Last Updated on November 29, 2022 by Dominique de Merteuil
How to Dress in Vintage When it’s Cold-The Practical Guide
How to dress vintage when it’s cold is a nagging question I’ve been trying to find an answer to for the past two decades, and I believe, I finally got it right!
It’s all fine and dandy to wear your favourite vintage suit or slacks underneath a lightweight coat if the temperature in autumn and winter is mild. When it gets to – 10ºC, however, and you have a very low tolerance to cold, the idea of swapping your stylish boots for a pair of UGGs sounds better and better the colder it gets.
I have a few ideas which hopefully will help all of my fellow vintage ladies to stay warm without compromising vintage style.
Stay Warm & Stylish in Your Vintage this Winter
It’s easy to say, I love you, winter when I’m snuggled up between the pages of Eugene Onegin in my 19th Century armchair.
The dream setting in front of a beautiful fireplace, positioned just so that out of the corner of my eye, outside my frosty window, I may glimpse the falling snow while dressed in a pink 1940s nightgown, my hair immaculately vintage, darling! Red lips, oh so glamorous! And most importantly, I’m protected from the cold, cold weather.
I’m wearing an original 1940s CC41 nightgown paired with a faux fur capelet from Helen Moore.
Oh yes, it’s all such a glorious winter wonderland when you have the luxury of being able to stay indoors. However, when you have no choice but to go outside and face the brutal harshness of those Arctic winds, you can Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, all you like but that 1930s hairstyle and red lipstick will start to look quite comical when your nose begins to resemble Rudolf’s.
Top Five Tips on Dressing Vintage When it’s Cold
- Warm undergarments are a lifesaver when you don’t want to compromise your vintage look in cold weather.
- Tights – it’s all in the layers.
- Thanks to sheepskin insoles you don’t have to give up your pretty shoes that are an integral part of any vintage outfit.
- Vintage-inspired faux fur from Helen Moore will add glamour to your vintage look and keep you warm and toasty.
- Nothing beats vintage wool in winter! The 1930s or 1940s woollen skirt suit should be at the top of your shopping list.
How to dress vintage when it’s cold.
In the picture, I’m wearing;
- Original 1940s wool houndstooth tweed skirt suit.
- 1940s purse
- Lea Wolford tights
- Megumi-O sunglasses.
Vintage outfit ideas for winter. A 1940s skirt suit is always the right choice.Dominique de Merteuil
Invest in (Vintage) Winter Underwear
- Proper undergarments are definitely the key to staying warm in winter. Although I don’t always follow my own rule and choose rayon or silk lingerie instead. I do, however, have several lightweight Merino wool tops and leggings, that I bought from an equestrian shop, for when the temperature outside hits -10C. And believe me when I say that they are real lifesavers.
- They are warm but thin enough to wear under my fitted vintage dresses, and they definitely don’t cause any undesired bulkiness. I also recommend underwear for skiing, as it will insulate you while wicking away moisture from your body.
- There are many patterns available on Etsy of the popular 1930s knitted cami knickers and vests. If you are skilled in knitting it might be a fun project, if not, you can always commission someone to make you beautiful and practical vintage-inspired knitted underwear.
I recently bought a pair of new old stock 1950s, early 1960s winter underwear and can’t wait to wear them in winter.
How clean your vintage undergarments!
If you would like to learn how to clean vintage, head to my post “How to clean vintage clothes headache free!”
DISCLOSURE; As of October 2021 I’m part of the Shop Style Collective affiliate program, and I get a commission for purchases made through some of the links in this post. When you purchase a product via the link in my post you are helping to keep my website alive for which I’m very grateful!
I handwash all my vintage and contemporary lingerie and hosiery with Eucalan detergent!
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Tights!
Winter is a harsh mistress, making icicles of us all and sadly the vintage girl is not an exception. With the temperature dropping rapidly and way below my cold threshold, I need to take extreme measures to stay warm. Not an easy thing to do without compromising my vintage look, but I have a few more tips to share with you. So here is what I do when I dress vintage on cold days.
- Stockings are an integral part of all my vintage ensembles and winter is no exception, but I love to wear tights as much as stockings, especially when they have an interesting pattern. This is the reason why Wolford is always my number one brand when it comes to hosiery. They keep my legs warm and are the perfect accessory for any vintage outfit, giving it that slightly modern twist.
- Tights on top of tights seem to be the perfect solution when you want to stay extra warm. It’s a particularly good idea when the said tights are made of a large net. I like to wear a contrasting colour, in particular red.
Winter essentials for a vintage girl.
- Helen Moore’s faux fur pillbox hat, vintage collar and wrist warmers in jet.
- Vintage Burberry coat
- Wolford tights
- Vintage brooch.
Vintage Wool is Your Best Friend in Autumn & Winter!
- I buy a lot of the 1940s and 1950s skirt suits and separates made of wool. They are simply irreplaceable in the colder months!
- The new to me 1940s Koret of California suit, on the left, is made of 100% wool and so warm that I often don’t need to wear a coat on top of it.
- In the picture on the right, I’m wearing an original 1940s CC41 skirt suit made of wool, of course.
Vintage Inspired Cardigans to Keep You Warm in Winter
If you rather stick to vintage-inspired clothes, the Marie Antoinette cardigan from Wheels & Dollbaby is a great alternative to vintage pieces.
It’s so beautifully fitted, and decorated with dreamy, Rococo embroidery, that I believe Marie Antoinette herself would approve of it.
I’m wearing The Marie Antoinette Cardigan by Wheels and Dollbaby in the most perfect 18th-century bedroom of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski.
The moment I first put on my new Marie Antoinette cardigan, I knew that I would want to be photographed in one of my favourite palaces in Europe. The Palace on the Isle in Warsaw was built in the late 17th century as the summer residence of the last King of Poland, Stanislaw August Poniatowski.
His recently renovated-bed chamber is where the pictures were taken. I find it rather ironic that I’m wearing a cardigan named after Marie Antoinette in a room, which when re-constructed was modelled on that of Marie Antoinette’s bedroom in the Palace of Versailles.
The Power of a Vintage Cape
- Wearing a cape on top of a coat is an excellent idea. I’ve been collecting antique and vintage capes for years but a vintage-inspired one will also do the trick. Winter gloves and a muff are a must! I’m currently considering making one myself, so stay tuned!
Mixing vintage fashion with contemporary designers. 1940s skirt, 1950s velvet cape, paired with faux fur hat from Helen Moore and Wolford Lea tights.
- Finding winter-appropriate shoes that will go with my 1930s-1950s ensembles still feels like a mission impossible. The pretty ones are never warm enough and the warm ones are never pretty enough to pair with vintage garments. I did, however, find what seems like the perfect solution for wearing beautiful shoes and not freezing to death. Sheepskin insoles! You can find them in any size and they will keep your feet toasty!
Vintage-Inspired Faux Fur Hat Will add Glamour to Any Outfit
The Pillbox Hat
- Cover your ears! Earmuffs appear to be the preferred choice for cold weather, for many of the vintage ladies I know. I, however, look rather terrible wearing them, so they are definitely not an option for everyone.
- Thankfully, my favourite faux fur brand, Helen Moore makes the prettiest and warmest vintage-inspired hats, scarfs and stoles!
In the picture by Gregory Michael King, I’m wearing a faux fur Pillbox hat and a Jet Faux Fur Vintage collar from Helen Moore.
- The pillbox hat is not the only winter necessity I found on Helen Moore’s website.
- I like to imagine that it’s exactly the type of headpiece that Liv Taylor’s character in the film version of Onegin would wear. It’s what vintage girls’ dreams in winter are made of.
Faux Fur Collars & Stoles
- Their large selection of alluring vintage-inspired collars and shawls has left me wanting every single piece in every colour available.
- Helen Moore’s wrist warmers are my favourite winter accessory. I wear them on top of my coat’s sleeves to keep my wrists toasty. When it’s necessary for me to remove the coat, in a restaurant, for example, I put the wrist warmers on top of my jacket. It looks really beautiful!
- A faux or real fur stole is the perfect alternative or even a replacement for a hat and a scarf. A huge collar found in a lot of 1920s coats will protect the neck and head from harsh wind. I’m currently working on an idea, to make a giant, faux fur detachable collar.
When you still feel cold, despite following all my tips and suggestions, the last resort would be to buy a large piece of wool or fleece fabric and sew it into your coat. Alternatively, you can consider moving somewhere warm for the duration of the colder months.
Whichever option you choose, remember that Spring is only a few months away.
My Vintage Autumn Outfit.
On this cold chilly autumn day, I opted for;
- A 1940s skirt suit made of burgundy and green wool houndstooth tweed I purchased from Bride Of The Fox. You can read more about that incredible vintage shop here!
- A 1950s hair snood is the perfect solution for keeping the vintage hairstyle intact during windy days.
- Winter bejewelled gloves from Her Curious Nature.
- Lea Wolford tights.
- Warm undergarments from an equestrian shop.
Photography; Gregory Michael King
How to dress in vintage when it’s cold.
A 1950s hair snood keeps the vintage hairstyle intact regardless of the weather.
What’s Underneath Counts!
Sensual Aubade Ligne Soie d’Amour. Photography Gregory Michael King.
- I can’t leave the house without a beautiful piece of lingerie or a slip regardless of how cold it is. Even if it’s on top of something warm and more practical than luxurious silk.
- If you would rather stick to cotton during the winter season, slip into something special the moment you get back home. My sexy Aubade Ligne Soie d’Amour (silk of love) set, hot chocolate and a great book always make me feel warmer and forget about the dreadful weather outside.
- To add a bit of glamour with a dash of extravagance, I highly recommend that you get yourself a pair of beautiful shoes this winter. They will go perfectly with everything but especially with silk pyjamas and a film starring Marilyn Monroe. After all, it was the platinum goddess who said,
Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.
Related: How to wear 1950s clothing in autumn!
The 1950s autumn dress.
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