Winter Wardrobe Essentials

Happy Friday, friends! I don’t know about where you are, but winter weather is in full swing here in Philly. We haven’t had any snow yet, but it’s been quite cold for this time of year, so I thought I’d go ahead and update my Winter Wardrobe Essentials for 2024.

These are what I consider to be the basic building blocks to a stylish and workable winter wardrobe. Hopefully this post will be helpful if you are still making your holiday wish list or plan to shop the after-Christmas sales!

This post is geared to those of us who live in colder climates. If your weather is more moderate this time of year, my Fall Wardrobe Essentials might be more relevant for you, but you might still find this post worth a read.

And because we all have different lifestyles needs, I try to keep these wardrobe essentials lists fairly general, but you’ll still probably want to tweak it to work for you.

I spend most days at home, so my personal winter wardrobe essentials are heavier on casual wear and lighter on dressier styles, but I still try to make sure I have clothes for any occasion that might crop up so I’m not scrambling when I get a last minute invite.

Finally, be sure to consider cost per wear when deciding how much to allocate to each wardrobe item, so you can make the most of your budget.

Winter Wardrobe Essentials {Updated for 2024}

I rounded up some shopping options, in case you need to refresh or add any of these items to your closet this year. Let me know if you have any questions about fit or sizing, and I’ll do my best to help!

1. Classic Wool Coat

Andrew Marc coat (S) // Nordstrom crewneck sweater (S) // MOTHER denim (29) (also at Anthro) // Sam Edelman boots (also at Bloomies) (8) // similar scarf // similar bag // BaubleBar necklace // similar earrings

I’m starting my list this year with a classic wool coat, even though I wear my puffer coats a lot more. That’s because a classic wool coat will take you just about anywhere — from the office to dinner, from the grocery store to the shopping mall, and anywhere in between.

This is the perfect piece of outerwear to top off a work look or a sweater dress for church, or you can throw it on over jeans and a casual sweater and look instantly chic. You can even wear it over your athleisure for that enviable off-duty vibe.

STYLE TIP: Matching your coat to your hair color is an easy way to elevate your look. I think this is why I tend to gravitate to black coats. I often try other colors and neutrals, but I always feel best in black coats. If you’re a blonde, camel might be a better option.

Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t have both, but if you must choose one, I’d recommend going with a color that is close to your hair color.

Shop Wool Coats:

2. Weather-Proof Boots

Blondo boots

Weather-proof boots that can handle snow and rain are a must in cold climates. I love Sorel for practicality, and Blondo and Aquatalia both do really good weather-resistant fashion boots that are both practical and stylish.

Color-wise, I like to have a variety of neutrals — black, grey, taupe, and cognac are all good options. I’ve also heard that matching your shoes to your hair color is an easy way to look put-together because they bookend your look, and once again, this is probably one reason I gravitate to black boots.

I love lighter neutrals too, though, especially with light wash jeans, so I will continue to wear them. As with any of these style tips, you should take them with a grain of salt, and wear what makes YOU happy!

Shop Weather-Proof Boots:

3. Scarves

Burberry scarf (budget option) // similar jacket // cashmere sweater (option) (S) // similar jeans // similar Aquatalia boots

One question I get a lot this time of year is, Are scarves in style?

Scarves as a cold weather accessory are always appropriate, but scarf styles do evolve with the times, so pay attention to what is selling in the stores that best represent your personal style.

You can find beautiful winter scarves at just about any price point, but wool and cashmere are usually going to be the warmest fabric. If you’re allergic, I also included a few with no wool content.

Shop Winter Scarves:

4. Puffer Coat

The North Face Metropolis Hooded Parka (M) // MOTHER denim (29) // UGG boots (8.5)

A puffer coat or parka of some sort is a must-have winter outerwear piece, but whereas you can wear a wool coat with both dressy and casual looks, a puffer coat is pretty much always a casual wardrobe piece.

I like to have at least one full-length, heavy-duty puffer for the coldest days and a shorter option for milder winter weather.

Bernardo jacket (M) // sweater // jeans

Ideally, you’ll want puffer coats that are waterproof so they protect you in all kinds of inclement weather. I also like to buy my coats with hoods so I don’t need to carry an umbrella, but they also come in handy for blocking out wind and cold.

Shop Puffer Coats:

5. Tech Gloves


My fingers freeze in the wintertime, but I also want to be able to access my smartphone when I’m out and about, so tech-friendly gloves are a must.

Shop Tech-Friendly Gloves:

6. Cozy Sweaters

Equipment Madalene cashmere sweater (S) // MOTHER denim (29) // similar boots // Mango coat // Naghedi tote

A good quality sweater can work for so many occasions. Wear it to work with trousers or a skirt, wear it on the weekend with jeans and sneakers, wear it on a date night with jeans and heels… you get the idea!

Sweaters and jeans are my daily uniform in the fall and winter, and I have a LOT of sweaters! I like to have variety of necklines, and I’m a huge fan of cashmere. No other sweater fabric is as soft and warm. (Read my Cashmere Sweater Reviews from last year.)

Of course, some people are allergic, so I rounded up an assortment with some good non-wool options too.

Shop Winter Sweaters:

7. Non-Distressed Jeans

PAIGE denim (29) // Vince sweater (S) // Blondo boots (8) // Sanctuary faux fur jacket (8)

Jeans are a 4-season wardrobe staple for me, but in the wintertime, I steer away from rips and holes. It’s usually too cold for that, and they look rather incongruous worn with boots.

If you wear jeans regularly, you’ll want a variety of styles and washes. I would definitely recommend adding a pair of grey or washed black jeans to your wardrobe, if you don’t have any.

Shop My Favorite Jeans:

8. Sweater Dresses

Eliza J sweater dress (S) // similar boots

I love a sweater dress in the wintertime. Pair it with tights and boots or booties for a look that’s chic and effortless. Wear it to the office, to church, on a dinner date, or for lunch with the girls.

I recommend wearing a slip under your sweater dresses. It helps them skim the body and not cling to any lumps and bumps, and it also prevents them from sticking to your tights.

Shop Sweater Dresses:

9. Tights & Socks

Smartwool Polka Dot Crew Socks // Marc Fisher Yale Chelsea Boots

Tights are a must-have with dresses in the winter, and they can also be worn as a layer under jeans for extra warmth. Spanx makes my favorite opaque tights, and I love the Wolford Individual 10 for a sheer black or nude. And Falke makes a lovely pair of ultra sheer hose for more formal looks. I also have a pair of nude fishnets I keep on hand for times when I want some texture.

When it comes to socks, I usually wear the J.Crew cashmere blend trouser socks and the Smartwool cable crew socks with ankle boots. I also love Sheec for a sockless look.

10. Leather Sneakers

Veja Esplar (39)

These used to be included only in my fall wardrobe essentials list, but I find myself wearing my leather sneakers all through the winter, so I thought I’d add them to the winter essentials as well. I often just slide my bare feet into them (or wear the Sheec Active-X Mid-Cut) for a sockless look, but you can wear the J.Crew cashmere socks or others.

Leather sneakers hold up better to the elements than canvas, and they’re also warmer and look more seasonal. I love my Vejas, and I also wear my P448 Johns throughout the winter months. Of course, there are less expensive options available, but as often as I wear mine, my cost per wear is merely pennies at this point.

Shop Leather Sneakers:

#11. Non-Denim Pants

Vince pants (M) // similar booties // leather moto (8) // similar cashmere turtleneck

Even though I often wear jeans 7 days a week, I wouldn’t want to be without a pair of black pants in the wintertime, and you may need more than one pair of non-denim pants if your work dress code doesn’t allow jeans.

Shop Non-Denim Pants:

In order to cap this list at 11 wardrobe categories, I left out leggings and loungewear because they’re not super important to me, but I know a lot of women like to have those as well. And you may want to add blouses or a button-down top to this list.

I hope this post is helpful! It’s not an exhaustive list, but it should be a good place to start.

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photos: Alison Cornell

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11 Responses

  1. First love all of your posts! They have really been a game changer for me over the last couple years, so thank you. I wanted to ask because I also work from home, so that’s where the majority of my time is spent. You say that you wear jeans seven days a week basically but I know you work out as well so my question is do you just change clothes throughout the day to the cute athletic wear you show?

  2. This is great. It’s a good reminder of what I need. I really need to get a pair of washed black straight ankle jeans. Mine are too short for winter. I have a new long black coat I love but might add a camel one as well, for options.

    1. Kristin
      I need the same thing ! I can’t find just a nice pair of straight leg black jeans either. Jo-Lynne maybe you can help us ! If either of you find any please post !

  3. I would love the RL Reefer coat in camel but unfortunately, it’s sold out in my size. I feel like it’s hard to find a camel coat that I like and that’s in stock. The Gap Factory order came in with the silver top and turtleneck sweater you modeled that was black with silver stripes. I love the silver top, but that sweater is HUUUGE and very boxy! I bought an XS and could 3 other people could fit under it, lol. I’m afraid it doesn’t look very flattering on me. It looked great on you.

  4. All good ideas. I have pretty much everything for winter. Our winters are mostly mild but now and then it can get really cold. I wish it could stay 40s to 60s like it is right now but it’ll change in January and February. I keep hearing that no show socks are not trending especially among young people. I know my granddaughter doesn’t like them anymore. I wear regular socks in winter because I want my feet and legs to be warm.

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