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Outfits Under $100: Winter Layering on a Tight Budget


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My mother once told me that if you’re going to splurge on any item in your wardrobe, it should be a coat. And I completely agree – having several styles of coats to choose from may seem extravagant, but during the winter, your outerwear is what people see. Not to mention, spending more usually yields a warmer coat. That said, if you don’t have the budget for an ultra-warm coat collection, you’ll want to experiment with cold weather layering.

Us college girls have to be creative with our restricted budgets, so today I’m helping you out with tips for dressing in warm layers. Each outfit contains a key tip for staying warm in the winter, combined with an outfit (sometimes including coat) under $100.

Note: These outfits are intended to work for the majority of our readers, who reside in the continental US. If you live farther north or in an extremely cold place, you will want to spend more for pieces intended for extreme weather. For more extreme cold weather tips, see our “coldest” outfit here, our tips on what to wear under your super warm jacket, and The CF Guide to Layering Without Looking Lumpy.

Outfit 1: $97.80

Layered outfit 1: Denim jacket and tank layered under a coat, with ankle booties and jeans
Product Information: Top – Forever 21, Coat – Delia’s, Jacket – Dorothy Perkins, Jeans – H&M, Shoes – Make Me Chic

Don’t be afraid to layer a jacket under your coat, or wear multiple jackets in winter! One of our favorite looks is a denim jacket underneath a basic black coat – it’s a great way to rock a summer staple in winter while staying warm. Add funky ankle booties for extra style points.

Outfit 2: $93.04

Layered outfit 2: Geometric cardigan over long-sleeved shirt with beanie hat, scarf, ankle boots and skinny black jeans
Product Information: Top – Target, Sweater – Tilly’s, Leggings – H&M, Shoes – Charlotte Russe, Hat – Forever 21, Scarf – Forever 21

If you’re not dealing with freezing temperatures where you live, sweaters can work as warm outerwear! Some textiles are incredibly cozy, comfortable, and great for cold days in the southern half of the country. However, sweaters do retain moisture, so don’t wear one on a rainy day. If your sweater and top are long enough, opt for cozy, opaque leggings on the bottom. Then, be sure to layer on the accessories. Hats, scarves, and gloves are no-brainers for chilly weather.

Outfit 3: $93.65

Layered outfit 3: Cape coat, turtleneck, skinny black jeans, flats
Product Information: Coat – Forever 21, Top – Target, Jeans – H&M, Shoes – Boohoo

Here at CF, we love turtlenecks. If you haven’t tried one, you are missing out on a tremendously warm alternative to a scarf. They keep your neck toasty! A cape coat may not be as warm as one with sleeves, but a warm sweater underneath makes this coat style a staple.

Outfit 4: $99.48

Layered outfit 4: Long sleeve tee, moto jacket, sneakers, boyfriend jeans
Product Information: Top – Target, Jacket – Delia’s, Pants – Target, Shoes – Target

Layer long sleeves underneath a coat for extra warmth. We love this jacket from Delia’s with its contrasting sleeves and mixed materials. It is ultra-trendy and a great piece for winter. Add trendy boyfriend jeans and cool kick to finish the outfit.

Outfit 5: $98.11

Layered outfit 5: Dress, long-sleeve shirt, tights, knee-high boots, pea coat
Product Information: Dress – H&M, Shirt – Target, Coat – Delia’s, Tights – Forever 21, Shoes – Sears

If you want to dress up a little in winter, it’s possible to stay warm while doing so! The key? Add tights, of course, then, for extra warmth, layer a long-sleeve blouse underneath your dress. We love the look of a bow or contrasting collar peeking out from a crew neck. Then, for extra style points, wear a colorful coat. There’s no need to stick to neutrals in winter: a bold hue brings some needed brightness to the dreary streets!

Now we want to know your thoughts!

How do you keep frugal and fashionable in the winter?  What are your tips & tricks for layering to stay warm? Which outfit above is your favorite? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

Posted on on January 2, 2013 / Filed Under: Shopping / Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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23 Responses to “Outfits Under $100: Winter Layering on a Tight Budget”

  1. 1
    January 2nd, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    thanks for the other links because these outfits stopped being warm here a long time ago

  2. 2
    January 2nd, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    The link for the blue H&M dress doesn’t work. The site claims that the product is no longer available.

  3. 3
    January 2nd, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I am totally in agreement with the coat thing, I have about 3 winter coats! I live in the UK and have spent the entire winter wearing dresses with thick tights and long-sleeved shirts underneath. When the weather is so dreary (seriously, it hasn’t stopped raining for about a month), wearing pretty bright clothes is a small consolation!

  4. 4
    January 2nd, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Would you agree that a coat is a good investment? I’m trying to talk myself into buying one of the coats from the Les Misérables post (I’m in love with it!) but I’m rather tightfisted and am not sure if it’s worth it or not.

  5. 5
    January 2nd, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Great stuff again!

  6. 6
    January 2nd, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Mariam – You’re welcome! Like we say in the post, if you live in an extremely cold place, those links will definitely be more up your alley. As I’m sure you understand, it’s impossible to cater to every possible temperature, especially while staying under $100 including the coat. So we had to go with looks that would fit most of our readers. Here in Boston, for example, outfits 1, 3, and 5 would be fine for me (it’s been around 30 degrees lately), but if I lived farther north, I’d probably add a warmer – and, therefore, more expensive – jacket.

    Sherry – Weird! It was working earlier! The item should still be available at H&M stores (they don’t offer online shopping anyway), but if you’re set on shopping online, here are some similar ones at Dorothy Perkins, Forever 21, and Tobi.

    Natalie – Agreed! Having a couple coats to rotate between really helps break up the boredom of dressing for winter.

    Hero – Yes, definitely! It depends on where you live, of course – if you live in the southern part of the country, you might not need as expensive/warm a jacket as someone who lives in Buffalo, for instance, since you’ll get less use out of it. If you live somewhere where you’re wearing a coat most days from November to April, I’d go for it!

  7. 7
    January 2nd, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I would include a scarf in all the outfits. Big ones, that can double as a blanket at the library ;)

  8. 8
    January 2nd, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I don’t think leggings should ever be worn as pants, and frankly I think a pair of dark wash skinny jeans would look better with the second outfit instead of black leggings. Other than that, I really like these outfits and they seem really cozy.

  9. 9
    January 2nd, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I love outfits #1-3! They are awesome. I could definitely see myself wearing outfit #2.

  10. 10
    January 2nd, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    While I understand keeping this under a 100$ is difficult for those of us in northern climates, there are ways these can be warmer. I’m Canadian, it is -25 Celsius (-13F) for the high today, and there is knee deep snow. This is a traditional Canadian winter. Just to throw it out there, but, those of us who live in these regions own jackets already. I have 3 different jackets dependent on the conditions. It’s a fact of life. So instead of including a winter jacket that we very likely already own, why not focus on the outfits? I will spend 200$ on a jacket – but I need to, so having the jacket in these outfits is, to me, unnecessary. I would rather spend the 100$ on decent thermal wear that’s doesn’t look like grandpa’s, on layering a nice waffle weave with a comfy flannel and cozy sweater. I know I can throw my jacket over this.
    Tl;Dr: if it’s cold where you live, you already own the right accoutrements. Lets make the meat of the outfits warmer. I can’t go out wearing a tak top under a jacket. Maybe under 5 more layers ;)

  11. 11
    January 3rd, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Really loving these lace up boots from F21. Perfect for the first look.

  12. 12
    January 3rd, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Great article, as always! As a Canadian who sees some pretty cold winters (sometimes as cold as -30 or -40), I would also be interested in seeing some cute outfits that could handle these conditions. Layering is a big issue here, since it is always warm indoors, and cold outside! I’m open to seeing what you can come up with. Thanks!

  13. 13
    January 9th, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Thank you so much for this post! Love the navy sneakers. Can’t believe they’re from Target!

  14. 14
    January 22nd, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    nice FALL outfits…my legs were numb just walking to my first building this morning…Iowa weather…I feel you Canadians…

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