How to weather-proof your wardrobe for winter

Looking to make simple additions that will pad out your wardrobe as the temperatures drop? Look no further


We had such a mild September that last week’s wet, wintry weather, though hardly unseasonable, seemed to come out of nowhere. No settling-in period, where the weather gets cooler gradually, allowing us to adapt and prepare for the onset of winter.

Ordinarily, articles on the best winter warmers emerge in late August or early September. This year, however, we were too busy enjoying the mild weather to contemplate having to insulate against the cold winter breeze.

So consider this a crash course in making simple additions that will pad out your wardrobe – without, in most cases, breaking the bank.

The basics
Keeping warm starts at base level. Tights are essential. Penneys is selling warm and cosy 100-denier black tights with a silky feel, a bargain at €3. Consider sizing down – they’re very long and they may end up sagging slightly if you go up in size – and if you can make the effort, hand-washing will double their shelf life.

Slips may seem old-fashioned, but they improve the fit of dresses (none of those awkward moments when you realise your dress has been wedged between your legs all day).

Marks & Spencer is great for slips that won’t be too granny-like, and a body- shaping slip will keep you snug while also cinching in your waist and smoothing any lumps and bumps. From €22.

If it gets very cold – we’re talking minus temperatures – base layers from the likes of Under Armour, available in Life Style Sports, or thermal underwear from the Great Outdoors (in the skiing section) could keep you cosy, but won’t be necessary if you’re smart with your fabrics.

Material matters
When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother – at least three times a day – if we could put the heating on. She would always tell me to put on a wool jumper, which makes sense to me now that I pay my own bills.

Natural fabrics such as cotton and wool will keep you much warmer than polyester and nylon mixes. Cardigans are great, but jumpers are better – more coverage – and winter coats should button up to the hilt, and should have long enough sleeves to go over your gloves without leaving a gap at the wrists.

In terms of dresses, cotton jersey – layered over a slip with a pair of 100-denier tights – and wool mixes will keep you far warmer than synthetic, printed tea dresses, and they will last longer if you look after them (always obey washing instructions and, unless something is stained or smelly, don’t wash it – simply hang it in the bathroom while you shower for a freshening).

Last but not least, always bring a hat. It might ruin your hair, but on particularly cold days you’ll be glad of it.

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