By Tyler Helms
Title image via Fox
During winter, no one wants to look like the Michelin Man. Staying stylish may seem difficult given the frigid temperatures; slow, sleet, rain; and harsh winds, but, luckily, trendy looks are not as elusive as warmth. And don’t worry, you don’t need a Canada Goose or Moncler jacket.
Here are five tricks for being stylish and weather appropriate in the winter:
1. Black, Black, Black
Honestly, black is always in. You will almost never look wrong in an all-black ensemble. Simply channel your inner Upper-East-Side-Mom, and you will rock the streets and crosswalks of New Haven.
Not only is black slimming, but it absorbs every possible ray of sunlight, providing you extra warmth during your walks in between class. But be
yond these two benefits, black matches almost anything – except maybe navy and brown, but that is debatable. Black even matches black. In the morning, simply thrown on your black leggings or jeans, a black undershirt, a black sweater, and a jacket (preferably in black), and you are looking sleek, trendy, warm, and fresh out of an Alexander Wang campaign.
2. Layers keep you cute, warm, and functional
As I hinted in my first tip, layers are a life-saver in the winter. Sure, you may look a little puffier than normal, but you will be warm and able to adapt to indoor and outdoor climates.
First, start with a simple, form-fitting base layer. This may be a simple undershirt for your upper-body or tights for you lets. Next, put on a thicker sweater or sweatshirt. This may be a vintage sweater you picked up at a thrift shop, a sweatshirt from your favorite brand, school (Yale, obviously), or vacation destination. Regardless, this layer should be warm and a little looser fitting than the base layer. Next, an optional layer would be a thin, insulating jacket. If you have a fleece or down / down-synthetic jacket, this is the perfect layer. This piece will help keep all of your body heat in and keep you comfy. Finally, top it off with an outer layer built to withstand the elements. Usually, this piece should be rain, wind, or water resistant/proof. The purpose of this layer is to protect your warmth and comfortable layers from the harsh temperatures or winds.
Often forgotten, always needed.
In the New England winters, your appendages are the first to feel the cold. Apparently, mittens are warmer than gloves, but both with keep your fingers warm and cozy. Better yet new gloves offer touch-screen compatible fingertips, allowing you to use your phone while still keeping your fingers protected. Obviously, black gloves are my recommendation, but gloves and mittens come in all types of cute patterns and prints. Check out a Tj-Maxx or Marshalls for a number of glove and mitten options.
Equally as important as gloves are beanies and earmuffs. Beanies provide a little more warmth, and pom-pom beanies are making a massive comeback. You can get wool beanies with fur or faux fur poms on top, or you can stick to the simple, plain styles. Places like Etsy offer unique styles, or you can get classics almost anywhere. Pick a neutral color that you can add to any outfit, and you’re set! If you don’t want your hair messed up, earmuffs or head wraps are your best friend. There are the traditional earmuffs that go over your head, or there are the subtler ones that wrap around the back of your head. Honestly, they will all work just as well, so pick the style that best suits your aesthetic, and you’re set!
In my opinion, scarves are one of the hardest accessories to make look appealing, but that does not mean you shouldn’t try. But, please, do not wear scarves simply draped over your shoulders. Instead, op for infinity scars. These scarves in one continuous loop stay closer to the neck, provide more warmth, and double-up to provide more distance between your neck and the cold weather. If you do own a regular scarf, find new ways to wear it. You can tie the ends together to make it an infinity scarf, or check out this post for 13 ways to wear a scarf.
4. Find cute winter boots
Don’t let this be you on campus! Find some stylish and supportive winter boots.
The cold conditions create ever-lasting snow across Yale’s campus. With this, it can be hazardous to walk around. Between dodging snow, ice, puddles, and the slow-walkers on your way to your 9AM, you need shoes that will hold up. While chunky Sorel’s are always an option, there’s no need to look like you just left the Appalachian Trail (unless that is your look).
Rubber Chelsea Boots are extremely popular right now. These low-profile boots will provide waterproof protection while keeping a minimalist profile. If you worry about warmth, simply add a pair of wool or fleece socks, and you will be set. You can find a cheap pair on Amazon for around $20.
Another option is Dr. Martens. This cult favorite is built to stand the elements and the streets. While they are not naturally waterproof, just add some leather protector and these boots will wick all moisture they come in contact with. Coming in a variety of styles, the chunky, thick soles and yellow accent stitching will give you the edgy look you might be looking for, regardless if you want their Chelsea Boots, knee-highs, or originals.
As of late, Hunter Boots have been extremely popular. While these may not be the warmest option, you can add a fleece liner to help combat the cold winters. Known for their superior quality and waterproof traits, Hunters will never let you down.
5. Thrift stores and hand-me-downs are your best friend
With the number of Canada Goose, Moncler, Mackage, ParaJumper, Gucci, etc. winter clothes on campus, it may seem that in order to survive the winter you must slaughter your bank account or skip meals. That is far from the truth.
One of my favorite, and warmest, jackets is a vintage Old Navy jacket I stole from my dad’s closet. At thrift stores, I have found a number of vintage and retro sweatshirts and jackets that provide warmth and trendy styles. Better yet most of these items are within or below the $5-10 range.
Thrift stores often provide a variety of knit sweaters, sweatshirts and hoodies, jackets, boots and shoes, jeans and pants, and t-shirts. When you’re not rocking your all-black look, change things up with a unique 80’s jacket you found on the rack at your local Goodwill or second-hand store.
If designers are your thing, check out consignment shops. These stores normally offer designer and higher-end clothes, albeit at a high price than thrift store, but still cheaper than retail.
So, there are my five tips to staying style during the New Haven winters.
Just because it's cold doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look nice. In fact, winter might be the best time to demonstrate your personal style because you have more layers and articles of clothing. Never be afraid to try something new. You might be surprised by what looks good.