How To Get Dressed When It’s Freezing Outside

By Bruna Volpi
27th Jul 2015

If at the moment you’re reading this you find your ass down in Sydney (as is mine), chances are you are freezing said behind off.

If instead you find yourself in Melbourne, you might have already lost the will to live (or the will to get out of bed, because no matter what chain of events you set in motion in the morning, sooner or later you’ll have to face the bathroom, and sh*t those tiles are cold). Sources have also promptly called me to inform me—and complain in length—about the cold weather affairs currently sweeping the sunshine state.

But although my butt, as yours, is freezing, what I have to say to you is boo-hoo, man up, and grow yourself some well-insulated balls. Of course we’re all exaggerating—this is ‘Straya after all, and cold as it may be, it doesn’t even begin to compare to the extreme subzero temperatures felt every year by our friends in the Northern hemisphere (who by the way have always managed to brave the chill while still maintaining stylish dignity, so really no excuses here).

Still, because fashion is so much more fun in Winter (think at least two to three more layers that you definitely do need, with all the potential shopping possibilities that follow), because the hyperbolic in each and every one of us can’t help but compare these harsh conditions to the latest trailer for Everest, and because a wool coat and thongs is not, and should never ever be a thing (trust me, I’ve seen it), here’s our cheat sheet on how to dress up when it’s freezing out, dedicated to those horrible days when your weather app cheerfully tells you that although it is in fact 10 degrees outside, it actually feels like zero.


The trick here is to dress in such a way that would make your grandmother proud. We’re talking turtleneck under grandpa cardigan here, because we’re cool, and when you’re cool you don’t give a flying eff about trying to be sexy.

Actually, if the mere mention of the word sexy doesn’t cause you a mild feeling of fright, anxiety, nervousness combined with a seemingly menopausal case of hot flashes, then you are not cool enough—sexy is trying too hard and cool, these days, is pretty much the exact opposite. In fact, if you are not constantly playing a game of trying to shock, disgust and/or offend your partner via sartorial birth control (eg: flares, turtlenecks, boyfriend jeans, mom jeans, dad jeans, Jesus sandals, mandals, loafers, grandpa cardigans, etc), then you are so definitely not cool enough.

Also, if you’re trying too hard to be sexy in the cold, chances are you are, well, cold. In short layer it up: everything is game, even thermals and bamboo tights under your jeans, depending on what level of cold we’re talking about. Natural fibres will keep you warm and let your bits breathe without adding bulk, which is why cashmere is the bomb and costs a bomb. Another bit of sage granny advice some may remember from the older days is that if your coat doesn’t cover your butt, it is not a coat. Listen to that kids, because that’s just golden.

1. Bassike Fisherman Rib Turtleneck Knit at Bassike

2. Acne Studios Raya Cardigan at Incu

3. Jac + Jack Bilbo Cashmere Sweater At Jac + Jack

Cover Your Extremities

Head, neck, hands, feet. If these things aren’t warm, then you my friend, likely are not. Some fashion experts may even go as far as to say that if you take care of the above, then you’ll even be able to brave the chill in not much more than a t-shirt, which may or may not be the secret to all those wintertime street style shots captured every fashion week in which the show-goer, sporting hat, elbow-length leather gloves and faux-fur stole, has only a sheer silk shirt on, and has also seemingly chosen to forgo pants.

Considering it’s currently eight degrees outside I’m not actually going out to test this theory, and would suggest you do the same. Gloves may be a bit annoying (unless your fingers are turning blue in which case they so are not), but hats are cool and gigantic scarves are just fabulous—nothing, I mean nothing that doubles as a blanket can compete for the coveted spot of the best thing in the world. They also give out a certain air of mystery as you casually flip them across your shoulders—unless you end up poking someone in the eye or you’re just trying to cover up your latest chin breakout because it’s Winter and your skin is probably dry as f***.

4. I Love Mr Mittens Billie Scarf at Incu

5. Bassike Wool Gauze Scarf at Bassike 

6. Clyde Pinch Hat & Gaucho Hat at My Chameleon

7. Jac + Jack Oversize Openweave Shawl at Jac + Jack

Layer Some More

The first rule of winter dressing is to cover up every visible inch of your body—one flash of skin, and you’re out. I don’t care how long you’ve worked to keep your tan, this is winter and, at least for once, let the pasty-legged rule.

Don’t try to pull off the Scandi vibe and go out in your thin wool jacket, unbuttoned blouse sans-bra, breezy culottes and loafers with no socks, because trust me, you, unlike them, are not acclimatised to perpetual weatherman doom. To avoid looking like you’ve dressed in the dark, and to emulate the all-European, high-class winter act, seize the opportunity to arrange your wardrobe by colour, then proceed to wear all of your favourite garments in one colour spectrum, all at once. Pose for a selfie, hashtag #50shadesofbeige.

8. Acne Studios Alden Short Black Oversized Jacket at Acne Studios

9. Ellery Sabel Starr Mid Length Coat at Ellery

10. Bassike Cotton Wool Side Split Sweat at Bassike 

11. Harris Wharf London Wool-Felt Coat

Proper Footwear

No thongs, no sandals, no open-toes. In fact, no toes at all, please. Let those piggies run wild and pedi-free, for the beauty of winter is the lesser upkeep. If we’re talking proper cold, let’s extend the ban to no loafers, and no canvas shoes either. And if your shoe is like a Gremlin and it can’t get wet, don’t wear it. I’m sorry, I’m doing this for your own good. I will have no sympathy when you come crying about how your brand new nude suede loafers got trashed in the rain.

12. Acne Studios Dion Black Boots at Acne Studios

13. Saint Laurent Blake Python-Effect Leather Ankle Boots

16. Maison Margiela Snake-Effect Leather Ankle Boots

15. Chloe Elastic Leather Ankle Boots at Maryon’s

14. Valentino Rockstud Ankle Boot at Miss Louise

Get Down

When everything else fails, forget your pretty wool coat.

I know it’s hard to keep it in the closet, all nice and elegant and not bulky at all, but if sh*t gets really cold, the only answer is down. As in, goose down, parka-style and padding, Michelin man-style.

Some may be able to withstand pain for the sake of sartorial good looks, but I for one do not advocate loss of limb for the sake of fashion. It may not look as shmancy as one of its slimmer, non-quilted and heavy siblings, but you’ll soon forget your ugly duckling’s lesser looks when you realise how toasty it is inside. All the perks of wearing your doona on your back, none of the stares you’d get if you actually walked out with your doona on your back—which I won’t judge you if you do, because man it’s cold, and fashion is for the brave. So welcome the Antarctic Vortex and buckle up my friends, this time winter really is coming. 

17. Maison Margiela Long Puffer Coat at La Garçonne

18. Acne Studios New Powder Parka at Acne Studios

19. Sacai Luck Layered Combo Coat at La Garçonne

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