Winter Styling Tips

If you live in a colder climate, your winter coat may be the garment people see you wearing most often. When you want to elevate that look, there are a few tips we can use to look more polished.

Color – We often wear darker colors in winter, but remember to keep the variety to a minimum. Wearing too many colors at once might make your outfit feel too busy. I often wear one dark color from top to bottom and then use scarves, a jacket, or my full-length coat to provide contrast.

Keep It Simple – It may look outdated if your colorful coat or jacket has a fur collar and puffer style with zippers and ties. A minimal style with sleek lines and a solid, rich color will be timeless and elegant. Another benefit is that it will elongate.

Coat Size – If your coat fits too close to the body, it will feel constricting when you layer it over knits or blazers. Try on a larger size to ensure room in the arm holes. Keep the details simple and look for elegant fabrics like wool, wool blends, or cashmere. A polyester lining may make you feel cold and clammy, not warm and cozy.

Lengths – Wear a skirt or dress about the same length as your coat. Too many contrasting layers and lengths always add width and make us look shorter.

Winter Bag – Consider wearing a leather or faux leather bag in a larger size to balance the volume of your winter coat. Your bag’s texture, proportion, and color can make you look more modern and put together.

Balance Volume – A bulky coat over a full skirt and chunky boots will make you look enormous. Keep the first layer sleek. For example, a pair of leggings with a plain sweater and pointed-toe knee-high boots in the same dark color, worn under your bulky coat, will look fabulous.

Use Accessories – Don’t forget hats, scarves, gloves and belts. These details can pull together your winter looks in unique ways.

In these photos, I am wearing a simple mock neck top here and plain knit black pants here. Similar short boots are here. The cashmere scarf in the remaining colors is here. Remember to keep the scarf away from your chin to keep it from overwhelming your face. Similar gloves and hat are here and here. The bag is here. My coat is here.

The styling tips I shared today are some of my favorites, and I keep them in mind even if I’m only running out to do errands. Shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  1. This is just the post I needed! I’ve been meaning to replace my winter coat for about THREE years (thanks, Covid!) and your tips are just what I needed to get me motivated to get it done. On Friday I’m going to take the bull by the horns and do some intentional coat shopping in an area where I can visit several stores until I find what I need. I will definitely look for some accessories to go with my coat, since some accessories to change things up will be less expensive than multiple coats and take up less storage space. And I can use them with jackets I already have. The tip on going for a larger bag is a great one, because like you said, it will balance a heavier coat AND it could hold small packages while I’m out shopping.

    Susan, you always share such great insights into the best choices! Thank you!

  2. Love this color combo and use it myself. I’ve been watching other bloggers that talk about “quiet luxury”. They seem to always use creams and ivory colors which I do not think flatter those of us with cool skin tones and white/gray hair. Do you have examples of how we could create similar quiet luxury looks that you could share with us? I tend to shy away from wearing ivory and very light colors due to so easily getting them soiled.

  3. Classic looks will always be right no matter the occasion. Miss Alice is right, the creams and ivories do not flatter us “silver” girls. Personally I think gloves are a must as shivering and chapped hands are not chic.

  4. I love this! What size coat did you purchase. I am 5’5″ and weigh 155. I’m thinking a large might be good.

  5. You look absolutely fabulous in your new coat. Wool is not so great in the rain here in the Pacific Northwest. I rarely wear my wool coat, because my trench is more practical for our constant rainy weather. But I sure love the look! The information applies to a trench coat too. You always think through the proportions of all the things you are wearing. The idea of a larger purse makes sense and I probably wouldn’t have thought about that.
    We are finally settled in our downsized home, having just finished the guest bath remodel. I decided to keep my Christmas decorating simple. What a stress eraser that was. The tree is up, and our cards are out. Time to enjoy the season. Yay! You’ll do it in style, looking elegant as always!

  6. You always look healthy and your clothes are well thought out. So Classy. I live up here in NE Ohio and it gets cold here. I usually wear a black down coat with a hood. I won’t buy coats without hoods. You never know when it will snow or rain. I do try to dress up my black coat with scarves……. thanks for your blog.

  7. Love these tips and ideas. I live in Chicago and it can get down right bitter cold here and then fashion goes out the window most of the time. I have a lot of scarfs and gloves that add a pop of color or texture.

  8. I loved this post. The contrasting color of the gloves and scarf with the coat looks so smart. I think the longer coat length has a drametic effect on the rest of the look. Thank you for the great ideas!

  9. Off topic question…….
    Do you put the Shapeez bra on over your head or do you step into it and pull it up.
    It is comfortable but a real challenge to get it
    “in place”.

    1. Step into the bra as you would put on pantyhose. Pull it up by the body, never the straps. Put your arms through the straps and adjust everything. I wear my pantyhose or undies over the waistband, and everything stays in place all day.

  10. I love all of your helpful tips. I am so happy you are both doing well health wise. Merry Christmas to you both.

  11. With the more current styles you have embraced, have you purged your closet/storage area, and can you give us some ideas? I always seem to be late to the party!

    Thank you for all you do to keep us confident and polished.

    1. Fashion shifts gears at the beginning of each decade. I noticed a trend toward tailored trousers, longer full-leg pants, and shorter tops a couple of years ago. So, I invested in a few pairs. I donated most of my longer shirts, tunics, and narrow, straight-leg jeans. The clunkier shoes and boots with a block heel or a platform are perfect for my style, and I find them comfortable, so I’ve added a few of those elements to my basics.

      I don’t always acknowledge or invest in trends, but I take advantage of their availability when they suit me.

  12. Your winter look is stunning for cold climates. I live in Florida and never need a heavy coat. I’ve found that wraps work well in this climate when I’m dressing up in chilly. Do you have any thoughts on styling with wraps? My everyday look in winter is long sleeve top with a vest or light down jacket Is that dated?

    1. I’m sure your look is not dated at all. We might not be able to think of an occasion when wearing a cashmere wrap such as this one would not be appropriate. Any color you like would add elegance while keeping you warm, no matter the venue.

  13. Hi Sue—I just got a notification for a catalog called “”Novica—they seem to have fashion, jewelry and housewares from all over the world. The reason I’m letting you know about it is because they had a large selection of wraps. There were wool, silk and cashmere—very, very pretty and very reasonably priced. I’ve ordered their catalog for myself as I enjoy a print version. Check them out.

  14. Always such good advice! Thanks again Susan!
    Ps: you look great, and your hairstyle is very flattering, along with the red scarf.

  15. I really like this post, and I especially like the way you styled your hair! Did you get it cut recently? It look wonderful. Thank you!

  16. Susan, I do not believe that I have ever criticized your fashion choices, but find myself doing so here. IMO your coat selection just doesn’t work for you. You are not tall enough to carry it off. Few are.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.