‘Tis the season of Christmas shopping, frosty walks and winter minibreaks (at last!), but you need a winter wardrobe of reliable basics if you’re going to make the most of these colder months. Whether you’re wandering locally or heading overseas, have these winter wardrobe essentials close to hand and you’ll be travel-ready in an instant.
Your Adaptable Winter Wardrobe Ingredients
- 2x winter coats – one long and resilient, and one short, lightweight and fun
- 3x knitwear – a draped cardigan, a slim-fit jumper, and a knitted dress
- 1x black skinny jeans or jeggings
- 2x thermal tops – one long-sleeved, one tank top or vest
- 1x smart camisole
- 1x pleated or patterned skirt
- 1x thermal leggings and 1x 100-200 denier tights; 1x fleece insoles for shoes
- Accessories: 1x blanket-style scarf or wrap, 1x gloves, 1x winter hat, 1x skinny waist belt, 1x statement necklace
- 1x flat knee-high boots or ankle boots
- 1x water-resistant trainers (e.g. leather, PU leather or waxed cotton)
The City Break
Drape the scarf over a knitted dress (I love this metallic khaki dress by JD Williams) and secure it with the skinny belt, à la Burberry circa 2014, for a stylish lunch date. Alternatively, team it with the jumper, skirt and trainers for a low-key adventure. Heels are great for evenings out, but not so useful for active breaks, so check your itinerary before you pack those stilettos. Your pair of knee-high boots or ankle boots act as a smart alternative.
If the weather plays ball, show off your short coat. I’m a fan of leopard print because it goes with everything – grey, khaki, navy, you name it – but you might prefer mink (not real mink, obvs), blush pink or black. You could also embrace this season’s shearling or military jackets.
The Outdoor Microadventure
Whether you’re carol singing, crunching through leaves or walking along a frosty coastal path, you don’t need to don a 90s fleece and ancient trousers to meet the occasion. Stick to your personal style with a few practical tweaks: put the thermal top under your draped cardigan and add some fingerless gloves. Choose machine washable items and you can cope with the odd stray snowball or muddy puddle incident. Add wellies as required (a pair of high shine or matte Hunter boots if your budget can stretch!) and enjoy.
If you’ll be outside all day or night, slip tights underneath jeggings for extra warmth. Of course, a hat is essential, and there are some brilliant knitted beanie hats around at the moment that take up barely any room when they’re not in use. Again, go for double layers if necessary, as a thin knitted headband will fit under your beanie for extra cosy ears.
The Christmas Shopping Trip
Your boots come into their own when you’re pounding the pavements in the final weeks before Christmas. If you’re aiming to try on lots of clothing (because who can resist buying themselves a treat along the way?!), wear an outfit you can change in and out of easily, like the knitted dress, statement necklace and leggings, rather than trying to wriggle out of skinny jeans. Hoping to try on shoes? Bring a pair of pop socks with you, to avoid sweaty winter feet.
Thermal leggings and a thermal top are crucial for exploring outdoor Christmas markets; some of the best markets in the UK include Edinburgh and York. Overseas, choose from the likes of Lille, Munich, Prague and Riga. There’s still time to bag a late deal on a Christmas market break, so don’t rule it out for 2016. Keep your hands warm during these shopping sessions by donning some classic leather gloves, and treating yourself to hot cider.
The Northern Lights Holiday
Now’s the time for a few added winter wardrobe ingredients: walking boots, waterproof over-trousers and instant gel hand warmers. The over-trousers are ideal for Northern Lights excursions or for a whale watching boat trip, but you can ditch them for indoor activities like museum visits.
As for your trusty coat, don’t forget that padded puffer jackets are in fashion this season – like the branded Puffa jackets of old, but cooler. Alternatively, parkas are still in demand. With either option, styles from travel brands like Regatta, Craghoppers and Tog 24 are showerproof or waterproof. Pick a colour you’ll wear beyond your holiday, like navy, teal or black. On evenings when you’re not chasing the lights, go slightly more glam, but remember warmth remains key. Layer the camisole over the long-sleeved thermal t-shirt, for example. Keep your scarf to hand to use as a pillow on the flight home.
Now you’re all kitted out with winter wardrobe essentials, don’t forget to tweet me your stylish adventure plans.
Disclaimer: This blog post was written in collaboration with JD Williams. I only collaborate with brands that fit with my readers’ interests, and this is decided on a case-by-case basis.