This post will show you how to create a winter capsule wardrobe, plus six winter college outfits that will keep you stylish and warm.
Heading to classes during the wintertime can be a challenge — how can you look cute when you have to bundle up for cold weather?
In this fashion guide, we’re solving that problem with six winter outfit ideas perfect for college, plus tips on how to dress warmly without sacrificing your style (hint: the key is layering).
From must-have winter shoes and accessories to winter-ready clothing that will keep you extra warm, here’s how to hit campus in style this winter.
Table of Contents
Layering Essentials & Winter Accessories
Dressing for school during the wintertime calls for lots of layers. Have you ever felt frozen while walking across campus, but then got to a heated classroom and practically started sweating? Such is the struggle of winter dressing! That’s why mastering the art of layering is the key to staying comfortable in changing temperatures.
A great place to start is with base layers. Look for long-sleeve tops with a body-hugging fit that will help you retain heat; Uniqlo’s HEATTECH line is a great option. The thermal cotton crew neck long-sleeve top above (which comes in a bunch of colors) offers heat retention, but is also moisture (a.k.a. sweat) wicking, offering the best of both worlds. I suggest wearing a base layer like this under your sweater or sweatshirt for added warmth during the year’s coldest months.
Winter accessories that you can easily take on and off, like beanie hats, scarves, and gloves, are also must-haves for campus. These will help you stay warm outside, but once you get to class, you can quickly stash them in your backpack or coat pockets. A convenient winter accessory set that includes all three items is a solid investment for the semester and beyond.
Winter Footwear for Campus
Investing in the right type of footwear during the winter is crucial, especially if you’ll be walking outside across campus often. And unless you go to school somewhere that is warm and sunny year-round, you’ll want to be prepared for snow and rain come wintertime.
For more intense winter conditions, consider some tall, waterproof snow boots that will keep you extra warm, thanks to their faux fur accents. Duck boots with a fuzzy lining and water-repellent outer are another classic option, while some faux shearling winter boots with insulation make for a trendy update.
You also can’t go wrong with some black water-resistant Chelsea boots or lace-up hiker boots with sherpa cuffs for a wintry vibe.
Pro tip: don’t forget to switch out your standard socks for thicker socks with heavier fabric contents or double lining for added warmth.
Winter Capsule Wardrobe
Have you ever thought about a capsule wardrobe? This is a collection of clothing and shoes for a particular season that can be worn interchangeably for maximized outfit combinations.
Often, the goal of a capsule wardrobe is to stick to basics and classic pieces rather than overly trendy, one-wear items, which can also help curb your spending.
If you’d like to create a capsule winter wardrobe for college, start with these items:
- Thick denim jeans with a straight-leg fit (we love these from Abercrombie)
- Black fleece-lined leggings (our faves are these from Athleta)
- Heavyweight fleece sweatpants and sweatshirt (like Aritzia’s cozy fleece sets)
- A few knit sweaters in neutral colors (H&M has affordable options)
- Base layers, including a long-sleeve thermal top (Uniqlo makes our fave)
- An extra-warm padded jacket, like a puffer jacket (our fave warm option here)
- A long, structured coat and/or a faux fur-lined jacket (like Abercrombie’s Dad Coat)
- Waterproof winter boots (like these from Sorel)
- Casual shoes that are warm-lined, like Uggs or fleece-lined sneakers (our fave Uggs here)
Winter College Outfits
Got your winter essentials in order? Let’s style them. Here are six winter college outfit ideas that will keep you warm while looking stylish on campus this season.
Sweater Weather Styling
Style up your sweaters and knitwear with a trendy faux shearling aviator jacket. These jackets look ultra-cool but are surprisingly warm thanks to their faux fur lining.
For a cute cold-weather look, stick with neutral hues in the form of a light beige turtleneck sweater and a jacket in the same color family, plus a ribbed knit beanie hat.
Paired with some straight-leg denim and cute winter boots, like these lace-up boots with a fleece-lined collar and chunky lug soles, you’ll be able to take on the cold in style.
Cold Weather Campus Chic
Want to look chic in cold weather? Go for a long, structured coat with a warm fabric content, like this wool-blend Dad coat. This one features a tailored silhouette and luxe interior lining that is going to give you an elevated look as soon as you put it on.
Try wearing the coat with some black pants (these stretchy ponte moto pants are a comfortable yet chic option) and a brightly colored sweater. Red is *the* color of the season, and this red mock-neck sweater makes for the perfect pop of color. Don’t forget to wear a base layer underneath, like this heat-retaining long-sleeve top.
Pull the ensemble together with a cute black patent puffer tote bag to carry your school stuff in and some winter boots with a sleek look, like these faux shearling Chelsea boots made of winterized rubber and durable lug soles that can handle snowy conditions.
Look Cool, Stay Warm Outfit
Look cool, but stay warm — that’s the goal of getting dressed in the winter!
This outfit is the perfect way to achieve a cool look without freezing outside and features neutral tones, which are especially eye-catching during the winter (when everyone tends to wear darker hues).
Not only is this teddy puffer jacket a unique take on a classic puffer jacket, but it’s also warm and fuzzy, making it ideal for the cold. Style it with some beige cargo pants and some thick gold hoop earrings for a trendy look.
Now, you may think that these are regular sneakers, but think again: these Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Move Platform Leather Sneakers are fleece-lined, so they’re going to keep your feet nice and toasty throughout the season, making them a top winter footwear pick.
Casual for Campus
Want to keep things casual? This cold-weather look is easy to put together but looks on-trend and is a great choice for a busy day of classes.
Jeans are one of the best choices during the wintertime since denim tends to be a thicker (and thus, warmer) material compared to other options like leggings. Wear your favorite blue jeans with a puffer jacket; this one features a short length, which gives it a stylish, flattering appearance and pairs perfectly with high-waisted jeans. (We love low-rise jeans, but less fabric = less warm).
These casual lace-up shoes, which are a mix between winter boots and sneakers, are made for cold weather, with faux shearling details and waterproof construction. Speaking of waterproof, you should also consider a water-resistant backpack like the classic Fjällräven Kånken pack, which will come in handy if you encounter snow or rain when walking across campus.
Cozy on Campus
Some days (or most days), you just want to be cozy. But dressing down doesn’t mean you can’t look put-together! Try wearing a matching sweat set for a coordinated look. This matching set of fleece sweatpants and a sweatshirt will keep you feeling cozy and warm throughout the day — especially when paired with some Uggs. This season, shearling-lined platform boots and slippers look particularly cool and are easy to throw on when you’re rushing to get to class.
By wearing a long tailored coat over your sweats, you’ll also look more polished; a puffer jacket works, too. Be sure to accessorize with a knit beanie hat (I adore the faux fur pom detail on this one) and a fuzzy, oversized plaid scarf, which is giving Scandi girl winter aesthetic.
Activewear in the Winter
Yes, you can still wear activewear in the winter — the key is layering and choosing materials that are both cold-weather and sweat-friendly.
You’ll want a pair of winter-friendly leggings that are sleek on the outside yet have a warm, fleece-lined interior. The best part? This pair is also sweat-wicking, so they will keep you comfortable during any physical activity.
Wear a fleece pullover over your athletic top of choice; I’m into the color-blocked design on this one, which has a comfy fit that is easy to pull on after your workout. If you’re going to be outside, opt for an ultra-warm jacket like this mid-length goose-down puffer jacket with a hood that is both water-repellent and wind-resistant.
Don’t forget cold weather accessories like a knit beanie hat with a slouchy design that can be pulled down low to protect your ears from blasts of cold wind and some Merino wool-blend socks that are sweat-wicking (and cushioned!).
Depending on your activity and the weather, complete the look with athletic sneakers or a pair of hiker boots that feature sneaker-like soles.
What do you think of our winter college outfits guide?
Would you wear these outfits? Which winter college look is your favorite? Leave a comment and let us know!