Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Illustration by Valery Perez

Winter style options that are functional and fashion-forward

By Aymen Sherwani, November 20 2021—

For Canadians, one of the hardest things to deal with every winter is balancing warmth and style when it gets too cold to even function outside. When it comes to choosing warmth, you pose the risk of walking out of your house looking like the living incarnation of the Michelin Man. While I’m personally from the school of thought that believes “a hoe never gets cold” — and choose to dress like it’s 10 degrees Celsius when it’s actually -20 degrees Celsius with a windchill — not everyone is built different.

Your best bet to stay warm is to invest in materials designed to achieve that purpose like sherpa, cashmere, wool or faux fur — just to name a few — so your layers are minimal, and you aren’t sacrificing style for functionality. Below are some options to prevent you from looking bulky when styling your layers.  

Outerwear:

While Canada Goose down jackets are cold-weather essentials in Canada, plucking feathers off geese and stuffing them inside a puffer-lining is like — as Grimes would say — “really not a vibe.” Warmth and style both don’t need to come at the expense of sustainability, so try and opt for vegan down jackets like the ones at NOIZE that are at a fraction of the cost and way less generic-looking too.

However, puffer jackets are bulky looking, and I would simply carry on my wool coat from fall into the winter season and layer a scarf and warmer materials underneath. Just make sure said coat is oversized so you can move around while wearing three or four layers underneath. 

Bottoms:

Legs don’t get as cold as other parts of your body, so don’t worry too much about freezing to death if leggings are the only thing you can fit into after nearly two years of a pandemic. I would opt for thin leggings as a base layer under any pair of wide-leg jeans or trousers when it’s really cold — which it no doubt will be this year.   

Footwear:

Timberland, UGG, and Dr. Martens are the holy trinity of winter footwear. But, if you ask me, wear whatever shoes you want, given that they have a good interior lining, grip and thick soles, but do not under any circumstances skimp out when buying a good pair of socks. Avoid cotton socks that add moisture to your feet and instead opt for a wool blend pair with moderate thickness because anything too thick will cut off your circulation.

I like to go on winter hikes, so I like wearing REI’s moisture-wicking hiking socks that prevent my toes from going blue by the time I reach the summit. Thank me later when you’re still able to feel your toes come late December. 

Accessories:

Picture this — it’s 7 p.m., you’ve just finished your midterm, and the train isn’t coming for another 22 minutes on a night that is likely below freezing. Staying out in the cold for long periods of time is a quick way to get hypothermia, so covering up your hands is the most important thing to consider — and you don’t need to wear those comical-looking, fingerless, polyester mittens to achieve that. Instead, opt for some sleek and affordable leather gloves that have a thermal lining. Style aside, you’re better off wearing leather gloves as many of them are touchscreen too. 
Scarves follow within the same vein as this.

To get that effortless Burberry look without breaking the bank, try to opt for a patterned blanket scarf from Just Cozy instead of your run-of-the-mill knit infinity scarf from 2014. And when it comes to hats, beanies can be a hit-or-miss stylistic choice. Yes, you’ll probably stay warm, but at the risk of looking like a 2012-era coffee-snob hipster that has a moustache tattoo on their finger.

If you must, opt for a BHODE Scottish-knitted lambswool beanie that is ribbed and has a two-inch cuff hat that makes you look like a Swedish runway model when paired with a black overcoat. But if you have a round face like me and couldn’t be caught dead wearing one, I would recommend just pulling a wool beret over your ears and calling it a day.


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