With the way our beloved winter has been going, it feels like spring is a long way away. Although the calendar says it’s right around the corner, snowplows are in constant move, scraping the windshield is an everyday occurrence and the chapped lips just refuse to go away. Cities all over the country have been hit hard this season, so we know that feeling like a woman instead of a snowman might be difficult in such extreme conditions, yet, it is possible. In an effort to address this, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to dressing for severe temperatures.

Let’s leave the snowmen in the front yard and get back to feeling like ourselves, shall we?



Step 1.

Fact: Several layers of clothing conserve more body heat than just one heavy layer.

On top of your undergarments, begin with a thermal long sleeve and thermal leggings. Instead of thermal leggings, you can also try fleece lined leggings or tights. Next, try one to two more layers of lightweight cotton, or cotton blend tops. Make one of those layers a shirt with a collar, like a woven button down, or a flannel, so that when you layer on top of that the collar peaks out for a stylistic touch. The buttons will also make it easy to take off and tucking in one or more of the layers will keep a chilly breeze from creeping in.

Step 2.

Fact: Pure wool can be awfully itchy and uncomfortable. When it comes to wool fabrics for anything, choose wool-blends.

Add on a thin sweater made of cotton, cotton blend, wool-blend or cashmere. Pull overs are great, especially over a collared shirt, but if you plan on taking your coat off for any reason you’ll want to be able to de-layer, so cardigans with buttons or snaps do just as well. Since this is your last layer before the coat, feel free to add a print or pop of color here.

Step 3.

Over your leggings or tights, put on denim, wool or corduroy pants. For a more fashion forward look, try faux leather pants. Because faux leather is made from polyurethane, they’ll keep you extra warm, are waterproof and easy to wipe clean.

Step 4.

Fact: Frostbite is more common than you think. Cold or wet extremities exposed for even 30 minutes in extreme weather can result in minor cases.

Your feet are of the utmost importance. Use extra warm, wool-blend socks and make sure that they are long enough to pull over both sets of pants. Waterproof boots are key. Whether they are leather, faux leather or rubber, boots with large treads are mandatory. The sturdy soles will keep you from slipping and sliding all over the snow and ice.

Step 5.

Fact: Breathing in cold air can be damaging to your lungs.

Before adding on your coat, layer around your neck with a scarf made from cotton, fleece, flannel or cashmere. For super cold weather, wrap the scarf high enough to lightly cover your mouth.



Step 6.

The final apparel layer, and possibly the best way to express yourself would be the coat. A heavy winter coat, best if made from down, can be the easiest way to stand out in a crowd of black and grey outerwear. If you are most comfortable in neutrals, try a navy or camel coat. If you are a little more daring, a primary coat in red, coral or cobalt can be especially uplifting. Use a hooded coat for maximum coverage and warmth.

Step 7.

Fact: You can lose nearly half your body heat through your head

A beanie or thick hat that covers your ears will do wonders when outside in the freezing cold.

Step 8.

Fact: Mittens generate more heat than gloves.

Although gloves offer dexterity, choose mittens if the weather is in the freezing temperatures because when fingers are bundled together they create more body heat. A great addition to any winter outing are “hand and feet warmers,” that you can buy online.

Step 9.

This final step depends on the time of day, but sunglasses are very important for daylight hours, as snow can be extraordinarily blinding when the sun is out.

We know trying to maintain a “look” when braving the cold is frustrating, but by adding just a few shades of color, print and cute accessories (even a pop of lip color can suffice) along these layers, it absolutely does wonders. It’s the tiny things that usually make the biggest difference, so for those of you daring the snowiest of days, we salute you for getting out there and making it look stylish and easy.

Images via Emily Blake for Darling Issue No. 2



  1. Not to be a Hermione Granger, but the idea that you can lose so much heat through your head is a myth. The study that discovered the “fact” was conducted in the 1950s by the US military. They had men in Arctic suits standing in Arctic conditions with their head uncovered. They never tested any other uncovered areas. It actually turns out whichever part of the body is uncovered will lose heat just like your head, so we’ll be just as cold without pants as we would without a shirt + coat as we would without a hat or shoes. Neat, huh? Learn something new every day. 🙂

    1. Thanks for that knowledge, Lindsay! How interesting, we’ll be sure to recommend all essentials: shirt, coat, shoes, hat AND pants;)

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