Thursday, June 20News For London

Winter blues, red-hot style: a Londoner’s guide to cold weather dressing

With temperatures plummeting to below freezing in the capital, Londoners are likely to prioritise function over form when getting dressed this week.  

But winter need not sentence us to becoming puffer-clad Michelin men. For many fashion mavens, colder weather is the perfect excuse to layer up, layer on an extra accessory (or three) and go bold with makeup.

We spoke to students on the University of Westminster’s Harrow campus, who were adamant that the chill would not curb their sense of style.

Yelia and Echo (@ech0ech0echo). (Credit: Holly Munks)

Yelia and Echo presented their expert take on cosy chic. Building on a base of thermals, they layered up statement knitwear, which proves that warmth and style are not mutually exclusive. As Echo pointed out, a boring winter ensemble is easily cheered by “some light colours like orange [or] yellow.” 

Neon florals. (Credit: Holly Munks)
Dazzling denim. (Credit: Holly Munks)

Echo’s bedazzled denim elevated the humble staple, showing us how jeans can rival the shiniest Christmas décor. The outfit was grounded by a pair of fluffy slippers – take note, in case you thought comfortable footwear has to be boring.

More stylish students in Harrow. (Credit: Holly Munks)

Don’t underestimate detailed denim: a chain hanging from your belt loops brings an edge to the simplest look.

For holiday parties, add texture with pearls and velvet. Classic tartans are at home by the fire, and a mini skirt plus knee-high socks is a failsafe combination. If you prefer dresses, invest in an extra thick pair of tights.

Another student’s tip: “If you just have a dress and a big jacket, you either [wear] the jacket or are cold”. Instead, consider an interim layer like a shrug or bolero underneath your outdoor coat. This will add warmth and interest – one and done. 

Luxury details in pearl and velvet. (Credit: Holly Munks)
You can never break the chain… but you can break the mould. (Credit: Holly Munks)

Kate (@katiemdryan) and Sonya (@sonyaa_sh) (Credit: Holly Munks)

Kate and Sonya served up casual glam with a vintage touch. Sonya layered a long sleeve under a colourful corset, accentuated black leather trench with the classic “pop of colour” in the form of accessories.

Kate recommended looking into vintage for a unique take on cold weather classics; she raved about Willesden Green’s charity shops. She told us: “They’re God”. Like Sonya, she personalised her look with a jade bracelet and sentimental necklace.  

Popping with colour. (Credit: Holly Munks)
Personal touches. (Credit: Holly Munks)

If all else fails, a puffer jacket is easy armour against the cold. But second-hand shopping offers a wealth of options. Quality outerwear in materials like wool, cashmere, shearling, leather and faux fur are some of the priciest items on the market – but vintage stores will usually sell these pieces for a fraction of the price.

Portobello Road and Brick Lane are famous for their markets; visit on a Sunday, and you’ll be greeted with stalls overflowing with beautiful vintage coats. If you shudder at the thought of weekend crowds, Brick Lane Vintage Market is open seven days a week. It is an underground treasure trove and one-stop shop for your vintage needs, curated by a range of vendors. 

House of Vintage, Chesire Street, E2. (Credit: Holly Munks)
Brick Lane Sunday Market. (Credit: Holly Munks)

You can find charity stores and vintage boutiques across London, but heading further out, as Kate suggests, can be a good idea. Stores that see less visitors are not cleaned out of good pieces as quickly, and come with the added bonus of prices aimed at locals rather than tourists. 

When inspiration eludes you, remember that social media is flooded with accounts dedicated to sparking sartorial creativity. Try @londoners.style on Instagram, where people-watching meets lush photography.

(Credit: @londoners.style)

You can always surrender to the frost. As one of our Westminster students said: “It’s just a price to pay for slaying every day.” 

What really counts is the attitude you wear underneath it all.