Fashion lifestyle New York Snow

Sweater Weather: Guide to Winter in NYC

February 8, 2016

This is my first winter in New York and while I was bracing myself for glacial temperatures sometime soon after I moved here in November, it has proved to be perfectly balmy and unseasonably warm for the past few months.

But, it is starting to get seriously cold here and I’ve had to figure out how to stay warm through some trial and error. 


  • Layering is key. The subway will be the death of you if you can’t shed a few layers, or at least shed your hat, scarf and gloves. I usually have at least a sweater and a long sleeve shirt on under my coat, but sometimes you may need to bulk up even more.
  • Gloves: Get gloves. Get big gloves. Get gloves that you feel slightly silly wearing because maybe you’re going to have to spark a cigarette or check your phone. Do not be led astray by the smart phone gloves, do not opt for the cute knit gloves, go straight for the waterproof exterior – lined interior ones that have a cold rating (often the good ones will have a tag that shows the weather they’re meant for) of cold to icy. The cigarette can wait – you’ll thank me later.
  • Coats: I personally have an aversion to the “puffer jackets” that are ubiquitous here, but to be honest they’re probably your best bet. I have a friend who has an ankle length one and she just spent the weekend in Iowa where the high was -2 degrees fahrenheit and she was perfectly snuggly. If you don’t opt for the puffer (I didn’t), you still probably want to get a long coat, at least thigh-knee length. The reason? While you’re probably going to have a sweater or two under your coat, your legs are only going to have one layer of cloth between them and the freezing cold, and you want to protect them. A long coat will do this, and you will be grateful. Coats with hoods are also great. Basically the more of your body you can cover the better. (You can also go hard core and wear long johns under your jeans, I used to do this sometimes when I lived in Asheville, and I may have to break them out soon.)
  • Hats/Scarves: Even if you have a hood on your coat you’re probably going to want a hat. There are a lot of cute hats out there to be had, but at a certain point even the best of us have to abandon fashion for practicality, and thick knit hats and ear flaps and some things to look for. Big scarves are great, but make sure you can tuck them into your coat – the wind here gets so strong that it will fly away/whip up and totally cover your face. You do not want this to happen in the middle of an intersection.
  • Shoes: Get yourself some waterproof shoes, preferably with ankle coverage and excellent traction. Being the person to totally wipe out on the sidewalk is not ideal.

So remember: Cover up, layer up, and watch where you’re walking. You should be fine.

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