Dress Code: Your Tips For Dressing Up Without Freezing To Death


You had so many amazing tips and tricks for staying warm in party season that I just had to share some of them!

From the “backpacker’s mantra” (easier to stay warm than get warm) to the term “whiskey coat” — you guys taught me a lot about winter warmth! Here, some of your invaluable tips.

On Legs:

  • About tights with seams, I personally love them and find them very vintage-burlesque-chic. However, for those concerned about the hellish job of getting the seams straight, here’s a trick I’ve learned from playing in pit orchestras: for period productions, the girls would use eyeliner to draw a line up the backs of their legs, then pull on the nylons. Also, in college, I have seen this done with Sharpie for Halloween…attempt at your own risk!
  • When you put on seamed stockings, put one thumb on either side of the seam (on the inside of the stocking) as you put them on. This helps you “draw” a line up the back on your leg with your thumbs and feed the seam up in a straight line. (Be gentle with those thumbs, though… don’t put ’em through the stockings.)
  • As far as straight seams, if you don’t have a checker, stand facing away from your full length mirror and bend looking through your legs. Straighten seams.
  • If you don’t have a mirror or can’t bend, grab the seam (with your finger tips, not nails) and gently adjust it up the back of your leg. You’ll be able to feel where it’s crooked.
  • Thigh-high socks are another option if it isn’t too chilly. They aren’t as restricting as tights, can be thicker, and they look damn hot.
  • It should be noted that, for non roll-down, several people suggested wearing underwear over tights, one person specifying “snug granny panties.”

On Layering:

  • Layer, layer, layer! it’s all about getting to the party and then seductively peeling off layer by layer in front of that stud you’ve been lusting after. He WILL picture you naked.
  • Bodies! By which I mean the much less sexified leotard. Give you an instant extra layer. A lot of high street shops in the UK have been selling bodies, but the dancer’s leotards from campanies like Bloch are much better in terms of fit and quality. You can get ones with camisole straps and low backs too, so you can even wear them under most party dresses.
  • If you have bicycle/yoga shorts, you can wear them under a relatively loose skirt or dress and over your tights to keep updrafts at bay. (Anyone else sat on the marble benches in the Metro in DC in the winter and come to find when you stand for the train that your entire bum is frozen? Helps with that too.)
  • Invest in a silk full slip or cami and slip. Doesn’t need to match. Should be real silk. Put your bra on over the cami- gets rid of uni boob and helps keep your heat in. Wear real deal granny panties- get some super high waisted (think Liz Taylor) number that you won’t have to dig out of your butt constantly. These help keep your core and back warm and feel great on your skin.
  • I wear leggings with zippers at the bottom and boots/flats (depending on whether there’s snow or it’s just cold), carrying my heels with me. Unzip the zippers, slip on your heels, and you’re looking fab! Then, when you’re tired and ready to go, leggings back on and heels off. If you’re party hopping it’s not the best solution, but if you’re either only going to one or two things in a night it really makes a difference.

On Outfits:

  • A pair of well cut trousers, a bright corset and a fitted jacket – works every time. Looks cute with a scarf and it doesn’t matter what you have on your feet as long as the heels are reasonably high, to make the trousers look more dressy.
  • Jewelry, jewelry, jewelry. Dark jeans, nice boots, and some real big glitzy pieces and you look hot and stay warm.
  • I think people might try going to a vintage or thrift store and getting a 1950’s beaded sweater to match whatever dress you desire to wear. If you’re not sure, go with black to match your LBD. Then, wear a cute whatever dress you want and throw on your festive, beautiful and unique layer of warmth.
  • FLANNEL. Seriously. Flannel shirt unbuttoned enough to show your cleavage tucked into a nice skirt with tights, boots and a sparkly necklace. It’s festive, chic and WARM.

For Arctic Cold:

  • I live in Edmonton (think -30 for weeks on end) and in addition to full length coats, wearing multiple layers that you take off at your destination is the norm. When I wear dresses, which I do often, I wear a good thick slip, thermal tights with American Apparel’s thigh-high knit socks over, then thigh-high leg warmers, then boots and a full-length coat. In this weather, you embrace layers or you wear ski suits- there are no other options.
  • I live in Northern Alberta and I wear *everything*. Boots, mitts, scarf, hat, and long GOOSE DOWN COAT. I bring all that stuff with me and then take it off at the party. There is usually a place for all your stuff. I have no issues bringing a tote bag with my little clutch in it. Sometimes I bring shoes too.
    Seriously, no one judges, if you aren’t dressed properly you look like an idiot.

On Hands:

  • I have a pair of my grandmother’s old white gloves, which are slim enough to fit under regular gloves- twice the pairs, twice the warmth. Stash the heavier gloves in your purse before you arrive and the white gloves look really charming for holiday parties while keeping your hands warm.
  • Last But Not Least:

  • And don’t forget LOTS deodorant with antipersperant! It may sound counter-intuitve, but house parties especially tend to get crowded and hot with lots of people and the host lighting up the fireplace. If you sweat in there, when its time to leave you will get a chill and never warm back up.

For all of our handy Dress Code guides, go here.

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