|Jillian Venters of the Gothic |
Charm School demonstrates.
The key to a warm wardrobe is often the right kind of fabric. Look for my mother's corrections to this section in the comments.
tl;dr version: chose animal fibers over plant fibers and knits over wovens.
Fiber Content and You
The whole world of fiber can be broken down into three major types (from coolest to warmest): plant fibers such as cotton, linen, and bamboo; synthetic fibers such as polyester, acetate, and nylon; and animal fibers such as wool, alpaca, and silk. Obviously you should try to incorporate as much animal fibers into your winter wardrobe as possible (sorry vegans, you'll have to stick with synthetic insulation and knits). Wool deserves special mention for wet climates and snowball fights as it is warm even when soaking wet. Most westerners don't think of silk when they think winter, but is the primarily fiber for winter clothing (and quilt batting!) in China, even the really cold parts like Manchuria and inner-Mongolia. Silk is actually very adaptable and can be insulating but not over warm, making it ideal for days when you will be going back and forth between buildings and the outdoors (so, most days).
There are two basic methods to making fabric: weaving and knitting. In general woven fabrics are cooler and less insulating than knits meaning that a knit fabric can be thin and still very warm. Some weaves, such as the twill weave used to make denim or brocade, use multiple threads in a small area making them much warmer, but also noticeably thicker. Certain knits, such as Fair-Isle styled color-work, cables, or double-knitting, create a similar effect making them much warmer but also less flexible.
Be-Skirted Winter Wardrobe Basics
|This is how you wear fishnets in winter|
Leggings: The powerful combo of leggings+tights will get you at least to freezing cold days, add wool socks and boots and you might even push past that. I usually get my leggings from Torrid or Avenue but there is nothing special about either and I have no fun near death experiences on the Alps with British lawyers to tell about them.
Socks, small and large: If you will to forgo the leggings+tights combo of power, long socks are a good alternative. Your socks should reach 1-2 inches above your skirt at a minimum. I used to have issues with them but since their size descriptions
Cable-Knit tights: These are even better than long socks. I will only these season be adding some to my collection as they are difficult to find in adult sizes, much less adult plus sizes, but I have fond memories of them as a kid. Sock Dreams has a few in straight sizes (even in wool!) and there is apparently a warmlegwear.com that I will be ordering from and reviewing, probably soon.
|The Cure understand the importance of|
proper winter attire.
The Skirt and Under: Obviously, a warm skirt helps immensely. I have a few sweater knit skirts, and my next knitting project will likely be this fancy number in black and purples. The warmest skirt I eve owned was made of a high-thread count flannel sheet, folded in half with a drawstring and was originally made so I could be a caroler at a colonial living history museum during my misspent youth. Avoid long and especially trailing skirts when it is snowy (I probably didn't need to say that), generally tea-length is the longest you should wear in snow. If you wear petticoats those let in a lot of cold air, they seem to practically draw it in, so I highly, highly recommend some flannel bloomers. You can whip some up in an hour with this tutorial.
*Or anyway person who manages to match most of the time and has spent way too much of her time this week searching for the perfect dark purple lipstick.