When we went to London the holiday season before last, we met up with one of my friends from grad school in Stratford-upon-Avon (see our visit here). Though it didn’t rain much during our trip, highs were in the 40s and breezes weren’t uncommon. I arrived in my 50,000 layers, including my huge puffy coat and knee-high boots. My friend, accustomed to British weather, showed up in a dress, leggings, a jacket, and short boots. I know I can be a bit of a wimp, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how she wasn’t literally freezing to death.
Her secret, she told me (besides acclimatization – say that 3 times fast), was good old-fashioned layering and thermal tights. THERMAL TIGHTS! I’d never heard of such a thing and obviously, my interest was piqued. Now with a bit of research, here is a stylish guide on layering dresses for cold weather. I don’t know that I can do 40 degrees with winds, but I’m sashaying my way closer as I start outfit planning for Scotland…
Layering Dresses for Cold Weather – Your Top Half
Jackets are amazing, but you have to keep your core covered and warm before all else. A tight tank top AND a good long sleeve t shirt, though basic, do wonders. See my favorite layering shirts (tanks and tees) here. A word to the wise on those long sleeve shirts too, crew neck over v neck or scoop neck – you’d be amazed how important it is to keep that small patch covered! Wearing thermal long sleeves are an option as well, though I think the two cotton tees from Eddie Bauer and J. Crew I linked to in that layering post really are amazing!
Layering Dresses for Cold Weather – Your Bottom Half
So. Let’s get crazy here. Two things. First, knee high socks. Second, thermal tights or leggings. If there’s one thing that will surely freeze in cold weather, it’s my feet. Getting warm, cozy socks is a must. Another part of that, however, is getting socks that go up to your knees for another layer of warmth on your lower leg. You’ll thank me later, I promise.
Next. Thermal tights and leggings. As it turns out, the options for thermal tights and leggings aren’t as extensive here in the US. When you search for thermal tights, you mostly get workout pants for runners and cyclists. Many of these are available in plain black, but you have to watch out for the logo placement depending on what you’ll be wearing with them. These Nike Therma Running Tights, for example, have the logo on the upper thigh. Because I so rarely wear dresses above my knee, this placement is fine for me, but any shorter dress lovers out there may find it to be in the way.
After a bit of research (and a frantic IG message to my friend), however, I found that Pretty Polly makes thermal tights (i.e. not workout clothing) that are really perfect for what we’re looking for. They are available in black and free of logos. And they’re just $20! One major upside to tights over workout pants is also that you can layer these under pants on days when you aren’t wearing a dress. That’s a huge plus for anybody who’s apt to wear jeans 97% of the time – me!
The magic equation for layering dresses for cold weather (and jeans for that matter) = thermal tights + knee high socks. And of course knee high boots and a warm cup of coffee or tea don’t hurt either!