The Right Layers to Keep You Warm This Winter

The temperature is dropping, and the bundling up is starting to become a real situation up here in Toronto. As the weather is getting colder, the time spent in areas not in direct access to the path or subway are slowly getting more and more limited. HOWEVER, there are a few layering tips/strategies to keep you super toasty this winter leaving you fearless to conquer the outdoor Christmas markets or the walk to brunch!

We’ve broken everything you need to know down, to make your winter shopping this season even easier!

The Art of Layering:

Unfortunately as the weather gets colder and colder, the amount of clothing that one needs to cover themselves with needs to increase. However, how you layer is going to make the difference between being SUPER uncomfortable and feeling like the Michelin Man, and being cozy even when outside. I’m going to divide your layering into 3 sections: Outer Shell, Outfit, and Undergarments.

Undergarments: These go on first!

This is the layer that is truly going to make the difference between being warm and comfortable and being freezing and feeling super bulky.

I always like to layer a pair of tights or long johns aka thermal leggings underneath whatever bottoms I am wearing. Even under a pair of leather pants or heavy denim, these make the difference in keeping your legs warm while walking outside!

The on top undergarments:

0 to – 5 degrees: Usually I’ll just throw on a t-shirt or a silk cami as it’s not super cold and I’m just throwing something on underneath my sweaters to keep them from being itchy!

– 6 to – 10 degrees: A long sleeve merino wool knit or a light cashmere sweater layered underneath a heavier sweater is what does the trick!

– 10 to – 20 degrees: I’ll usually throw on a long sleeve long john in addition to a silk cami! Long johns are meant to be worn during outdoor sports so they are SUPER warm and they are breathable!

-20 degrees to – 40 degrees: I’ll usually avoid going outside, but if I have to leave the house I’ll put a long john on underneath a cashmere sweater then through on my thickest knit!

The Outfit:

No matter what I usually will default to jeans, trousers or leather pants. They ensure you have maximum coverage from the wind and layer well with tights or long johns.

The sweaters I usually go for will depend on how cold it is outside. The colder the weather the thicker and heavier the knit gets, usually with a bigger turtleneck. My theory is that my biggest, fluffiest sweaters can have the most layers underneath them. The lighter the knit the more they will be layered with on top! I have a bunch of lightweight knit cotton/wool turtlenecks that I like to wear in the winter layered with capes, leather jackets, oversized scarves etc.

The Outer-layers:

I feel there are three types of weather that determines what you wear as your coat choice. The first type of weather would be cold, but not windy, the second type of weather would be very cold and the final type would be rainy but cold.

Cold Without Wind: This is the weather that I usually find most comfortable to wear a wool coat/cape/poncho in. It’s just enough to keep you insulated in addition to your temperature appropriate layers, while ensuring that as you are walking or commuting you aren’t completely overheating in a puffer coat.

Very Cold: This is what I would determine as any winter day below -5 with windchill. The wind has a tenancy to cut through even the heaviest wool coats, so these are the days when the parka gets pulled out. Depending on the weather you typically see in your city I’d opt for a jacket certified for the coldest weather possible. Unfortunately in Toronto, that means that I usually end up looking for a coat that is certified to -30 or -40… yes it can feel that cold PLUS I’m a wimp and am cold all the time. The right parka + the right layers for the weather are the ONLY thing that gets me to leave the house.

Rainy But Cold: These are those weird days when the weather is calling for both rain and snow, so you’re not ever quite sure what to expect. I’d always opt for light layers suitable for around freezing (the temperature, not what happens to me when I walk outside) and, a puffer jacket that has a hood and is water resistant or proof. Puffer jackets are super warm and very light making them ideal for those in-between days when you need to be able to put on or take off layers as the weather demands.

I hope you guys have enjoyed my guide on how to layer to keep you warm and toasty this winter!



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