Feb 07, 2012

by English Muse


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It’s freezing in Europe at the moment and I’m starting to worry about packing for my trip. I’ve lived in Southern California for the past 20 years. I have no idea how to dress for extreme cold. Help! Any advice?

(Photos by Garance Dore.)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 at 9:58 pm. It is filed under Blog, Fashion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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24 Responses to “How Do You Dress for Cold Weather?”

  1. Saartje says:

    It is pretty cold in Europe these days! Are you going to one specific country or will you be travelling all across the continent? I would definitely recommend wearing mittens instead of gloves. I am originally Belgian (and have lived in the north of Sweden for half a year) and of the “cold handed kind”, and mittens might be less stylish, but trust me, they are much warmer! Experience has taught me that wearing a big warm scarf can make all the difference. Unless you want winter toes, I’d also recommend shoes and socks that are wide enough so that you can move your toes a little. Sometimes it’s better not to wear 5 layers of socks because they might cut off your blood supply. Other than that: just wear layers and you’ll be fine. The big advantage about most European countries is that it’s only cold outside. Inside it’s usually nice and warm. (I’ve been colder living in Sydney in winter than I’ve been in Belgium – no central heating here inside!) Not sure if this helps, but other than that: just try and enjoy it! I love the feeling of extreme cold in my face. It makes me feel alive!

  2. Inspired post. I live in London where it is freezing at the moment – so it’s great to see some inspiring cold weather looks! Love it.

  3. geisslein says:

    Oh my – it´s so so cold here in Germany! You really need warm clothes! Layering would be a good idea! Have a nice and safe trip. sunny greetings, geisslein

  4. deborah says:

    It is absolutely freezing here in the South of France ; I’ve never known it so cold in 26 years here!
    I never seem to take off my hat, and scarf and gloves. You need to wear lots of layers which you can hide under a long stylish coat.
    Hope you have fun!

  5. Becky says:

    DO NOT COME HERE. hahaha it is bitterly cold at the moment, all I wanna do is stay in bed to keep warm and out of the wind/snow. Although snoods, woolly hats, gloves, cashmere jumpers are always awesome. It gets pretty wet here sometimes so if you have wellies you should bring them.

  6. Christine says:

    Since moving to Berlin, the big problem I’ve had in these freezing temperatures has been keeping my feet warm. Even with a good pair of leather boots, my feet won’t stay warm unless I’m wearing thick wool socks. I swear by them.

  7. Meg says:

    The key to cold weather: layering! And lots of good quality wool! I live in Vermont where it’s often very, very cold – this morning, it was 7 degrees and that’s not including the windchill. But if you layer – think camisole/tank, long-sleeve tee, thin sweater, heavier sweater, good quality coat with scarf, hat and mittens – you will not only be warm but cozy and comfortable! A hat is very important – most of one’s body heat escapes from one’s head (believe it or not), so a hat is key to staying warm. It’s not uncommon to see Vermonters wearing their hats indoors… Good luck!

  8. Misss_Marta says:

    Having survived winter in Minnesota I daresay that this year’s winter in Europe is not that harsh. Yes, it is chilly here (I shuttle back and forth between Wroclaw, Poland and Berlin, Germany) but layering will do the trick (remember to wear wooly tights, even if you’re wearing pants). For extra stylish look I wear fake fur muff and a fedora. As most of the time it is super-sunny here, I also wear lots of sun block (by Avene) and my lovely violet Delice des Fleurs lip gloss by L’Occitane-cold weather is no reason not to look great! Smiles!

  9. Susan says:

    Ugg Boots! (as well as their new earmuff). Having grown up in Canada and spent time in Europe during winter – Ugg boots, even though not attractive, have saved my toes from freezing on many occasions.

  10. Cate says:

    Layers! And fun winter accessories like scarves and mittens and hats. Since you’re packing for a trip, pick your favorites that match the most outfits :-) Scarves are my favorite, because I feel warmer when my neck is warmer, if nothing else changes. Oh, and good warm socks are important.

  11. Well, based on the three outfits you posted I would say they are all too cold!
    In Denmark we are just reaching 0 degrees if we are lucky in sunshine and no wind.

    It is all about layers, for the outside cold and the dry warm inside – think jeans with knitted socks as leg warmers and boots, tank top under a blouse with a cardigan, and then a warm coat or faux fur. Add a big scarf and ear warmers or a hat – AND GLOVES or mittens! Otherwise your fingers will fall off – or feel like they will.

    Remember a good moisturizer for both face and hands, the richest hand cream you can find will work well for face too, and lip balm. Possibly serums and oils will do you good since you are not used to the cold.

    And even though they are ugly as H***, if you have a pair of UGGs they would be perfect.
    Otherwise, try to look at stylegallery.com, a Danish street style website (but beware, Fashion Week is just off so there may also be all the wannabies and fashion victims freezing to look ‘chic’) in case you want to ‘blend in’ more.

    I hope you will have a nice (and warm) trip.

  12. Susan says:

    As I recall, it was very cold here in DC when you visited for the Inauguration. Like that:)

    • Tina says:

      It was so cold in DC at that outdoor concert! I thought my toes were going to fall off. I’m definitely getting better socks! And yes, Uggs!

  13. Have you seen this?
    http://hipparis.com/2011/12/29/paris-winter-fashion-the-girls-of-montmartre/
    My family and I faced the same problem when packing for a trip East this Christmas, a holiday full of visiting friends and family from NYC to Connecticut, Massachusett and Vermont. We wanted to look cool in NYC and stay warm in Vermont! Not an easy task. The key, as Meg say,s is layering! To that I would add you need a good hat that you’re not ashamed to wear, a warm coat, wool socks (REI is a good source) and BOOTS. Here in L.A. I find boots almost too warm, but in colder climes they are a necessity. I don’t know about the Uggs, however. They’re not waterproof and I don’t think Parisians (or New Yorkers for that matter) consider them street wear for anyone over 17. I would try for something leather and water resistant. Something you could wear here, also, but while you’re there will get you everything but the deepest snow drifts. If you are really caught in real, serious snow you may have to seek out some real snow boots wherever you are, but carrying them around in case of snow is kind of a pain. Also, a pair of very thin, thinsulate-type long underwear (Big Five or REI) or wool tights would not be a bad idea. We Californians have very thin blood and something you can slip on under your jeans can save the day!
    Have a great trip!

    • Tina says:

      Yes! Wool socks! In fact any sort of sock. I just realized that it’s been awhile since I wore socks…Not sure if I have a matching pair…

  14. uggs definitely, and canada goose jackets are good…a cute hat, lopard print scarf, and mittens

    • Mayrozez says:

      Be sure to take a long enough coat. I often think I can get away with a shorter, easier-to-manage jacket-y coat, as long as there’s room for layers underneath. But if it doesn’t come down to my knees, the wind and cold are pretty unforgiving. I invested in a very sleek (if down can be sleek) down coat for my trip east this holiday (after having already sprung for an adorable, vintage, 3/4 length faux fur) and it was the smartest thing I packed. No regrets. (And I’ve been enjoying the faux fur back here in So Cal, even though it hasn’t been very cold!)

  15. Maria says:

    I leave in Amsterdam, and it’s freezing cold here! Take definitely a
    pair of uggs, couple of long jones if you have to wear under your jeans or pant,  a warm hat, a pair of warm gloves and a jacket or coat! If not you can always found nice ones at Zara! Have a great trip!

  16. Diana says:

    I would echo the advice of previous commenters to wear layers. Mastering layering was what got me through a particularly cold winter in Yorkshire. I think it’s especially helpful wearing more than one pair of socks with boots. Keeping toes warm helps so much!

  17. Katie says:

    Layers!
    They are the best way to survive. I also recommend (like someone else did already) long underwear or sweater tights under pants. It’s a really good way to keep warm. Long, wide scarves are great, too, as you can wear them as shawls indoors or pull them up around your ears for an extra bit of warmth.

  18. Tina says:

    Thank you everyone for the wonderful advice! I was actually thinking about bringing my mom’s long mink coat. It’s vintage, does that make it ok? PETA probably wouldn’t approve but my other alternative is a puffy down coat that makes me look like the Michelin Tire Man! My friend Elaine in Paris also suggested a North Face fleece jacket under the coat…

  19. Claire says:

    As a Canadian, I chuckled at the photos you posted. Those women are *not* dressed for cold weather. If there is snow, you need treads on your boots so you don’t slip and fall. They need to be waterproof, too. You will be grateful for a hat that covers your ears, for a cozy scarf and mittens. The key is to not let any air in to your outfit! Leave no gaps and you’ll be fine. And I agree with the other posters that have stressed the rule of thumb of layering. So key! Grab some Patagonia base layers–they’re really the best, and you’ll have no trouble finding them in California. Have a nice trip!

  20. Lily says:

    Hello Tina! Just like you, I am traveling from Southern California to somewhere freezing cold, so thanks for putting this post up! Reading the comments helped me better prepare for my trip to South Korea in the next couple weeks. It’s not Europe, but the weather there is just as cold as Europe. :) Hope you have a fantastic time in Paris!

  21. Susan says:

    Layering is a must! And seal it up! That is, tuck the layers in, at least the inner most, if not like shuffling cards. The worst is belly draft!

fin.
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