It’s that awkward transitional time of year again — depending on where you are in the country, there could be a mixture of snow and leaves on the ground — and it’s only the beginning of what can be the least fashionable season. I used to stick to a strict “Function Before Fashion” motto all winter long because, well, being cold sucks, and it’s hard to look cute in below-zero temps. This is why I’ve held on to so many cold weather items throughout the years, some super useful (I have a pair of Timberland boots from high school that are too sturdy to get rid of), and some that, in hindsight, are very silly to still have in my stash (so many partly torn pairs of tights). So when I made the decision to purge my closet for the winter, I realized I had a lot of swaps to make to step up my winter wear to feel chicer, more quality and honestly, more grown up. In the same boat? Here are the 14 changes you should make to your winter wardrobe that’ll keep you warm and in style until the snow melts.
Instead of Years-Old Boots, Get a Pair That Goes With Everything
1. Zara Elastic Ankle Boots ($50): Add a little weather protectant onto these on-trend Chelsea-style boots and you’re sludging through the snow in style like that. Even with the thickest of boot socks, this slick pair will add a polished touch that your beat-up kicks of yore could never touch.
Instead of Knit Dresses That Lose Their Shape, Get a Modern Sweater Dress
2. Vero Moda Cable Knitted Sweater Dress ($86): Can you believe that the sweater dresses that plagued our youth have grown up (and have gotten totally gorge)? This dress is stylish, cozy, looks unbelievable with boots and, due to its thick knit, won’t sag with multiple wears. It’s a winter wardrobe must, especially in an always-looks-fancier off-white hue.
Instead of Cheap, Torn Tights, Get a Tough Pair That Blocks the Cold Out
3. Uniqlo Heattech Knitted Tights ($10): Made of super-soft material that won’t make you itchy and helps keep the cold out without looking too bulky, these tights were made for winter. Wear these godsends under your stretchy jeans for that much-needed second skin or with your fave party dress on NYE no matter how chilly it is.
Instead of Cheap Fleece Pullovers, Get a Warm + Stylish Sweater
4. & Other Stories Knitted Mock Neck Sweater ($90): This sweater has so many things going for it: It’s super warm, chic enough to dress up jeans or go on top of your LBD and has a really of-the-moment mock neck that will also help keep your throat toasty. In other words, you wont regret ditching the cheap performance fleece.
Instead of Your Hand-Me-Down Parka, Get a Versatile Weather-Resistant Jacket
5. Patagonia Bivy Puffer Jacket ($249): So your mom’s tried-and-true parka from the eighties is warm, but, well, that’s about its only advantage (let’s not forget the stains, tears and not-so-hot color combo). This puffer jacket isn’t just built to brave even the most polar of vortexes, but it’s also stylish enough to pair with everyday skirts and office-ready jumpsuits — consider it the LBD of your does-not-mess-around outerwear.
Instead of Thin Skinny Jeans, Get Durable Boyfriend Jeans
6. Stella McCartney Star Embroidered Boyfriend Jeans ($465): While your favorite pair of ripped skinnies ushered you through fall, their thin makeup is no match for the extreme cold. A sturdy set of boyfriend jeans should more than help block the cold. For added flair, try a pair with a funky pattern like these Stella McCartney gems, a unique alternative to the usually neutral winter palette.
Instead of Spring Gym Shoes, Get Sturdy Sneakers
7. Vans Scotchgard SK8-Hi Slim Zip Sneaker ($80): Have you ever tried to tip-toe through slush in your go-to spring sneakers? Yeah, the results are not so great (wet feet for HOURS!). These kicks are not only a great pop of color, but they’re made of weather- and cold-resistant materials, so you can feel like your toes are totally protected when you give your boots the day off.
Instead of Mismatched PJ Pants, Get a Matching Set
8. Madewell Bedtime Set (Top $50, Shorts $30): Joan Holloway would be begrudgingly jealous. This vintage-style pajama set is crazy cute besides being made out of warm AF flannel — a clutch detail for staying warm without doubling up on your duvets.
Instead of That Wonky Scarf Your Roommate Knitted for You, Get a Soft + Colorful Scarf
9. COS Color-Block Stripe Scarf ($99): Nothing is more crucial on a blistery day than a warm scarf, so make sure your essential accessory is one you’ll actually want to wear outside of Nexflix and chill moments. This colorblocked number would look just as cute wrapped over a moto jacket or over your blazer on a so-cold day at the office.
Instead of Your Thrifted Peacoat, Get a Sleek Trench Coat
10. Topshop Cashmere Wrap Coat ($435): To me, nothing says “grown up” more than a luxurious, long belted coat that will last you for endless winters to come. This pick is a keeper because hello, cashmere!, not to mention that soft, luxe color. Totally worth the splurge.
Instead of Dinky Beanies, Get a Thick Knit Hat
11. Wool and the Gang 1984 Eye Beanie ($62): It’s time to face it: That jersey beanie isn’t doing enough to warm your dome. This hat is not only eye-catching (pun may or may not be intended) but its thick, sustainably sourced wool means your head is totally protected from the elements.
Instead of Cheap Gloves, Get Grown-Up Versions of Your Favorite Childhood Mittens
12. Anthropologie First Snow Mittens ($30): Here’s an exception to the “grown up” rule: You can totally wear mittens at any age. These warmers are crazy soft, warm, fit any hand size and are packed with so much color you’ll want to grab yourself a coloring book (which you can do as an adult now, too!)
Instead of an Old Hoodie for Layering, Get a Fleece-Lined Flannel
13. Uniqlo Faux Shearling Flannel Shirt ($30): On those extra-cold days, you have to layer like a champ. This flannel rocks a rustic look on its exterior and interior — it’s lined with a fluffy fleece for extra heat. Even better, once the weather gets a little warmer, it makes for a great outer layer that’s just a touch more elevated than your typical hoodie.
Instead of Ankle Socks You Wear Year Round, Get Heavy Socks
14. Gap Marled Striped Boot Socks ($12): Protecting your toes does NOT have to be boring! These socks will add an unexpected pop of color to any outfit or just make your snowed-in getup that much more pleasant.
What changes are you planning on making to your wardrobe this winter! Tell us your swaps in the comments!