What to wear in the snow: Stylish cold weather outfit ideas

Don't panic about what to wear in the snow, our fashion expert explains how to look stylish in the cold

women showcasing what to wear in the snow ideas
(Image credit: Getty Images)

No one would blame you for panicking about what to wear in the snow? One of the most highly anticipated weather events of the year, putting together a stylish cold-weather outfit can be quite a challenge. Layers are key, as you're likely to step between temperatures during the day, but you'll want to be warm without feeling too weighed down.

When it comes to what to wear in the snow, this should be an integral part of your capsule wardrobe for the cooler months. The first thing to consider is the level of snow. This is particularly important when thinking about what shoes to wear in the snow, as the level of leg coverage and grip you may need might differ. Often a pair of the best snow boots is the obvious answer, and even if you live somewhere where you don't get tones of snow, they're still a useful wardrobe addition, as they often have great warming properties too. Consider your activity for the day too, a frosty walk or snowman building in the garden, will require a different outfit to the office.

One of the best winter coats is an obvious choice when deciding what to wear in the snow, but don't forget the importance of base layers, as these act as your first line of defence in trapping in heat. The best thermals can often be worn underneath other clothing - which is particularly handy if you're heading to the office. Other layers such as the best winter hats, gloves and a cosy scarf are good outer additions and make being out in the white stuff more enjoyable.

What to wear in the snow: Cold weather outfit ideas, and key pieces to shop - selected by a fashion editor

Don't let the panic about what to wear in the snow stop you from enjoying this delightfully festive weather. While a little more careful planning is needed for snow day outfits, you can easily stay warm and stylish with these simple ideas and tips. 

1. Cashmere

The warmest leggings and the best joggers can be a total game-changer when it comes to what to wear in the snow. Streamlined and cosy, a pair of warm leggings or fitted joggers, crafted from a wool or cashmere mix will trap the heat and are ideal for wearing with knee-high boots as they tuck in with ease, offering extra protection from the chill and slushy snow. Pair your trousers with your best sweaters - cashmere or wool are a good option (as natural fabrics keep you warm but are still breathable), and use this moment as an opportunity to discover how to style oversized sweaters, as longer line iterations look great with leggings for a balanced silhouette. If you want an extra layer, slip a thermal top or vest underneath for a snuggly feel and top with a waterproof puffer coat to avoid feeling damp at the end of your journey. 

"Cashmere is an excellent choice when deciding what to wear in the snow. Being cold is awful, but you don't want to end up with a sweaty, overheating feel either, which is why cashmere is the perfect answer. Regulating your body temperature, a pair of cashmere leggings or joggers, or a snuggly sweater will keep the weather at bay and your look in line with Quiet Luxury," says Paula Moore, fashion director, woman&home.

Paula Moore
Paula Moore

Currently Group Fashion Director at Future Publishing, Paula Moore has been in the fashion industry for over 30 years. Overseeing the fashion pages for Woman and Home, Simply Woman and Home, Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly and Chat magazines. 

2. Down Puffer Coat

Puffer jackets are one of the biggest coat trends of 2023 and the best puffer jackets will carry you through snowy days with ease. Ideally, you're looking for a puffer packed with down - synthetic or feather, as these are designed to keep your body temperature regulated, ensuring the bite of the snow stays at bay. Longer-line puffer jackets will offer added protection to your lower half, and those with a double front fastening, such a zip and then a popper or buttoned flap will trap in even more warmth. High collars, faux fur trims and hoods are all fantastic extra features that will improve your coat's ability to tackle the weather. 

When it comes to puffer jacket outfits for snowy weather, the key thing to remember is to balance your proportions. The heavier or bulkier the puffer, the more important it is to streamline your silhouette elsewhere. This could be done with leggings or with tights and boots to ensure that your shape is nipped in at some point. You can also look for long puffer coats with belts that will nip you in at the waist. 

"When it comes to heading out in the snow, it's important to think carefully about what you're going to wear", says fashion stylist and editor, Antonia Kraskowski. "A good puffer jacket will keep you warm but if you don't want the bulk, look for technical brands such as Rab or invest in a ski jacket if you're likely to be in a cold environment for a longer period of time". 

headshot of writer Antonia Kraskowski
Antonia Kraskowski

With over 15 years experience in the fashion industry, freelance fashion editor, Antonia Kraskowski has worked at Conde Nast, across titles including, Glamour, Vogue New Markets and Easy Living. Antonia later went on to serve as the Fashion Editor of Express Newspapers and Magazines for five years before embarking on a freelance career. 

3. Knitted dresses

The best jumper dresses are ideal for snowy days, offering a smart and snuggly way to get dressed up, while still battling those dropping temperatures. Wool and cashmere mixes will be the most warming, and while you might think that jumper dresses have to have a slouchy and relaxed fit, you can easily snap up a gorgeous knitted dress in a fit and flare silhouette that will work for everything from work Christmas party outfits, to heading out for drinks with friends. To finish off this look, add opaque tights and some boots with good grip and slip on one of this season's much-loved faux fur coats. The textured outerwear will help to keep you looking chic and feeling toasty. 

4. Dresses

While dresses may not seem the obvious answer to what to wear in the snow, as this look is all about layering, you can easily opt for a dress for cold weather outfits that require a little more polish - great if you have evening plans or need a sharp look for the office. Layering is all important here, as it renders lighter dresses more snow-day-ready, think roll necks under floral midi dresses, or a cashmere sweater slipped on over the top. Finish the look with one of the best wool coats - the higher the wool content, the warmer your coat will be. Add thick tights and hardy boots for a trend-led look that won't let you down in a flurry. 

5. Thermals

Unsurprisingly, thermals are a popular choice for what to wear in the snow, as they are designed to lock a layer of heat in, keeping your body temperature warm and regulated - ideal for what to wear skiing. While thermals used to be seen as something hidden, worn discreetly under clothing to stop a chill, in recent years, thanks to the popularity of athleisure and ski clothing, and advancement in fabric technology, your favourite thermals can easily contribute to stylish day outfits too. Look out for smart bodycon tops that make great layering pieces, or thermal trousers that can make tackling snowy days a breeze. 

"Layering is key when dressing for the snow," says woman&home's deputy fashion editor Charlie Bell, "Invest in a decent base layer that works as a second skin that you can wear underneath any outfit. I love Uniqlo's Heattech range for this". 

Charlie Bell Headshot
Charlie Bell

As deputy fashion editor at Future plc, Charlie works across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own, ensuring she has her finger on the pulse. Beginning her career in the magazine industry in 2009, Charlie has written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.

6. What shoes to wear in the snow

Need help deciding what shoes to wear in the snow? Selecting the right footwear to keep you upright in the snow is incredibly important and there are three things to consider when it comes to what shoes to wear in the snow. 

Firstly you want to make sure your shoes have excellent grip. While snow might be beautiful and fluffy when it first falls, making it relatively easy to walk on, after a few hours, if temperatures stay at zero or under, snow can quickly turn to ice, which can be treacherous underfoot. Opt for shoes with great grip, or invest in a pair of snow boots for exactly these moments. 

Secondly, you will want waterproof shoes, while the best UGG boots might be cosy, when it comes to snowy weather you need all the waterproofing you can get. For grip and dryness, try a pair of Wellington boots with a pair of the best cashmere socks inside for added warmth and banish soggy feet. Alternatively, look for one of this season's best knee-high boots, with good sole grip, for added protection. 

Finally, while you can mitigate warmth through thick socks or cosy tights, a pair of snow-ready boots that keep you snug either via a shearling lining or through heat-trapping fabric technology will help you keep warm when you're out and about in the snow. We all know that freezing temperatures can hit toes and fingers first so keeping them well-insulated is a must. 

"When it comes to footwear", explains Charlie, "make sure your boots have good grip to avoid any Bambi-esque moments. An all-black outfit always looks chic so stick to one colour head-to-toe to keep you looking stylish in the snow".

Antonia agrees that the right footwear can make or break your snow-day ensemble. "Thermal socks will keep your feet warm when they're tucked into boots - opt for a style with a thick tractor tread to give you grip on both snow and ice. Avoid items such as UGG boots - while they're snuggly, they have a relatively flat sole which will have you sliding all over the place. Coupled with a suede body, they'll soak up melting snow leading to very cold feet," Antonia explains.

7. Other winter accessories to invest in

Having covered the main bulk of what to wear in the snow, let's not forget all-important accessories. Winter hats, scarves, and gloves are needed to keep cold weather at bay, and opting for natural fibres such as cashmere or wool will add extra warmth. When it comes to gloves, if you're planning a snowball fight, make sure to choose a pair with a waterproof layer, looking to extreme sports brands, such as those designed for skiing or snowboarding will ensure gloves with high performance as well as style. For day-to-day use, however, a pair of lined leather gloves, or a knitted pair should keep you warm enough.  

And when it comes to accessories, Antonia suggests thinking in terms of techno fabrics for maximum effect. "I love Uniqlo's Heat Tech range for both base thermals under jumpers as well as accessories such as their ribbed beanie and gloves, both of which are relatively fine fabrics so they don't feel bulky and cumbersome".