What to Wear When It's Really Cold: 4 Outfits for Below-Freezing Temperatures

These cute outfits are also super functional.
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Below freezing fashion: What to wear when it's really, really cold outside. Photo of a girl wearing snow boots

It's always hard to stay fashionable in extreme weather, especially when most of the country has been experiencing colder-than-average temperatures because of the so-called "polar vortex." Whether you're used to subzero temps or get caught off guard by anything below freezing, it never hurts to have a little outfit inspiration for those extra cold days, so we've put together four cold-weather outfits to help you out.

Before we get to the outfits, though, here are some tips for dressing warmly when it's freezing cold outside:

Tips for Staying Warm

  • As you probably know, layering is essential for staying warm. For example, on top, it's easy to pile on a cami or tank, a tee, a long-sleeved sweater or shirt, and a coat. On the bottom, layer thick tights or leggings (you can even double up!) under your pants or jeans.
  • Always keep your hands and feet covered. This means wearing insulated shoes or winter boots, or putting on multiple pairs of socks (wool is best). And don't forget warm gloves or mittens!
  • Go for lots of wintry accessories. Scarves, hats, knit headbands, earmuffs - whatever you prefer.
  • When shopping for winter clothes, look forwarmer fabrics like wool, fleece, cashmere, flannel, and down.
  • Lastly, remember that safety is always more important than fashion. While it is possible to be chic and warm, very low temperatures can be a health hazard, so it's better to sacrifice your fashion sense temporarily than risk a trip to the hospital.

Freezing Cold Weather Outfit #1

Outfit for freezing cold weather - plaid shirt, wrap coat, cardigan, jeans, winter boots, headband, knit scarf, fleece lined tights, leather gloves

Products: Snow Boots - Nordstrom, Plaid Shirt - Nordstrom, Headband - Amazon, Tights - Amazon, Coat - J.Crew, Sweater - Nordstrom, Jeans - Topshop, Neck Warmer - Amazon, Gloves - Amazon

This first look makes use of some classic college girl staples. Start with a pair of fleece tights and a cozy flannel shirt (you could even put a tee underneath), then layer on your favorite jeans and cardigan. Go for a trendy wrap-style wool coat and a pair of practical winter boots to keep out the cold. Lastly, accessorize with an infinity scarf, warm gloves, and a knit headband.

Freezing Cold Weather Outfit #2

Freezing cold weather outfit: Turtleneck, quilted puffer coat, skinny khaki pants, fur lined booties, fleece lined tights, gloves, knit hat, chenile socks

Products: Turtleneck - Amazon, Coat - Macy's, Socks - Amazon, Hat - Amazon, Tights - Amazon, Gloves - Amazon, Boots - Chinese Laundry, Jeans - Hollister

For this next casual look, we're starting with a striped turtleneck (turtlenecks are on trend, so don't be afraid to rock one!). For extra warmth, you could also layer a tee or tank underneath. On the bottom, layer a pair of warm tights under some khaki skinnies. A quilted coat is a warm and stylish choice, especially paired with some faux fur-lined booties (just make sure they have some tread on the bottom if it's snowy or icy outside!). Chenile socks, knit gloves, and a cozy hat will polish things off and keep you extra toasty.

Freezing Cold Weather Outfit #3

Freezing cold weather outfit: Dark gray sweater dress, long sleeve black tee, black leggings, black duck boots, striped beanie hat, black pea coat, purple circle scarf, fair isle socks

Products: Dress - Nordstrom, Top - Amazon, Hat - LOFT, Coat - Nordstrom, Duck Boots - Amazon, Leggings - Amazon, Scarf - Amazon, Socks - Amazon

If you're more of a dress-and-skirt girl, here's a cold-weather look for you. You'll want to keep your legs covered, so try doubling up on leggings or tights. Layer a thermal tee under your dress for extra warmth. On your feet, go for some fun wool socks and a pair of sleek snow boots. For your outer layer, a long wool pea coat is a stylish choice. Then polish off the ensemble with a pretty scarf and printed hat.

Freezing Cold Weather Outfit #4

Freezing cold weather outfit: Green parka, sil vous plait sweater, pom pom hat, skinny jeans, white button-down shirt, combat boots, thick socks, fleece lined tights

Products: Tights - Amazon, Coat - Macy's, Sweater - Banana Republic, Hat - Gap, Socks - American Eagle, Boots - Amazon, Shirt - J.Crew, Jeans - American Eagle

This last look is a little more eclectic. Just like before, layer a pair of warm tights under some cozy jeans. On top, try a collared blouse under a fun graphic sweater. If you don't have winter boots, try some thick-knit wool socks under your favorite everyday boots. And lastly, go for a cool-girl vibe with a quilted, faux fur-lined parka and a slouchy pom pom beanie.


Are you experiencing colder-than-average temps right now? Which outfit is your favorite? Do you have any tips for dressing warmly? Let us know in the comments!

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2014; it was completely updated and revamped in 2017 with new outfit sets and information.

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