Even when there's a snowstorm, even when it's colder than Mars, choosing an outfit each day is a fact of life. Being a native Minnesotan, I've had lots winter months to figure out how to survive a polar vortex with all my toes and some style. This post is my guide to keeping warm - and even a bit chic - when it's well below freezing.
1. Build a Base
A good base layer works for both sub-zero-daily life and ski-trip, ice-skating, snowman-building life. Start your collection with a top, leggings, and socks. Bonus: doubles as loungewear when you get home and peel off all your other layers. Are you eating pot pie by the fire? I hope so.
2. The Art of Layering
Whatever you're about to put on, you should probably wear something underneath. Insulate your chunky sweater with a button-up, or layer a turtleneck under a not-so-weather-appropriate top. Re: Pants --wide-leg styles are perfect for layering and coziness; wear skinny pants as tights under a skirt or dress. Invest a little time in creative layering with your clothes. A cropped sweater over a dress with fleece-lined tights and tall boots is so much more fun to wear than jeans and a knit.
3. Frost Yourself*
When you're wearing approximately one thousand things to stay warm, it can be all too easy to skip the fun, non-vital stuff. Stack on some bracelets or wear earrings that make you feel like you're on a beach. Tie a neck scarf on under your polar vortex parka, carry an interesting handbag, add a belt over a coat.
*yes, this 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' line will live forever.
4. Choose Good Boots
Depending on the weather, you might be able to get away with a patent Oxford or ankle boots - but you'll still want to be prepared for all the elements. Sorels are the best winter boots around, though I also love my Moon Boots for snow, wellies for slush, and over-the-knee boots for dry & windy days. PSA: thigh-high boots & a base layer are my answer to "How do you wear dresses and skirts in the dead of winter?"
6. Top With a Coat or Two
Fashion and practicality, together at last. You know you need to wear a coat, but maybe you should wear two? Layer a jacket - or another coat - under your outermost layer. I regret to inform you that if it is truly, deeply cold, you need a parka. Try to find one that doesn't make you feel like a walking sleeping bag, or just embrace the giant-puffer-coat trend.
7. Head, Hands, Neck
It might seem like an afterthought at this point, but I promise you will feel so much warmer if you add mittens, a hat, and a scarf. I generally prefer mittens to gloves, pom-pom hats to beanies, and fluffy ear muffs to almost anything else. Try to find a scarf that's big enough to wrap around your shoulders, or at least completely cover your neck and pull up over your nose.