It can often feel like you have to choose between looking stylish and being warm—however, there are some clever layering moves and insulating pieces that mean you don't have to decide whether you'd rather blue lips or a good outfit. To find out the best ways to stay stylish when it's bloody cold, we asked some of the best-dressed influencers from the coldest parts of the UK how they keep things interesting in the middle of a cold snap.
Last year Wendy from Thank Fifi, for example, kept posting outfit pictures on Instagram during the weeks of snow in Glasgow when many of us would probably have just worn a puffer coat and our cosiest boots. These ideas are more imaginative than simply wearing an extra layer of thermals—they told me how they use leather trousers, shearling insoles, vests, cut up your leggings and layer coats to put together an outfit that will withstand even the bitterest winter weather. Keep scrolling to see — and shop — these clever cold-weather layering tips.
1. Use Leather as a Hidden Base Layer
"I love skirts and dresses with leather leggings hidden underneath or over-the-knee boots," says Wendy of Thank Fifi, who is based in Glasgow. "You can just about keep your legs warm enough to get away with those unseasonable outfits. My go-to for cold weather is a midi dress layered with a high-neck top underneath, leather leggings, boots and a belt to cinch in the waist."
2. Put Sheepskin Liners in Your Shoes and Boots
Who What Wear's contributor Maxine Eggenberger is from Aberdeen, and she adds sheepskin liners to her shoes for extra warmth. "After falling in love with a pair of shoes that were typically sold out in my size, I opted for the next one up, deciding I would line them with insoles to bulk them out. That’s when I happened across sheepskin insoles, and my life was forever changed. Wool is magic stuff, and in insole form it keeps your feet the perfect temperature—not too hot, not to cold. I wear mine in boots, loafers and any heel that has a closed surround."
3. Teddy Bear Coats Are an Essential
Influencer Rachael Clifton has dressed her way through many icy winters through Durham and she says the key is cosy coats: "I am a bit of a coat enthusiast and have so many faux-fur and teddy options to style in the winter, which I think is key as that’s basically all people see of your outfit in winter. My go-to cold weather outfit would be chunky boots, a thick knit, jeans and a faux-fur coat."
4. Vests Are Your Friend
Manchester-based influencer Rosie says that her secret is vests. "To keep warm up north but not compromise on style, I own a LOT of vests! Under most outfits, I have both a vest and a T-shirt underneath. The trick is to tuck them in to keep that warmth in."
5. Invest in Your Thermals
"Merino wool thermals are a total Scottish winter hero—I love the ones from Icebreaker," says Wendy. She also says it pays to have fun with your styling: "It's important to think outside the box and consider layering things you wouldn't normally. I like layering a leather jacket under a coat or a shaggy cardigan or even two trenches on top of one another."
6. You Can Hide Extra Layers Under Midi Skirts
"One of my favourite looks this winter has been skirts and a big jumper with a pair of boots. I've discovered you can easily hide leggings under the skirt to give you a few extra layers and to stop you feeling cold," says Rosie. Maxine even cuts her leggings so that she can hide them under her skirts and dresses.
7. A Muted Colour Palette Makes Layering More Seamless
It can be hard to feel put together in winter with seemingly endless layers, however, Rachael uses colour to have a more put-together look: "I like to layer similar colours and stick to one palette, like rusts or beiges."
Influencer Alice Catherine also follows this layering rule, adding: "Playing around with tones from the same colour palette is always fun when layering too."
8. Wear Two Coats Instead of One
“Layering’s one thing but, when you’re standing in the 2 a.m. taxi queue in Aberdeen in February, you’ll need more than a roll-neck to keep the chill at bay," says Maxine. "I find two cover-ups do the trick. No, I’m not suggesting you wear two puffers atop of one another for your next night out. I am, however, suggesting that an oversized coat slung over a double-breasted blazer or pea coat looks suitably chic and will ensure you’re toasty, too.”
9. Have Fun With Small Accessories
"I've invested in a lot of accessories lately," says Manchester-based influencer Alice Catherine. "Things like scrunchies, hair clips and interesting bags. I find it's the best way to keep refreshing my outfits during the cooler months without having an overflowing wardrobe of pieces I don't need."
Next up, see our guide to the best winter coats.