Winter me is at least 70% less cute than summer me. My skin transforms into a dry, flaky desert, I’m seemingly always in the process of catching a cold, and I kind of give up on looking cute because my number one priority is to stay warm and alive so I can make it through this terrible time of year and see the sun once again.
But this year, I’m challenging myself (and you!) to fight the frump. Winter means more layers and clothes, which means more possibilities for creating cute looks!
Here are four tips to take your winter outfits from “I am doing my best to not just be a human popsicle” to “I am embracing life’s challenges and THRIVING!”
Tip #1: Polish it off with a chic coat.
The easiest way to look polished and powerful even though you could barely pull yourself out of your bed this morning is to top off your outfit with a chic winter coat.
I’m gonna be real here—it’s really expensive to buy an ethically made winter coat, so my first suggestion would be to check out your secondhand options first. I’ve had great luck finding coats in the thrift shop, like the coats I’m wearing here.
Everlane also makes a great cocoon coat that’s “relatively” affordable compared to the other ethical options out there, which can cost more than your cross-country plane ticket home for the holidays! Reformation has some really cute options as well, including trendy teddy coats and classic long coats.
Another, very warm and surprisingly stylish outerwear option is the puffer jacket. Yup, the marshmallow silhouette that you thought was only cute when you were five is now all the rage with your favorite Instagrammers and YouTubers, so take advantage of this Christmas miracle! Check out Everlane’s ethical puffer jackets or Patagonia’s traceable down jackets.
Tip #2: Layer it on in fresh and surprising ways.
Unexpected layering like dresses over pants and anything over turtlenecks has been “on trend,” and throwing seasonally inappropriate clothing over an otherwise typical winter outfit is just weird enough to make people think you really know what you’re doing with your style, and maybe your life.
Here, I’m wearing a leopard print slip dress that I bought a few years ago—good thing animal print doesn’t go out of style!—over a striped turtleneck paired with over-the-knee boots. They’re all fast fashion items bought before I committed to sustainable and ethical fashion, but at least I’m getting a lot of wear out of them.
Try a silk cami (from Everlane, from Reformation) or a velvet tank (Reformation) over a slim-fitting turtleneck sweater or long-sleeve tee, or pair your favorite heels with socks for a warm yet sexy winter look!
Tip #3: Beat the winter blues with a pop of color.
It seems like the cold temperatures and gray skies make people want to wear black, gray, and more black. While I love neutrals as much as the next person, sometimes all it takes is a pop of color to add warmth to a dreary winter day.
In the outfit on the left, I’m wearing an orange chunky sweater knit by yours truly from a kit by Wool and the Gang (details here), color blocked with red jeans. If you’re not down to knit your own, I love this red Everlane sweater.
Another easy way to add color is through your accessories. I popped on a cute rust-colored beret in the outfit on the right, which both made my look cuter and my ears warmer. Try a cozy beanie or scarf in a fun color.
Tip #4: Over-the-knee boots!!!
Over-the-knee boots are AMAZING at keeping your legs warm, but also look super stylish with any outfit! I like throwing them over skinny jeans, leggings, or tights for ultimate warmth or rocking them with skirts and dresses when I want to pretend it’s spring but also not freeze my legs off.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any ethical brands that make over-the-knee boots…but let me know in the comments if you do! I bought mine from Asos (similar here) before I began my sustainable and ethical fashion journey, but I’ve gotten so much wear out of them that I think it was a good purchase.
Alright, now go forth and conquer winter! Let me know if you try any of these tips or if you have your own winter styling secrets in the comments.