I have received many questions about that topic. So I listed few tips to help you composing the best outfits to stay warm and dress chic at the same time. We’re going to layer different types of clothes without looking like a bibendum (ever heard about Michelin Man ;-)…)
1) Layer n 1: close to the body- the one to keep the heat without sweating
This first layer is made of clothes cut close to the body, made in natural (as wool, merinos or silk) or technical fabric. It can be tank tops, tee-shirt with long or short sleeves. Anything you can wear under a sweater or a shirt that stay invisible. So pay a special attention to their necks. If you want to wear a V-neckline sweater or a shirt, go for a V-neckline tee or tank top by instance. The fabric is important : avoid synthetic ones unless you’ll be sweating as soon as you enter a warm place or a crowded metro wagon. Silk and wool are perfect. But they are rather expensive. Then you can choose breathable, lightweight t-shirt made in a technical fabric. Theses tees have been designed to convert perspiration and water vapor into warmth. I found my favorite ones at Uniqlo. They are both thin, soft, gentle on the skin, warm and unexpensive. Just perfect!
Prefer a color that will stay invisible under your shirt, like this one
Or white, like that one :
Be sure to buy clothes that feature the “Heatech” label. This technology, developed by the brand, will keep you warm with its amazing insulating capacity.
They also have legging trousers warm enough to wear as a single layer for a smooth silhouette on cold days.
Choose dark blue and wear it instead of your basic raw denim jeans. Or choose a color winter as anthracite gray, burgundy, plum or green bottle. The color range is impressive! The cut high waist keeps your belly warm. Wear it with a denim shirt and a long wool sweater to hide buttocks ;-)
Layer n°2 : to isolate (mesh or down)
For the second layer, you’ll add a nice wool sweat or cardigan. Something warm and soft as angora, cashmere or mohair. You can also choose to only wear a nice elegant shirt (like a silk shirt) and just add a light, warm ans thin downjacket under your coat when you’re going out.
Like this “Mademoiselle Plume” from Comptoir des Cotonniers that you can wear both sides.
Or that Ultra Light Down from Uniqlo
Or even this vest lined very soft fleece jacket
Wear it under a rather large coat or as a single jacket if temperatures remain positive. The fleece lining is a real treat, you can also wear this piece as a vest at home or on the weekend with your favorite jeans.
Or you can add a short sleeve fur jacket; Like this one :
If you decide to wear a dress or a skirt, chose an opaque pair of thights. Why not wearing 2 of them if it’s really cold, taking care to double the same tights or tights that two can go together as an opaque black tights and a thinner lace positioned above.
Choose your dress or skirt in a thick or warm fabric: wool, silk, velvet… Wear something under your dress (first layer as seen above) and add a nice long wool or fur jacket (with or without a belt, you decide). You can wear a long necklace to stretch the silhouette.
Layer n°3 : waterproof layer
This third layer will protect you from the wind, the cold, humidity… It has to be a warm coat or parka. Don’t necessary go for a sport jacket or a ski downjacket. They are warm, right. But they are not chic… Prefer a nice wool coat with the right good cut for you and wear it with a light downjacket underneath.
How to choose your coat for your morphology?
– If you’re small and thin. Be careful about the length. Choose an adjusted cut, not too long (mid-thigh will be perfect).
– If you’re pulpy, beware of jackets and coats that are too fitted. Avoid all shapes with a belt. Prefer a boyish style, a trapezoid or a high waist shape.
– If you’re tall : prefer fluid forms, not too adjusted cuts
– If you’re tall and thin : well, everything will do…
Don’t forget the uncovered part of the body: hands, head, nose… This part is important because we loose a lot of heat if it’s not properly covered.
You can play with colors and patterns to change your looks with the same coat.
Burgundy wool hat and burgundy gloves with a grey coat. Mustard yellow for an other day and it will look like you wear a brand new coat!…
Mix textures playing on different fabrics like silk and wool, or faux fur and cashmere for example. Choose XXL long scarves or wear 2 scarves superimposed to each other. You will create a particular style, and double the volume of tissue around your neck to stay warm!
What about shoes ?
If it’s snowing all day, you’re not going to wear your high heels; Right? We want to stay chic but we don’t want to break our legs slipping on a patch of ice…
Several solutions can be found though.
– If you’re living in a very cold area, go for a warm ans nice pair of snow boots (like these Moon Boots) and put your pretty shoes in a bag. You’ll wear them when you arrive at your office.
If you’re living in a place when it’s cold but not so difficult to walk outside, you can choose a pair of low boots with fur inside (but please not the Uggs one…they have no shape at all and make us look like we’re wearing our spleepings shoes…).
The crepe soles are to be priviledged because they will prevent you from slipping better than simple leather ones.
Fur low boots can be warm and elegant!
Another tip is to buy a leather or suede pair of boots (or low boots) that you like but in one larger size than you usually wear. Doing this, you can add a wool or sheepskin sole Inside or wear thick socks and stay comfortable with your shoes.
And what about dressing for skiing ?
To limit the thicknesses, opt for technical underneath.The perfect formula: the shorty pants without elastic at the waist or at the thighs, with an anti-perspiration shirt with or without sleeves.
Then, you can not escape the integral combination or the ski jacket and stuffed pants. Difficult to make your mind? Hard to help you, it is a matter of habit: some skiers love the effective and full protection of the combi, others hate not being able to release easily from the top, especially when they want to go to the bathroom and feel embarrassed with this pair of empty arms…
What colors for skiing?
Forget 70’s psychedelic prints or 80’s neon crazy patterns (OK for young snowboarders …). Beware of slightly pearly pastel colors that can look like you have such a dull complexion. And if you’re a little pulpy, avoid too bright and strong colors (apple green, yellow, orange, turquoise …). The dark (navy, black) is slimming and easier to wear with these thick fabrics clothes. The dark monochrome outfits have a feminine and charming rétro style. Especially if you wear a pair of slim ski pants, a “fuseau” in French.
A wool hat with a Norwegian accent or a fur pompon will add a Sixties touch.
What to put off the slopes?
Outside of the tracks, even if it is warm and easy to wear, forsake (forget, leave) your ski outfit. To stay warm, multiply the fine sub-layers. Put a warm tight under your pants or legging. Wear a long-sleeved wool or microfiber shirt under your sweater and / or a fleece jacket under your jacket. Play with gloves, scarves and hats to bring smiles to your outfit. Play with the mesh and colors to change your look and stay chic (almost) effortlessly.
Below, it’s me saying hello from the sixties… Have a good Winter!