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Every year when summer melts into fall, we get pretty excited to revamp our wardrobe. Don’t get us wrong! We love the easy, breezy fashion that comes with warm weather—but the cool, crisp autumn air just gives us so many options. However, when fall turns into winter and multiple layers become mandatory, we start to run out of cute cold weather outfits real quick. If you feel the same, these tips for winter dressing are about to make your life (and your look) far better.
Guess what? Just because it’s freezing out, doesn’t mean we have to collectively resign ourselves to giving up on style—it just means we all have to think a bit more creatively when getting dressed in the morning. Layers are a must, so don’t ditch your trendy jackets for heavy duty coats until it’s absolutely necessary; just buy them a size up so you can fit a sweater and down vest underneath! Or, accessorize with cute pieces that also provide warmth, like faux fur scarves and heat-trapping hats.
Even during winter’s darkest days, great style is very possible, so long as you’re prepared. Here, a few of our top tips and tricks for dressing when it’s cold outside. Embrace your inner snow queen and become the winter fashionista you were born to be! And seriously, stay warm out there.
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1. Become A Layering Pro
There is a reason layering is always on-trend in the winter: It’s a massively practical way to dress when it’s really cold. Don’t be afraid to pile on the layers, and don’t worry about them ruining your look. The key is to find items you can layer discretely under trendier pieces, so you stay warm and still look cute.
My number one recommendation is to buy an ultra thin, lightweight puffer or vest from Uniqlo, which can be paired over sweaters and under jackets for an extra layer of warmth. Ask any girl who’s ever braved the great outdoors during Fashion Week in February—she’s got a Uniqlo down jacket hidden underneath her chic, street-style worthy coat.
2. Let Your Boots Steal The Show
Great winter style really boils down to a good pair of boots. Got a fab pair of over-the-knee beauties? Show them off by pairing them with a short dress and patterned tights. Have killer ankle boots that the world deserves to see? Style them with cuffed jeans and a chunky knit.
While you definitely need a few practical pairs for winter, make sure you have at least one ~fun~ pair of boots in your wardrobe. If you need a happy medium, go for these Madden Girl Firefly Boots—the candy pink hue is basically a neutral, and the faux croc looks especially fashion-forward.
3. Belt Your Coats To Give Them New Life
By the middle of winter, it’s pretty inevitable that you’re going to start to feel some fatigue when it comes to putting on your boring old winter coat day after day. Add new life to your coat simply by belting it. Cinching your waist will not only define your silhouette, but also make it seem like you have a brand new coat.
The best news of all: This styling trick will work with just about any coat style—we’ve even seen some serious fashionistas belt puffer coats! If you need to start with something a bit safer, opt for a coat with hidden buttons and find a belt that’s a similar color. While bold dressers might prefer a bit of contrast, a monochrome approach is just as good.
This Michael Kors option pairs well with this French Connection Faux Fur Teddy Coat and it would work well with the other jackets in your winter lineup, too. Buy one belt, instantly get multiple new coats free!
4. Embrace (Faux!) Fur
There aren’t many redeeming factors about living through really cold weather fashion-wise, but it is the only time during the year that you can wear fur (faux, of course). So just have fun with it! You can wear fur with just about anything to give your outfit a majorly-luxe upgrade.
If you’re intimidated by a fur coat, opt for fur mittens, a furry scarf or a beanie with a fluffy pom-pom. If you’re ready to compete in the big leagues, treat yourself to an Apparis coat like the Sasha, available in eight colorways in the brand’s iconic, oh-so-soft Pluche faux fur.
5. Try Out Trendy Hats
Your first instinct in the winter may be to splurge on a pair of boots or a coat, but we’re here to advise you to also hunt high and low for the winter hat of your dreams. You’re going to be in that thing for a solid two months from here on out (not to mention it’ll be the first thing people will notice about you) so it should be something you love.
Trendy bucket hats are in, like the above super cute plush pick from Hat Attack, but if you’re looking for something you’ll wear year after year, a classic beanie will never fail you. If you’re all about that beanie life, consider snagging a designer one! This Ganni Recycled Wool Knit Hat comes in five colors and gives any winter look an instant street style flair.
6. Experiment With Scarves
You can literally never go wrong with a scarf, especially if you aren’t sure your coat/outfit are warm enough on their own. Scarves are accessories and layering pieces at the same time, so you can grab a faux fur one like this Adrienne Landau pull-thru pick to really bundle up and still look chic.
If you’d prefer a more lightweight option—maybe one that gives you winter vibes but won’t have you overheating indoors—a plaid blanket scarf is always a safe bet. This BP. Blanket Scarf is just $15, so yes, you should buy it for everyone you know.
A version of this story appeared in January 2015.