th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Has anyone ever ordered from “”?It’s the site where you can find the ankle boots from the first outfit,is it safe to order from there?

  14. 14
    November 24th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    dsw: yes. It’s a really big shoe store. very reliable in my experience.

    As for staying warm, under armour leggings are really warm and can look pretty edgy with the right jacket….

  15. 15
    November 24th, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    You should check out the black sequined Uggs!
    They are the perfect shoe for going out in the winter: soo cozy but really cute at the same time! They are in my christmas whishlist for this year haha

  16. 16
    November 25th, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I live in CLE and the most clutch thing is my faux leather jacket. I got mine at Forever 21 and it’s warm but totally adorable. SWEATER tights are also so important; thinner tights are cold but sweater tights are like leggings. Also, an important note is that wearing stilettos on ice is a bad idea.

    As a whole: Thick Tights/Leggings, dressier flat boots, and tight sweater dresses are all pretty important. Love this column!

  17. 17
    November 26th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Love the 4th look! I wore something like this to Thanksgiving the other day but with my studded Dirty Laundry boots. They help dress down any outfit.

  18. 18
    December 5th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I live in Paris and it is pretty cold (wet and rainy) during the winter. To look chic but stay warm, I often wear thin silk or wool t-shirts, even technical underwears (those you use to go sking) under a nice sweater, a top or even a dress. I choose them in the right color and nobody guess I wear them…
    And to go out I often mix a fancy outfit with a warm parka or a down jacket. Never forget either to wear leather gloves and a woollen (or cashmere) cap !!

  19. 19
    December 13th, 2012 at 11:06 am

    i love winter fashion !!!!!!!!<3

  20. 20
    January 16th, 2014 at 10:18 am

    These are some cute ideas. The leggings with an over-sized sweater has always been one of my favorites. I can’t wait until summer though to put on my little black club dress again! aka not a winter girl!

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