Cold Weather Wardrobe Essentials

A reliable winter coat is a no-brainer. But to really outsmart the cold fronts, ready your closet with these.

The peaceful period of sunny days and cool nights as the season transitions from summer to fall is nice, but it's time to start planning cold weather survival. When the temperature drops – like, really drops – you're going to need to stay warm without bundling up so much that you look like Randy from A Christmas Story.

So stock your wardrobe with these weather-fighting garments, and you'll stay warm and look slick as you fight off the cold streets and chilly nights.

Trim-Fitting Sweatshirts

Layering is your first line of defense against cold weather. But while piling on wool sweaters will keep you toasty during a chilly day, you'll be sweating within ten minutes once you sit down at your meeting/lunch date/what have you.

Layering with a nice cotton sweatshirt as you mid-base, on the other hand, will keep you comfortably cozy and warm while not causing you to overheat. We like Archival Clothing's version, made from sturdy French terry with a slim fit that'd pair just fine with an oxford and jeans.

If you're feeling bold, try it underneath a blazer in lieu of a cashmere sweater for a casual-meets-formal look.

Insulating Innerwear

A good thermal shirt or pair of long underwear will lock in your body heat to keep you nice and toasty, despite being made of thin and lightweight fabric. Wear them underneath your outfit, and you'll be plenty warm in even the coldest conditions with nothing more than a lightweight topcoat and some simple jeans.

Alternatively, you could go with moisture-wicking innerwear, which will take care of the sweat you work up as you go from a hot, cramped subway to the freezing cold outdoors to an aggressively-heated office, all the while wearing heavy winter clothes.

Materials to look for include microfibers and polyester for fabrics that transport perspiration away from your body. Some also include anti-odor properties, which can be a lifesaver on the days when you forget to swipe on some antiperspirant.

Extra Thick Socks

For those days you just know staying warm is going to be a struggle, a pair of thickly-knit socks will make all the difference. And if you want to really get serious, get a pair that's made from an extra heavy wool blend.

When you're ankle-deep in a snow bank and suddenly realize that your boots are not nearly as waterproof as you thought they were, you'll be glad you thought your sock selection through.

Winter-Proofed Boots

Speaking of waterproof boots, make sure your pair can repel snow, road salt, and slush puddles by weather-proofing them with a quick coat of Sno Seal. It's a beeswax that helps keep the leather in good shape by absorbing into pores, then keeping moisture in and anything harmful out.

You should note, though, that a sno-seal will deepen the leather's color slightly. So only apply to boots that you wouldn't mind turning half a shade darker.

Down Vests

This should be your new go-to layering piece as soon as the crisp fall weather sets in, and clear through into the deepest chill of winter. Goose down is extraordinarily warm, and having some in vest form gives you tons of versatility.

Wear it over a sweater of denim jacket when it's not too chilly, then layer it underneath a heavy topcoat once it gets really cold for an extra insulating layer.

Wool Scarves

Whether you decide to wear a coat or not – some days all you really need is a cozy sweater – top your look with a scarf. Cotton ones make good year-round pieces, but an oversized wool version adds that touch of refinement and cold weather coolness that other fabrics just can't compete with.

Merino and cashmere, in particular, are extra insulating and soft, so scarves made out of the stuff will keep you warm without weighing you down.

Find one with a long enough length, and you can wrap it around several times to protect your lower face against bitterly cold winds.

With those, a proper cold weather grooming routine, and a few big batches of your favorite soup, you'll be ready to brave even the snowiest of winters.

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