What to Wear in The Winter: An Island Girl’s Guide

what to wear during the winter

For the past three days, snow and ice have hit Washington, D.C. well ahead of winter’s scheduled December 21 arrival.

As I looked out the window at the snow falling today, I was reminded of a time when, as an island girl new to this city, I got cold-weather fashion and beauty all wrong. Think unflattering layering, cracked lips, and ashy skin. Sigh.

But after practice and trial by error, it’s been much easier balancing looking cute with beating the cold. If you’re new to wintry weather and want quick tips, here are my recommendations on how to dress for winter, plus a couple beauty and skincare must-haves.

1. Fleece-lined tights


Symone, Lipsticks and Round Tips blogger, was the first person to introduce me to fleece-lined tights. They are opaque, lightweight and oh so warm. Thanks to fleece-lined tights, I have been able to make my spring/summer dresses, shorts and skirts winter friendly, a plus when you’re on a budget. Get them at Urban Outfitters (2 for $22). Also check T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s, where I’ve scored a pair for as low as $5.99.

2. Snug Layers

how to layer clothes in the winter

Over time, I’ve learned the importance of wearing snug layers but only after buying too many ill-fitting things. Here’s a tip: Beware thermal underwear that don’t fit smoothly under clothing. And no, thicker is not always better. In fact, I’ve found that the secret to layering clothing in the winter is in camisoles, tees and tanks that contour to my body shape. I’ve had the best luck finding these in the basics section at H&M. Shop online.

3. A warm coat

warm winter coat

Yes, emphasis on warm. For a long time, I didn’t know how to choose a coat for winter. But I’ve learned that a down-filled coat is almost always warmer and more lightweight than the polyfill version. And when it comes to less casual coats, a wool coat always keeps me toastier than most other fabrics. No matter how cute a coat looks or how affordable is, always check the tags for fabric descriptions before buying.

4. Practical gloves


For a while, gloves were the winter accessories I needed to have but hated to wear. It was a constant game of gloves-on-gloves-off to take money out of my purse, use a touchscreen phone, or enjoy street-side food. So imagine my delight when I discovered fleece-lined Isotoner smarTouch gloves. I got mine at Macy’s last winter for around $25 after coupons. My life has never been the same.

5. Lip care


Repeat after me. All lip balms were not created equal. I’ve had run-ins with some that left me with a painful, unsexy, unsightly, peeling pout. My advice for choosing the best lip balm for winter? Ensure it contains Vitamin E; jojoba oil is a plus, too. Also, it might just be me but its seems like unscented and unflavored varieties work best. My favorites are eos and Nivea, which are both under $5.

6. Water


I would love to blame all my cracking-lip issues on poor lip balm selection but I can’t. Sometimes, it’s been my negligence in hydrating properly. Since my interview with skincare expert Dr. Lesley Reece, I’ve been so much better about it. And what a huge difference 64 oz a day makes! As I type, I’m celebrating smoother lips and clearer skin.  Winning!

7. AmLactin

amlactin - best lotion for extremely dry skin

I’ve written about this product before and I’m writing about it again. My love for AmLactin is real. I’ve tried everything, including other similar medical-grade brands but this has been the best lotion for extremely dry skin. It’s not oily, heavy or messy. It just gets the job done. You’ll find it at select pharmacies and stores between $15 and $20 for the medium size. Don’t worry; it’s worth every penny. Find out where to buy.

2 thoughts on “What to Wear in The Winter: An Island Girl’s Guide

  1. Thank you for the mention! I stocked up on more tights from Primark during my recent trip to London so your UK/European readers can check there and Next as well :)


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