I’ve lived in Colorado my entire life and it wasn’t till a year ago when I was 24 that I finally figured out how to dress for the winters here. As someone who likes to look nice wherever I go, I had a hard time wearing my warmest jacket when it didn’t look as nice with the ensemble. However, as I’ve fallen in love with the outdoors and now view comfort as important as beauty I’ve changed my ways, invested in pieces that are nice and warm and created a whole new outlook on what it means to get dressed up in the winter.
For those moving to Colorado or who just haven’t figured out the tricks of the trade when it comes to staying warm in the winter this blog post is for you. While the images below are a few of my winter warm outfits, they aren’t all of them. I keep a variety of jackets for a variety of occasions that happen often. This will, however, create a great starting point for you and help you figure out where you need to build, throw out or restyle your closet.
The number one jacket everyone needs (Male or Female) is a double-breasted peacoat. The peacoat is the perfect city/work coat and goes with absolutely everything. Get it in a black, gray or camel so that you can wear it with work close or casual wear. I wear this jacket when I know it’s going to be colder (usually upper 40’s or in the 50’s.) I walk 3 blocks to work each day and it’s perfect for looking professional and staying warm on those in-between days. (The broach I’ve added to this jacket lives on it and was my grandmothers.)
If you’re looking for a great, affordable peacoat I suggest starting at Old Navy or Nordstrom Rack. When it comes to your winter jackets you will be investing in them. Think anywhere from $100-$300 depending on how warm it’s supposed to keep you. I Bought my peacoat from old Navy over 10 years ago and it holds up great. Winter jackets are the types of pieces you’ll hold onto for years, so make sure you are buying good quality and the price will be worth it.
If you’re going to be outside for a while layers are your best friend. When I go snowshoeing, skiing or anything outdoors in the winter time I’m always sure to have 3-4 layers on. This is great for when you first start out and it’s cold, but as your body warms up from working out you can take layers off. I suggest starting with a t-shirt or tank top. Then I layer on a thermal long sleeve fitted shirt. On top of that is a fleece and then my winter jacket. My Northface fleece is probably one of my favorite winter wear. I use it for days I’m just hanging out at the house or to layer it with close when it’s super cold outside. It’s soft, it’s pretty and it’s oh so warm. If you don’t own a fleece I highly suggest getting a North Face one. I got mine on sale at Nordstrom Rack when I was planning a trip to the base camp of Everest.
When looking for brands for base wear, REI, Patagonia, Helly Hansen and Sierra Trading Post are all good places to start. They’ll range in price so it will give you options. I will say that with pretty much any of these brands what you pay will determine the quality. So if you invest a few more dollars now they will last you a lot longer than the cheaper clothes, so if you can afford it, always seek quality first!
While style and layers are important there are times when it’s just freezing outside and the most important quality you are looking for in a jacket is warmth. That’s where a down jacket comes in. My signature blue puffy down jacket is the lightest and warmest thing I own. I love having the long length that goes over my bum and the suckered sleeves that hold my gloves in. While I don’t often wear the hood, it’s there in case I forget a hat and just need something. If the temperature is under 40 for the day I am for sure bringing the jacket with me wherever I go. The only downside to these amazing jackets is they really can’t get wet. Down feathers take forever to dry meaning if it’s snow hard outside or it’s raining, this probably isn’t the jacket to be wearing.
(I found this jacket on sale through The Clymb app. – Here you can find amazing outdoor gear on limited time sales. It’s a great thing to have on your phone and check into every once in while to see if they have the gear you need for amazing prices. You can find The Clymb here – )
If the weather outside is wet and cold and your down jacket isn’t going to be able to stay dry then I turn to my ski jacket. I most often wear my ski jacket when I’m out in the snow, snowshoeing, sledding, or building snowmen with my niece along with my favorite snow pants. My Bonfire Ski jacket is great because it allows me to wear layers underneath, it’s got zippers under the arms for when it’s getting a little too hot and of course it keeps me dry. If you plan on living in Colorado and want to do anything in the outdoors you are going to want a good ski jacket. There are a million bells and whistles you can have on your jackets – pockets, zippers, waist cinching, etc. So you’ll want to figure out your needs and find the jacket that fits them. This is a jacket you’ll be spending a bit more on, think around $250+. But this jacket will be going with you on adventures, in all different weather types. You’ll want a good jacket that can keep up with you.
Now let’s talk winter accessories. There are 4 main accessories you are going to need. 2 different types of gloves, 1 hat or ear muffs and a neck warmer – gaiter or scarf. The best thing I learned in the last year was to have glove liners or driving gloves and then to have my snow gloves. I got a pair of fleece driving gloves from REI that has changed my life. Driving and walking to work is so much more pleasant without frozen fingers. And then I got Burton mittens to use out in the snow, also with liners, keeping me dry and warm no matter what I’m doing in the snow. I have a couple different beanies I wear, some for style and some for warmth. The beanies that are a looser knit are not nearly as warm as the tighter fit and knit hats. Make sure you get a hat that hugs your ears and keeps you nice and warm, it makes a HUGE difference. Finally, I have a million scarves, stylish and warm. I also got a fleece lined gaiter which makes a difference in two ways. The first is it keeps your neck a lot warmer than a scarf, there’s no way cold air is finding a way through. You can also shift the gaiter up to cover your mouth providing, even more, warmth when the air is just bitter cold.
Here’s what you have to remember when it comes to the cold, comfort does beat style. It is miserable being in a cute jacket but freezing to the bone wondering when you are going to be home or in your car when you can blast the heat. In Colorado, everyone is walking around in ski jackets and down jackets so it really doesn’t matter if your jacket doesn’t match your professional look, although there are some really warm peacoats for a bit higher cost that could be the answer to both your problems. If you plan on really being warm during the coldest days of the year, just know you have to invest in your clothes. When you buy the good quality jackets that provide real warmth, you won’t regret spending those few extra dollars, and they’ll last you so much longer too!