In defense of skirts in winter...

In today's post Angie said: 
I’m uncomfortably cold wearing skirts and dresses no matter how I wrap up and layer with hosiery and boots, so I almost exclusively wear jeans and trousers during Winter and some of Spring.

I understand this perfectly and honestly I wear jeans and trousers to run errands on the weekends too. However I would like to defend skirts and dresses in this frigid winter. If not for them I would be forced to wear a single style to work: skinnies tucked into tall boots - day in and day out. For me winter dressing is first and foremost footwear: it dictates everything. I can wear a skirt to work with tights even in -20C like I wore today and walk from the car to the office and even 10 min to the gym no problem. On the other hand I need waterproof and slip-resistant footwear even for a short walk. Right now it is either Blondo tall boots or UGG tall boots. Unfortunately skinnies are the only pants option for them: either wide leg or slouchy trousers look too sloppy tucked in and in addition get all wrinkled even if I change into shoes at work.
Skirts and dresses to the rescue! At least I can get some variety this way which makes winter dressing more bearable.

Now I have a new hole to fill: short winter boots (waterproof, warm and slip-resistant) so I can wear my slouchy and straight leg trousers as well in winter...but this year - thanks God for skirts and dresses!!!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Adelfa replied 6 years ago

    Yay! Would love to see pics.

  • Sveta replied 6 years ago

    Included pictures on Adelfa's request...

  • Angie replied 6 years ago


    Now come to Boston so that I can hug you because you're so, so, SO fab. xo

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Sveta, welcome to my winter world....skinnies and boots ALL WINTER LONG. 

    Why? Because my walks are more than 10 minutes and I am rarely travelling by car or even transport. So it is too cold for dresses with tights, apart from the odd day or two (at least this year). And too messy for fluid trousers. And (this year) too slippery and snowy for booties. 

    Is it any wonder my jeans get a workout? And my poor skirts have languished in the closet since mid December. 

  • Joy replied 6 years ago

    Sveta, I agree. The long cold spells have us begging for some change of attire. I recently bought a couple of alpaca sweater dresses from Nancylee on the style exchange. They are so warm layered with a couple layers of tights or leggings and boots and can be layered under and over on top. My DDIL will be getting at least one but right now they are a nice change.
    I do not walk for even 10 minutes in the cold in dresses, however. If I had to, my knee length puffer coat or even longer trench with down liner would be needed for sure. Even DH wears flannel lined pants for dog walking in this cold.

  • Aubergine replied 6 years ago

    I'm with you, Sveta! My winters are hardly Canadian, but I do a lot of walking and skirts/dresses with tights and tall boots keep me plenty warm enough. And, even if I get really sick of wearing the same few pairs of boots all the time (since knee-high boots are expensive and hard to find with the right fit everywhere), I feel like I have more variety by mixing up skirts and dresses than I'd get with pants and the slightly expanded shoe options I'd have with them for winter.

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Sveta I do relate to what you say.  Thankfully I am still skinny leg obsessed so that does work for me in winter but I also find that dresses and skirts, particularly with boots are brilliant in the cold.

  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago

    Me, too, Sveta!  Even though I'm a typical surburbanite, rushing from door to car, the massive snowfall and lack of thaws has meant that I must traverse slippery parking lots and, often, the sidewalks are buried. I've been wearing my riding boots with pencil skirts to keep from going crazy.

    My tall snow boots are dead, so next year I'll need new ones, too!

  • kellygirl replied 6 years ago

    Gorgeous, Sveta. You wear dresses and skirts so well. Love all of these and applaud your efforts to wear them in the cold. Our average temps are in the 60's and I think I managed one dress this winter. 

  • Lisa replied 6 years ago

    A great idea for mixing up a winter look.  Like Suz, I have been sporting skinnies and boots all winter long.  I have been trying to mix up with short boots and tall boots, but it's been a lot of skinnies and tall boots because of the cold and snow.  I may have to reconsider dresses next year, just for a change of pace.

  • E replied 6 years ago

    Yes! I just got back from an hour long walk in 35F/2C, which I realise is laughably warm compared to many of your winters this year, in a wool skirt & felt completely comfortable the whole time. As long as I wear silk long johns under my tights and knee high boots, I'm warmer in a wool skirt as I am in jeans (similarly w long johns underneath), because there's no thick cotton to cool me down.

  • Jules replied 6 years ago

    Yes agreed. I still stick mostly to skinnies/tall boots but sometimes you need an option. I think because we are in Canada, we have good warm coats that cover our behinds and upper legs. Plus warm scarves and hats. Combined with a lined pencil past the knee, warm tights and tall lined boots (again a Canadian necessity...), I don't actually find this combo much colder than jeans, for example.
    My sister brought me some Uniqlo heattech tights from the US for xmas, and these are surprisingly warm. In fact I wonder if I would find them too hot in warmer climes. But then again, I imagine people in warmer climates are wearing short jackets etc and maybe need more warmth from their outfits, which we get from our gear.
    And I only wear longjohns for outdoor winter activities ie/ when I'm going to be outside for more than 30 minutes with some standing around. It wouldn't generally occur to me to put them on for a walk.

  • Vildy replied 6 years ago

    You've got me curious. What do the men in your city wear to walk to work when they have to wear suits to work? Or should we just assume that they're going from indoor garage to indoor garage and never see actual weather?

  • lyn67 replied 6 years ago

    Mee, too & Amen-Sveta!:-)

  • E replied 6 years ago

    Jules, my walks are almost always over 30 minutes & usually involve me sitting on a bench at least once. hehe I don't actually put on my silk long johns (which somehow magically keep me warm outside but don't make me overheat inside even in central heating) until the temperature drops below freezing; I can easily wear a wool skirt & regular tights & knee high boots (one of my pairs is lined in wool too) until then without any discomfort. My skirts are knee length, so there's barely any skin exposed anyway, and I think the fullness allows for extra wool to insulate me. That being said, I love longer wool coats & wool hats & scarves, so I'm also kitted out at the slightest excuse. ;)

  • Linda replied 6 years ago

    The warmth factor for boots has been a kind of (very belated!) revelation for me, this winter.  Normally we don't get very cold weather in the DC metro area, and there used to be only a few days when my feet would get cold.  I complained about it a bit but kind of lived with it.

    This year, I bought a couple pair of boots.  This was partly in response to reading so many posts and pics from YLFers about wonderful boots, and partly because I searched, unsuccessfully, for "snow boot" boots.  One of the pair is quite inexpensive, because I didn't expect to wear or like them a whole lot -- but I knew I needed SOMETHING for cold rain and a bit of snow. 

    Well we've gotten more than our share of snow, and I have worn the black riding boots to death.  Along the way I have discovered a) they are pretty useful in snow, without leaking in spite of the low price; and b) the top of my foot being covered can make an enormous difference in how warm I feel.

    But I've digressed from Sveta's point (sorry!).  I TELL myself that I am going to wear my skirts, and warm dresses.  But mostly I don't.  But Sveta, I know from experience downhill skiing in years past, how much difference the right choices of layers can make, so now you've set down a challenge, and I WILL wear at least a couple of skirt looks, before we finish with winter weather!  I agree that often, more space between my body and clothing, can actually mean I am WARMER than wearing pants and tights.

  • Nebraskim replied 6 years ago

    I mostly wear dresses/skirts in the winter (summer, too, actually.) I wear lots of layers, fleece tights and booties or dansko type clogs. The coldest it's been here was -15F, but even yesterday, it was -6F and the high was only 11F. I always run cold but I feel warmer in wool skirts than in pants.

    I cannot wear tall boots and skinnies because my calves are too huge to accommodate pants tucked into boots (and because I'm reluctant to spend oodles on custom boots, I have no tall boots that even fit over my huge calves just with tights.) My walk from my car is only 4 blocks, but my commute is about 20 minutes. I never run my car heater so as to save gasoline, so sometimes it's cold. But if I were to limit myself to pants in the winter, I would get pretty bored.

    I am getting insanely bored of my puffer coat this winter. I cannot wait to pull out my neoprene car coat when the weather warms up this week.

  • AnnieMouse replied 6 years ago

    This is the first year I've really tried skirts or dresses in the winter - in large part thanks to the wonderfully fashionable and stylish women here - and I've LOVED IT! I have felt so free! (Also, I finally realised that pants actually make me feel COLDER, because I never think to wear tights under them - it messes up the line - so there is cold air AND the cold of the fabric brushing up against me)

    Having said that, the only way it was possible was because I got these boots this winter (I live in a relatively temperate climate, but a) I get cold below 65F (no exaggeration) and b) when I get cold, my toes/ feet get very, very achy. We typically have very high humidity and sloppy winters with lots of rain interspersed with ice. Because of the amount of rain we usually get throughout the season, I always have a hard time figuring out what won't be wet and gross all day. These are not only waterproof, but lightly insulated too! According to my spreadsheet, I've worn them almost half of the days I've documented so far this year (!!!)

    I love them so much, I actually duplicated them - I have the cinnamon (with a different tonal strap) and the black (which I recently posted a modification of by dying the straps gold and silver). When we're in single digits, I can wear these with doubled up tights under a skirt, and be quite comfortable. I never, ever thought that would be possible!

  • Lyn D. replied 6 years ago

    I can't relate to such cold weather, but just love your white outfit in #1!

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    Such fab dress outfits! You are stunning in the dark red.
    I'm thrilled I rediscovered fleece tights. That plus warmer skirt fabric + Warm top and underlayers has helped me get much more wear and fun from skirts in winter. My climate is much milder and i don't have to walk far from transport, so I'm not saying skirts work in Canada, just that I realized I was not maximizing my insulation.

    I assume the skinnies crowd are using the skinnies to cover their underlayer
    of tight or silks? Because plain
    jeans are not warm for me, nor a tropical wool pant, alone. I love my EB flannel-lined jeans that are as warm as fleece.

  • Aquamarine replied 6 years ago

    Sveta, you always look fab. I just LOVE your style, dresses or pants.

  • Vicki replied 6 years ago

    Everyone needs variety, especially when the weather keeps doing the same thing over and over again.  You look amazing in dresses and skirts and I applaud you, Sveta, in wearing them throughout the winter with the beautiful examples you've shown.

  • Day Vies replied 6 years ago

    No need to gun down the opposition with your fabulousness ;-)! I am all for skirts in winter, the cold has never affected my decision to wear a skirt provided I have boots, thermals and if required pants to wear under my skirt/dress while outside.

  • Aziraphale replied 6 years ago

    Wow, Sveta, you look great!

    I agree, I could easily wear skirts all winter as long and be warm enough -- as long as I also wore tights. The problem is, at six in the morning, when I'm barely awake and fumbling in my closet, tights seem like so much work. So on go the jeans.  :-)

    In my defence, I've got lots of short boots to go with them. ;-)

  • Nebraskim replied 6 years ago

    Annie Mouse, I agree on feeling colder in pants due to the slick linings or lack of lining. Brr. I wear tights under pants. I wear thin silk long underwear a lot.

  • rabbit replied 6 years ago

    Your outfits look wonderful and I'm with you, I find it very comfortable to wear skirts in winter.  

     I think it's because jeans are actually more chilly with either letting air up the pants leg, or potentially up the bottom of a semi-tucked top.  I've only one or two pairs of jeans that look neat tucked into tall boots, the rest of the skinnies ride up and bag slightly around the knees once I've crouched to pick up something.  

    I don't wear as many skirts in summer unless it's cool enough for tights.  My bare legs feel very exposed and most strappy sandals are uncomfortable around my toes, but in winter, especially with fleece lined tights or leggings, bring 'em on!

  • Karie replied 6 years ago

    Such fab outfits! I either wear fleece tights or two pairs of regular tights with skirts. I even wear tights under my slacks to keep warm.

  • TraceyLiz65 replied 6 years ago

    Fabulous looks,thanks for sharing!

  • hedgiehog replied 6 years ago

    Yay for skirts! You look great in all the outfits, the polka dot jumper and bright skirt is my favourite! The polka dot tights make it just fab! I live in a warm climate so I wear skirts in winter frequently. If you find such boots, please let me know.....I'm traveling to snow soon and need something similar.

  • Sveta replied 6 years ago

    Wow, we do have some skirt wearers in winter, yay! Thank you so much for sharing your experience, opinions and thoughts, it was fun to read!
    I like the idea of fleece tights but never got to finding a pair. I should get on to finding those and also some thermal or silk underwear. I wear skirts in summer much more often but I still wear them in winter at least once - twice a week to add more variety into my life.
    You are also right that long puffers and coats do provide additional insulation which also helps.
    Vildy, to answer your question: I live in a medium size casual city so those guys who have to to wear suits to work drive to work and not using public transit. This translates into a very short walk to the office. Also they do not observe the PPL rule as diligently as I do so their trouser hems are not dragging through the snow as much - and my city gets TONS of snow, I live in a snow belt of  Southern Ontario and this is saying something.
    Elisabeth, I find that wearing a dress actually saves me time in the morning because all I need is tights and boots and I don't need to think much about coordinating different pieces together.
    Again, thank you all for sharing your thoughts here!

  • Isabel replied 6 years ago

    Yay , tending ovation of one. Sorry it is just me and the dogs home right now.

  • Von replied 6 years ago

    I was just telling someone the other day that for me, my primary dress and skirt season is almost over!  We have mild winters on average, so it's perfect for skirts and tights and boots.

    I probably have two or three dresses that I'll wear during the spring, but when summer comes, I'm in pants and crops.

    Your skirt and dress combos are FABULOUS!  The white dress and the polka dot ensemble are my favorites.  You make me want to bring out my red skirt to play one last time before it warms up!

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