My Style: How to Stay Warm


how to stay warm and stylish

Warmth is something I need. I’ve discovered when doing wardrobe audits and talking to clients over the years that some of us are warm people, that is, we easily are warm and feel uncomfortable when we are too hot. Others of us are cold people, and often feel like a frozen block of ice that never thaws and find it hard to get and stay warm. I’m one of those cold people who struggles through winter, most of the time my feet never heat up and ache with cold and I feel the cold way more than anyone else I know,.

Layering for winter style
Skirt from Calvin Klein, Merino Knit from Costco, Waterfall Cardigan from Witchery

This really influences my winter style and what I wear as every day I struggle with adding enough layers (even for a heated environment) to feel warm in winter.  But too many thick layers can make me feel chunky and all Michelin Man.  So I layer 3-5 thinner layers to keep warm daily.

Winter cashmere and a scarf with sleeves
Jeans from Witchery, Cashmere jumper from Gilt, knitted the scarf with sleeves myself

On average I wear:

  1. Cami
  2. Long sleeve cotton/elastane knit
  3. Long sleeve merino wool knit
  4. Anther knit in merino or cashmere
  5. Jacket or cardigan or furry vest

Yep – sometimes one less layer, but that’s the only way I stay warm.

Then on the bottom it’s trousers/jeans or opaque tights usually with knee high boots.

Wrap scarf with sleeves - winter layers
Skirt from Boo Radley, Merino knit from Marcs and models own scarf with sleeves.

I do heat my house too!    I recently knitted a couple of scarves with sleeves (from this Be My Baby by Wool and the Gang Knitting Pattern) which I’m wearing in the pictures above.

Wearing White in Winter
Jeans are from Zara, Merino knit from Glassons, shoes from Clarks, bracelet from Uberkate Jewels.

And I do like to wear some white in winter (still wearing 4 layers in this pic above).

winter style cashmere
Trousers vintage Moschino Cheap and Chic, Cashmere Alice and Olivia knit from The Real Real

Cashmere and merino wool are on my daily rotation list (I have a long sleeve fine merino knit over my cami, but under this Alice and Olivia cashmere knit jumper that I picked up from The Real Real along with these lined woolen trousers Moschino Cheap and Chic that I’ve had forever.

Winter style
Same Moschino trousers but with Glassons merino knits and a necklace from Bess Heitner jewellery





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  • Hi, Imogen! I know EXACTLY what you mean about always feeling the cold, I’m glad I’m not the only one!
    I particularly feel the cold on the back of my neck. With a short neck this can be a problem with scarves. I try and make them as low as possible in front.
    i agree, it’s hard not to feel chunky with so many layers, was just over 4 degrees in Adelaide when I woke this morning!

  • I used to get cold in the winter in Italy, but now I make one of my layers silk jersey. WinterSilks here in the USA has a huge variety.

    • Ruthie Australia is as big as the USA – so think of all the climates they have we and we have the same – up north it’s tropical, down south it’s cold in winter and hot in summer, like San Fransisco.

  • Thanks for the tips Imogen (Merino wool is my favorite layering fabric in Winter too) 🙂
    P.S. The mother in me is saying you are looking a bit too thin, hope you are well.

  • I think I run on the cold side. In the winter I never leave the house without a singlet under whatever I am wearing. I am starting a new job in July, which will literally require new wardrobe (torture – I hate shopping and clothes shopping is the worst). I just found two blouses in Target (Yours Sincerely brand) under which I can wear long sleeve thermal singlets. YES! Those keep me much warmer. I also have lambs wool shoe inserts in my boots for added warmth. The sole was too thin to keep my feet warm but those sheepies are awesome.

  • I too tend to wear around 2-3 more layers to everyone else around me (at least). people are wearing sandals and spaghetti strapped tops, I am in boots and a long sleeved dress with cami underneath.. I feel the cold to the extent that my hands turn into ice-blocks in the winter even if the heating is on. This is mainly a problem if I am sitting around, with physical activity I tend to then feel hot – the other extreme – difficult to remove 4 layers of cami so it’s a bit tricky to dress for me from this perspective.

    In the summer I equally struggle with hot temperatures, am just too hot and sweaty in general if temperatures climb into the 30s. Guess all-year-round 20-25 degrees is what would suit me the best…

    anyhow it’s worth checking out your thyroid function – I have Graves disease- albeit in remission, but my inability to regulate temperature is I think attributable to my thyroid not being perfectly healthy…

    • I’ve had my thyroid checked many times and they don’t think anything is wrong with it now – but I do have the Hashimotos genetic markers and get thyroiditis so someday I may have even more temperature problems.

      • Hi Imogene,

        I found a source for Iodine, (kelp plus Selenium) at Women’s Health Network when I found out my Iodine was low. It’s a mail order service and I get it once a month, very handy. Also, cruciferous vegetables are great for the thyroid, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower but should be steamed and not eaten raw. Also when you get your x rays at the dentist, make sure they give you a Thyroid protector (no matter how little they say the radiation is, I notice they always leave the room to take the x-ray) so protect your Thyroid.

  • My toes used to freeze till I started wearing woolen socks. They keep my toes warm and wick away moisture/sweat which otherwise would have hugged my feet in a frozen layer of chilliness. My favorite brand in Smartwool and for spring and fall I use lighter weight Smartwool socks and for winter I use the thickest ones they sell.

  • I’m another one who feels the cold all year-round due to Reynauds. In the summer here in the USA, many places have the A/C blasting like a refrigerator, so I carry or wear my thin merino sweaters over my summer outfits. Like you Imogen, I have learned to love thin wools like merino and cashmere because they warm without adding bulk. I love those shrugs with sleeves that you knitted! What a clever gal you are! That way you can pick your favorite colors, too. 🙂

  • Hi Imogen,

    Another cold person – I’ll add my plug for silk knit undies – scoop necked and three quarter-sleeved are very versatile. Also wool socks! I can get a cashmere blend at a local discount store. I couldn’t live without them. We’re a shoes off household, so I wear shearling slippers all winter, plus. No cold tootsies for me! And turtle necks turtle necks turtle necks.

  • Ha! I used to have that problem too. To fix it all you have to do is get fat and/or get to the age where you start having hot flashes… Then, of course, summer will be a bummer… Best wishes with the layering. Silk knit long undergarments can help, especially under trousers. Thin cashmere fingerless gloves can help too. If you get flesh colored they will go with anything and not be as noticeable. Cheers!

  • Hi Imogen,

    Thanks for this wonderful post about layering for winter. I am also cold all the time, even in the summer and appreciate the ideas for dressing warm and stylish in colder weather. My greatest find was merino wool base layers for winter sports. I wear the bottoms under my pants and dresses instead of tights and leggings.

    Turtlenecks, sweaters, and layered shirts are also staples for me. I will have to try camis under my clothes for an extra layer.

  • Yes I hear you on this one. These last few weeks in Melbourne are particularly bad for me. Just never seem to feel warm. Maybe I need to look into those merino layers. Great post.

  • Like you Imogen, don’t want to look bulky to get warm. I am a V shape so when I need to layer up for our trips to the cold southern states I swear by a silk underlayer and then a fine merino knit as base layers. Sportscraft knits are readily available here and are usually excellent quality, and I have found them better than other high street brands.

  • Great post Imogen, I too am with you on the thin-layers-for-winter approach.
    And I heartily second Tracey’s idea about insoles. Although I can’t fit sheepskin ones into most of my footwear, I find that ordinary basic thin insoles (the type you can buy at the supermarket/discount store) also keep my feet warm. They make such a difference, that I have now put them into every pair of boots I own. They stop the cold coming through from the ground, but don’t make the boot too tight overall (which thicker socks would do).
    BTW, love your hair styled in a clipped ponytail – I remember thinking the same when you wore this look in another recent post too. Ponytails are undeniably practical, but I don’t think they are flattering to many women – however on you it’s definitely an attractive alternative.

  • Hi I’m a coldie too,

    Uniqlo make thin thermal long sleeve Ts in lots of colours. I wear them underneath everything when the temperature gets frosty.


  • Having similare dilemma with staying warm but for me its reversed – I need several layers on my bottom part and wear 3-4 thick fleece leggings underneath my skirt and trousers during the colder months because we have sometimes minus 18 celcious during jan-feb, but even during the transition month (-10 to 10+ Celcious is typical temperature where I live) I wear several layer tights and has to buy two different sizes of pants when wearing these thermal hosiery.
    With tops and layers, I prefer to wear a thicker cardigan as an insulator underneath my coats and jackets because I get very sweaty when wearing something long sleeved (unless its one long sleeve knit tee).Thats have been working for me pretty well. Plus, I dont wear the thick cardigan indoors so I dont really care for the added “bulk”.

    But there is one type of “Topper” that always make me puzzled – The classic suit blazer – are they suppose to act like cardigans and worn underneath another coat when its chilly or are they more like outerwear?
    Ive a lined thick blazer in rayon that is thicker than my spring jacket so its really hard to wear it as a cardigan. When wearing it over my wool and winter coats, it gets too bulky. Fortunately I purchased a cropped thin version to wear when my fine knit cardigans are not dressy enough.
    Layering a pullover, collar shirt and a scarf only works during transition month between spring and summer and summer and fall, so its get a bit annoying I cant wear this blazer often.

    • I’m so glad that the coldest it gets here is around 5C – I don’t think I could handle living in a place that goes into the negatives! I’m cold even when it’s 14C in winter. Blazer is like a cardigan not an overcoat.

  • I just purchased the ‘Be My Baby’ knitting pattern from Wool and the Gang based on how good the scarf with sleeves looks on you!
    I want to know: Did you use the WATG’s Baby Alpaca and Cotton yarns? (I never imagined it would cost over $100 to knit this!) If you substituted their yarns for something cheaper, what did you use? What size needles did you use, if they were different from the pattern?

    • Hi Leanne, no I didn’t use their wool, I just bought some really chunky yarn at Lincraft (can’t remember now what it was) and used the same size needles as they recommended. There are needle/yarn gauges you can buy at the haberdasher that will tell you what yarn you need for the needle sizes.

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