Last Updated on October 3, 2022 by Dominique de Merteuil
How to dress vintage when it’s cold is a nagging question I’ve been trying to find an answer to for the past few years, 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.
Staying warm without compromising vintage style can be rather tricky, but I have a few ideas which might help my fellow vintage ladies. [Scroll down the page to find out more!]
How to dress in vintage when it’s cold!
- Warm undergarments are a lifesaver.
- Tights – it’s all in the layers.
- Thanks to sheepskin insoles you don’t have to give up your pretty shoes.
- Vintage-inspired faux fur from Helen Moore will add glamour to your vintage look and keep you warm and toasty.
- A 1940s woollen jacket and skirt, are the best winter investments.
Top tips on how to dress vintage when it’s cold
- 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 lifesaver. 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.
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 the 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.
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 or vintage-inspired 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 muff are a must! I’m currently considering making one myself, so stay tuned!
- 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!
A luxurious vintage-inspired faux fur hat will add a lot of glamour to any outfit and keep you warm.
The Pillbox hat
- Cover your ears! Earmuffs appear to be the prefered 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!
- 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 and 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
What’s underneath counts!
- 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 this winter, you get yourself a pair of beautiful shoes. 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.
Read about How to wear 1950s clothing in autumn!
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