Because You Can

Cozy layering ideas for those in cold climes. (To those in hot climes: sorry this isn’t applicable, but we don’t feel bad for you!)

It’s December, and if you’re lucky, then you’re reading this by the crackling golden light of a fireplace in some sort of Alpine ski lodge, while snowflakes swirl gently outside your foggy window and a mug of hot cocoa warms your fingertips. If you’re not so lucky, then you’re emptying your sinsuses into a jumbo box of Kleenex and stamping your feet on top of a heating grate, wondering why you ever wore your Chucks to school in the snow. Next time you have to brave the elements, try wrapping yourself up in a million cozy layers and carry the crackling fire around with you.

Left to right: Style Sightings, French Vogue, June/July 2011.

In Just Kids, Patti Smith talks about her quest to find the perfect baggy gray raincoat to complete her beatnik look. Not just for the aspiring beatnik, gray is a great color because it’s universally flattering and less obvious than your standard black or navy. Thrift stores are full of perfectly oversize dove-gray raincoats with nice slouchy ’80s shoulders, and if you’re really lucky, you might find my holy grail, a men’s overcoat in charcoal gray mohair.

I’ve noticed that a lot of women in New York don’t even wear winter coats anymore, they just sort of drape themselves in endless layers of sweaters, blankets, and scarves in a way that’s very “Grunge & Glory.” You know how you wake up on a really cold morning and can barely stomach the idea of throwing back the covers and getting out of bed? Next time, just drape your favorite fuzzy thing over your shoulders and be on your way.

L-R: From Me to You, Kenzo F/W 2010 via Moldavia

Of all the pointless ways I’ve defied my mother over the years, refusing to wear a hat in cold weather was definitely the most self-defeating. I have finally stopped resisting: hats are wonderful, and they make you feel 10 degrees warmer the instant you put one on. I love the look of a man’s fedora on a woman for the winter. Look in antique stores for a wool one with a nice wide brim—Borsalino makes a beautiful version, beloved of ballers and little old Italian men alike.

A little wool beanie is another boyishly cute option—search eBay or military surplus stores for a Navy watchman’s cap. I’m also newly obsessed with leather pilot-style caps like the one on the left. These were briefly popular in the ’50s and ’60s, and since they usually came in fancy materials like pony skin, they can be pricey—but it’s a small price to pay to keep in all that precious head-heat and look like Amelia Earhart to boot!

Finally, every girl knows that a scarf is her best defense against winter’s chill. There are approximately one million ways to wear a scarf, but my favorites are simple: either take your favorite scarf and make one long nonchalant loop, or, if it’s especially cold, wrap it around and around your neck until you run out of fabric. You won’t be able to move your head, but what’s a little mobility lost in the battle against the elements? ♦


  • moonchild December 1st, 2011 7:08 PM


    check it out here:

    Thanks! :)

    Love you rookie!

  • darksideoftherainbow December 1st, 2011 7:56 PM

    i def think that this might be the best winter fashion post i have ever seen. maybe even that i ever even HOPE to see. all of the pictures were awesome…truly great style. the first picture…i had a hard time moving to the next one…too awesome! i love the combination of the coat with the printed tee shirt. THANK YOU!!!

  • Ruby B. December 1st, 2011 8:03 PM

    This is my first snowy winter in a long time and I can’t wait to have an excuse to layer! Layers are my friend!

  • landlockedblues December 1st, 2011 8:18 PM

    I live in Brazil and summer has just begun here and this post definitely made me wish winter! haha stay warm up there (:

  • hummingkats December 1st, 2011 8:31 PM

    Also, mittens! They are probably my favorite thing to wear during winter. Target usually sells basic pairs inexpensively, or any drug store really. If you wanna go all out you could mix & match them :)

    Vintage Virgin did a post on how to DIY fingerless mittens w/studs or spikes:

  • themothshavearrivedandiloveit December 1st, 2011 8:42 PM

    I live in Arizona (which one would think is warm climes) but it is soooo windy and cold right now! We are to be pitied even more as we have not been prepared for such shockingly bad weather.

  • Freja December 1st, 2011 8:51 PM

    Yes! Exactly what I’m looking for right now! Also, I am so ridiculously in love with the Miu Miu Fall 2011 sunglasses in the first photo. I’ve seen them in so many editorials of late.

  • FashionHauties December 1st, 2011 8:57 PM

    I love the forest greens. Here are my winter UNfavorites:
    Your stuff is a whole lot better :)

  • Paloma December 1st, 2011 9:16 PM

    Yes!! Winter is the perfect time to channel your inner Patti Smith. Fedoras, grey trenches, fingerless gloves. Oh yeahhhh.

  • leraje December 1st, 2011 10:19 PM

    personally, i look at japanese street fashion blogs to get inspiration for layering!

  • claireyay226 December 1st, 2011 10:46 PM

    I needed this. I have been going through a “its winter all i want to do is wear jeans and a hoodie leave me alone” phase
    Thanks always rookie

  • Sea goddess December 1st, 2011 11:05 PM

    they have told me before I have a NYC style! eventually I agree with them now, I love wearing a bunch of layers of different shirts or whatever to cover up for winter! :) loved the pictures!

  • Adrienne December 1st, 2011 11:07 PM

    Omg I love this article!! This is my favorite fashion article. It’s really helpful, espescially as the weather is getting really cold here (aka not that cold in normal standards because I live in Cali haha).

  • pink.tess December 2nd, 2011 2:57 PM

    I wore a big grey coat today and then I came home and read this!

  • fizzingwhizbees December 2nd, 2011 3:24 PM

    It’s currently around 50 degrees where I am and shows no sign of changing anytime soon…and yet we had a snowstorm on Halloween. I am not pleased. (All I want is a chance to wear 5 sweaters at once and not be judged!)

  • Jamie December 2nd, 2011 3:49 PM

    really into the no jacket many layer look this year.

  • AmoryBlaine December 3rd, 2011 10:07 PM

    “Pony skin”?!

    • Pashupati December 16th, 2011 10:39 PM

      Nowadays they’re made in fake leather, I guess. Plus you’ll get it for less.
      (I’ll stop commenting on such old posts, sorry.)
      I’ve also seen similar things in non-leather (some sort of cotton I guess) in army surplus stores and thrift shops.

  • Pashupati December 16th, 2011 10:35 PM

    Just reminded me the scarfs I was longing to wear in summer… Also, I recently wished for a long cape-y jacket but I do have that one childhood jacket that is now not too long anymore; stop reading my mind’s logs, though I’m thankful you didn’t tell everyone the password.