Whether you plan to hit Sundance or simply need to make it through the cold Utah winter without sacrificing your fashion sense, we’ve got the insider info you need. Dressing properly for Utah’s frigid weather is the key to making the most of the season all winter long.
Winter Wardrobe Essentials
The most important thing to remember (and this is very important) is that staying warm is the ultimate goal of winter fashion in Utah. It doesn’t matter how fabulous you look if your teeth are chattering. Before you can even think about style, here’s a look at the winter wardrobe essentials you need to keep from shivering:
- Foundation garments (not the church kind or the Spanx kind!). These are more about warmth and wicking than sucking in your post-holiday tummy. If you plan to hit the slopes or ice rink you want foundation-wear that provides both insulation and protection from sweat. Look for items made of Polypropylene, which is a hydrophobic fabric that practically scares moisture away.
- Layering basics. When the temps dip below freezing, it’s time to start layering. Depending on your lifestyle you may be going from inside to outside all day long, or spend prolonged periods in the elements. Either way, layering is your friend. Look at mixing lightweight tees and tanks with heavier shirts or vests. Mix up your materials—cotton is breathable while flannel keeps you toasty warm.
- A cozy sweater (or five!). We can’t overemphasize the glorious role sweaters play in winter Utah fashion. They’re the perfect top layer and nothing makes you feel more comfy and warm than soft folds of wool, cashmere, angora, or any other favorite sweater material. We recommend a nice, oversize bulky one for layering plus a finer, fitted one for dressier or less-frigid occasions.
- Good boots. If this one feels like a trick, it is. Winter certainly requires boots, but we don’t expect you to survive the wide array of winter activities in just one pair. Your best bet is one solid, utilitarian, waterproof snow boot and one more stylish pair. Whether you prefer a bootie or a tall fashion boot, you won’t regret having a chic pair to wear on days when the sun is shining.
- The right coat (which, let’s admit it, is probably two coats – at least!). We finally arrive at the crowning outer layer. The one that shields you from rain, snow, and sleet. Because winter activities vary, we strongly suggest a practical snow jacket (puffers are very in) and a nice, wool coat for work or a night out on the town. If you’re a coat addict and must have more than two, check out our recommendations below for finding winter fashion treasures at a steal.
- Warm accessories. These are some of our favorite winter wear essentials. Scarves, gloves, and hats add protection and panache to any winter outfit. Best of all, you can find them on the cheap so stocking up is totally affordable. If you’re glued to your smartphone, be sure to find tech-friendly gloves that work with touchscreens.
Function vs. Fashion
Ah, here’s the rub—especially if you plan to hit the swanky soirees of Sundance this winter. How to choose between function (not freezing your rear off) and fashion (looking like you fit right in with the Hollywood set). Fortunately, this isn’t our first rodeo (or, winter). If you’re thinking about sacrificing warmth for haute couture, keep these simple rules in mind:
- Traction is a must. You don’t want to slip and ruin your entrance and your outfit. No matter how fancy the event, don’t sacrifice a snow- and ice-friendly sole.
- Skin is a no-no. It’s the winter in Utah not a beach in Hawaii. No one expects you to show a lot of skin, and no one will be impressed by your sacrifice when it’s 19 degrees outside. Instead of bare legs, go for textured tights, and if you must wear that strapless number, layer a button-up or sheer long-sleeved top underneath. Warm and chic trumps cold and exposed every time.
- Steal from celebs. If you want to know the key to facing the elements and still looking like you stepped off a runway, pore over pics of models and celebs at past events in Park City, Aspen, and Telluride. They’re not wearing LBDs, but they are rocking it in bulky boots, funky coats, and not-so-ugly Christmas sweaters.
Secrets to Bolster Your Winter Wardrobe Without Breaking the Bank
No winter wardrobe is complete without a few new items, but you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to sizzle on the slopes this season. Utahns love a bargain, and we’ve got the cold weather clothing hookups you need. Check out our favorite spots to nab quality winter fashions for less than retail.
- Uptown Cheapskate
- Plato’s Closet
- Sundance Catalog Outlet
- Patagonia Outlet
- Outlets at Traverse Mountain
- Tanger Outlets, Park City
- REI Outlet
- Backcountry.com Outlet
Strut your Stuff
We know it’s hard to balance style and substance in the chilly winter months, but we hope our guide helps you have your most fashionable Utah winter yet! If you use any of our tips—or have a favorite winter look we missed—snap a pic and share it in the comments.