How to dress for subzero temperatures

Dear Dayre,

This post will be about

How to layer well for subzero temperatures!

I received a lot of enquiries from readers who’s been wondering how to dress for winter, especially when it’s sub-zero temperatures in places like Seoul!

So I thought I’d just share some of my own basic tips and tricks to dressing well on your winter holidays.

I have a confession to make. I friggin’ HATE those ugly winter puffer jackets that make me look like a bazhang.

I just cannot. I know they are amazing when it comes to keeping me warm, but looking like a dumpling is not an option.

I only own ONE puffy jacket from Uniqlo and I think it looks pretty decent for a puffy jacket lol 😂

But I only wear it in situations when
1. It’s so cold that I don’t really care even if I’m looking like a ba zhang
2. I’m somewhere in the wilderness cos then i think it’s acceptable to look non-fashionable – Puffy jackets do have a rather sporty appeal to them isn’t it?

But if I could look like THIS at -5 degrees (i.e. meaning to say somewhat fashionably chio) then Y NOT, right?

I’m actually a very basic kinda girl. Not really the most adventurous when it comes to winter dressing, but let me share with you what works for me.

Find a good-looking winter coat

Oh yes, like some readers have mentioned below! It’s very important to pick a coat in a good fabric like wool or cashmere, or even fleece-lined because they offer so much more protection from the cold beyond mere aesthetics.

On the downside, wool coats and the likes usually tend to be heavier, but it’s a trade-off for me haha I rather look a little more glamorous 😂

Btw, I love coats with detachable hoods! Can switch them up for different looks 😊 This is the same coat as the one in the first picture 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 Looks very different without the fur hood doesn’t it?

This coat is from ZARA!

I own quite a few winter coats. Every time I see one I really like and it’s within budget, I’ll tell myself OK LETS BUY ITTTT.

Because it’s quite difficult (IMO) to find a good winter coat that fits well!

It’s not just about the design, it’s about the fit.

In Singapore, there are only a few places that sell fashionable winter wear at affordable prices, and I always end up at ZARA!

You have so much more selection shopping overseas, especially during winter.

This coat 👆🏻 is from Taiwan!

It’s made of wool and is fairly thick. I wore it on my last trip to Seoul in January when it was about -5 deg.

Of course, the trick to really staying warm in subzero temperatures is….

Layer, layer, layer!!!

No way you can wear one of these coats with just one layer inside and expect to stay warm.

I’m sure you already know mine and everyone else’s open secret. Uniqlo’s Heattech wear!

Their thermal wear is really affordable, and comes in a variety of colors and styles. I’m basic so I just go for the regular black scoop neck design and black leggings.

More important, they have the regular version, extra warm version and ultra warm version!

If you’re really really afraid of the cold, layer your heat tech!

I only have the regular and extra warm versions, so on days that I really needed to bundle up, I actually layered two layers of thermal wear inside 👌🏻

On top of that, I wore another knit piece or sweater! Uniqlo also does heat tech fleece turtle necks and tops which helps to keep you warm too.

This blue fleece turtleneck with Heattech technology is from Uniqlo as well! (Cashmere coat also from Uniqlo!)

So when you’re looking at subzero temperatures,

One of my layering options might be:
Regular heat tech (top and leggings)
Extra warm heat tech (top and leggings)
Knit sweater

Keep your extremities warm

But all that is not enough, because the parts of your body exposed to the air will be the coldesttttt when you’re in such freezing conditions.

You’ll definitely need the following to help keep yourself warm:
Ear muffs
Face mask
Thick socks

You might end up like this when it gets too too cold.

Beanie to protect ears, face mask to cover face. Don’t underestimate how much they help!

I have a variety of cute beanies and colourful scarves to keep me warm cos I think it’s the best way to add a pop of color to your winter outfit 😊

Generally I like a bit of color though some people can pull off monochromatic outfits very well.

With a bit of color or print on you, you’ll stand out more in pictures too.

👆🏻 Both scarf and coat from ZARA! Got the cute beanie from a shop in Hongkong.

Tops 👚

So if you’re wondering what kinds of tops to wear over your heat tech, the best options are long-sleeved knit sweaters, turtleneck style tops and thick wool fabrics.

I like turtleneck tops for winter because they offer an extra layer of protection around my neck – When it gets real cold, that extra bit of fabric really helps!

This fitted high-neck knit top from Warehouse is one of my favourite buys and I always bring it along for colder climates because it’s so basic and easy to layer.

I also layered with this knit sweater I bought in Hongdae, Seoul, together with a wool pencil skirt.

Just remember that most of the time, what you wear inside won’t even be visible because it’d be under your thick coat and scarf anyway.

Jeans / Leggings / Skirts?

This is always a dilemma when it comes to packing for winter.

Jeans, leggings, skirts?

I usually bring along a combination of all three!

Let me share abit on how I layer them!

👖 Jeans

Jeans are a basic and generally go with most outfits! I usually go for a basic dark wash cos that’s the most versatile.

You probably don’t want to wear jeans on it’s own because the fabric doesn’t really block out the cold, so what you can do is to layer one heattech leggings, followed by jeans.

It’s a hassle to go to the loo cos you’re gonna have to button/unbutton/unzip so I’m warning you first. 😂

Jeans made of a more elastic fabric will also work better cos you’ll have one more layer of heattech inside your jeans! Even better if you find drawstring elasticsed jeans HAHAHA they can’t be seen underneath your tops/coats anyway 🤷🏻‍♀️

I usually do jeans if I’m going for a less girly look.

👗 Skirts

Skirts can be a little trickier for layering and I’ll break it down into two types, fitted skirts and flare skirts.

With flare skirts, they are a little more challenging to layer because you don’t get a good silhouette if you have longer coats! Fitted skirts work well with coats of any lengths, on the contrary.

👆🏻I actually did wear just a leather jacket like that in Seoul but it was only for the picture LOL and I layered on another big coat after this 😂

Flare skirts go well with shorter jackets!

Midi length skirts keep you slightly warmer but shorter flare skirts look nice too.

Of course, you still wanna layer with heattech leggings underneath!

👆🏻 Once again, I had a bigger coat to pull over this very nice outfit which is definitely not made for subzero. 5-10 deg weather maybe still can? Ahahaha. But I’m just demonstrating the skirt layering with a short jacket!

🧦 Leggings

Most convenient of all bottoms are leggings and leggings on their own!

You can pull off leggings if you are wearing either a long top or a long-ish jacket.

Or you could layer a long tee shirt on top, as long as it covers the butt, you’ll look decent!

Leggings on their own are great cos going to the toilet is so easy 😂 It also feels much less restrictive!

I layered up two heattech leggings this time in Seoul and it worked for me.

Footwear 👞👟👢

I’m definitely a boots person when it comes to cold weather!

Boots help to block out the wind, and of course because I can’t wear them in Singapore, so I try to utilise them to the maximum whenever I get the opportunity to 😂

I have boots like these: Under the knee leather boots, got these in Taiwan earlier this year!

These are lifesavers!

UGG boots that are fur-lined, water-proof and also gives me good footing even on snowy or wet ground.

Good for even subzero temperatures.

They are not super pretty but look quite rugged 😬 Have also worn them even for trekking in the snow before, that’s how hardy they are!

About my Hunter boots: I got them online on shopbop at least 2-3 years ago and I wear them very often, especially in autumn to mild winter climates.

Hunter boots are great cos they’re waterproof and are so easy to wear.

On the negative side, they are a bit heavier than regular boots and they might not work so well for icy grounds cos they’re not slip proof like my UGGs.

I sized up half a size and it fits me with allowance, which is necessary for wearing thick socks in cold climates.

Low booties like these are great for normal walking around in city areas!

I especially like black suede booties cos they are most flattering when worn with black leggings 😬

Bought these two pairs from Hongdae in Seoul! The black ones go with everything and are comfy enough for me to walk about the entire day.

Sneakers go well with coats/jeans/leggings too, but I personally prefer boots 😂 Like to act diva look. Hahahahahahaha

Dresses 👗

I don’t do dresses as much in winter because there’s so much layering to be done, but wearing dresses pinafore style with a turtleneck inside can be a stylish way to wear a dress during winter!

Another pinafore with turtleneck inside combi!

You can also tell that I recycle my winter accessories a fair bit, like this printed scarf I got in MNG Spain some time ago, it’s one of my favourites ❤️

Just stay warm!

If you’re really really afraid of the cold, just do whatever it takes to stay warm, even if it means being wrapped up like a bazhang 😂 What works for me might not work as well for you, and it all depends on your personal tolerance to the cold as well.

Also, remember to buy some heat packs from DAISO for only $2 per pack! Those can go in your pockets so your fingers don’t freeze too much in the cold.

That’s about all I have to say about staying warm in winter.. If I’ve missed out anything you wanna know more about, or if you’ve got your own hacks and tips to share, please leave a comment! 😘

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