This year, many hosts are turning to outdoor event planning to protect the health and safety of their guests. Outdoor, socially distanced activities and get-togethers are the best way to maintain our social connections as we navigate this challenging year together. At the same time, we’re used to leaving our women’s winter coats in a pile on the guestroom bed at most winter parties. If you’re wondering how to style outerwear for outdoor events, we’re here to help. Let’s talk about how to elevate your outerwear from practical cold-weather garments to charming ensembles! And remember that you need complementary masks for all of your looks!
You’ll need a variety of basic outerwear pieces to create different looks. Start with a fleece jacket, puffer vest, a puffer coat, a dressier wool coat and a parka. As you add to your outerwear wardrobe, consider that when you attend outdoor activities or events, your coat or jacket becomes your outfit. You may have worn your very favorite cashmere Fair-isle sweater, but everyone you meet will only see your cold-weather gear. With that in mind, think about going with something other than basic black or neutral navy. Emerald green, bright pink and cornflower blue are vibrant, fun colors that play well with many different hues.
After you nail down your core outerwear pieces, consider some extras that will elevate your cold weather looks. If you want to style your outerwear for cold-weather events, have you considered wearing a cape or poncho instead of a jacket? Capes happen to be trending right now! What about a lined tweed blazer in place of a coat? You probably already own one. A long cardigan-style piece made of boiled wool or cozy fleece rather than a puffer? It’s a soft, comfy alternative. Pieces like these offer protection similar to that you get from light-to-mid-weight coats and jackets, especially when layered, and show off more of your personal style!
You will need at least one basic hat/scarf/gloves combo, though I suggest two. If something gets lost or is soaking wet when you want to wear it, you’ll find a backup set is well worth having. These are your everyday workhorse pieces. Make sure they can be worn with all of your coats and jackets. Next, splurge on a few special, and especially attractive, cold-weather accessories to lend your outerwear charm. A monogrammed cashmere scarf, a cute beanie with a fur bobble, elegant leather gloves, or trendy leopard-print earmuffs are all great options—consult only your own taste and wardrobe to decide what little grace notes will add flair and personality to your outerwear ensembles. Almost every style of glove is now available with smart-touch technology so you don’t have to answer your phone with your nose (an embarrassing personal example), so they should probably all be upgraded this season, anyhow.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go further with cold-weather accessories. Boot cuffs and leg warmers add another layer as well as a lot of style. Wear a regular shawl over your coat or a beautiful winter scarf tucked inside. Instead of a plain fleece or wool beanie, try on a fedora, cloche or beret. You will never know what helps you look and feel your best until you try out new styles!
Did your grandma wear a special themed brooch on her coat over the holidays? Channel that vibe in a contemporary way! A brooch on your coat is a great first step, and as you get more comfortable with using fashion accessories with your cold weather gear, consider other options, such as: pinning a brooch to your hat, wearing a sweater-catch or a pin to hold a cape closed or shawl in place, wearing a fashion scarf in place of a winter scarf (silk is especially good for this), and wearing a belt over a long wrap to create a cloak. The possibilities are practically endless if you’re willing to experiment! Consider adding vintage or vintage-inspired pieces, such a muff and turban set. Sure, it’s a bit over the top, but if not now, when? Check out masks, too, since you’ll definitely want them to complement rather than detract from the outerwear ensembles you create.
Let’s pretend you’re attending a neighborhood fire-pit party in place of the annual holiday cocktail party. It’s early December, and the temperature will be just above freezing. You know there will be a good fire and perhaps patio heaters, as well as a spiked cider. Here, we list several possible ensembles depending on the atmosphere of your neighborhood and mood of the party:
Wear womens' long underwear and socks, topped with jeans and a sweatshirt or fleece popover. Wear your puffer jacket and complete your outfit with a beanie and gloves. We suggest an insulated hiking boot with this outfit.
Wear fleece-lined leggings with thermal socks and boots, paired with a cozy tunic-length fleece or sweater. For outerwear, choose a long puffer, perhaps with a faux-fur lined hood. Accessorize with a bright scarf and gloves.
Wear thermal underwear and socks under skinny jeans and cute women’s winter boots or booties. Wear a sweater of wool or cashmere, topped with a fashion scarf tied around your neck. Top this with your puffer and accessorize with a cute hat and gloves. Leave your puffer unzipped enough to showcase your scarf.
Wear the same basic outfit from “Snappy Casual,” but choose a cashmere winter scarf instead. Tie it so that it comes up to your jawline and frames your face. Accessorize with sophisticated leather gloves and a beret-style hat featuring a sparkly brooch.
We’re looking at a long, cold winter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep socializing, as long as we do so safely. Safely means, masked up, physically distanced and outdoors, so prepare your outerwear wardrobe for more cold-weather activities and events, and style yourself so that you look and feel your best as you greet your friends in warm, stylish outerwear ensembles that show your great style as well as your good sense.