In the Northern Hemisphere, winter officially begins on December 21st – and January and February tend to be the coldest months in New York. If you’re coming to the city and don’t know what to pack, I’ll share some tips. I’ve already created a lot of winter content here on the blog – so I’ll link some useful posts and videos at the end of the post and I highly suggest checking them all out.
Remember that although winter, in theory, starts in December and ends in March, the cold starts before that and ends after that. The real feel is usually also lower than the temperature – so, every day, before leaving the hotel or your accommodation, it is worth checking the forecast for the day. And, of course, as I always say, check the average temperature for the time of your trip and follow the forecast a few days before. And remember that it will be cold. If you come in winter, that’s it: it will be cold, and you need to be prepared.
What to wear in the winter in NYC
The first mistake anyone traveling to New York in winter – or to any destination with a strong winter – is to think that to be protected, you will need several layers of clothing. The secret is in the quality of the layers and how to use each. See more details below:
- Thermal clothes – it’s the foundation of your winter outfit – the most common thermal items are long-sleeved tops and tights/leggings. These items help retain body heat and keep you warm, making all the difference in protecting you from the cold. I would say that the most important thermal piece is the top – I, for example, don’t always wear tights under my pants, and my husband doesn’t wear that either – but that depends on each person! If you are a person who is not used to low temperatures, it is worth having that option too.
- Cashmere/wool/fleece sweater – after the thermal top, you need a second layer. Here, I suggest you prioritize wool/cashmere sweaters or fleece sweaters.
- Pants – if you are going to wear thermal clothes under your pants, prioritize pants that are not too tight – as it can be quite uncomfortable to wear the thermal layer under tight pants, you know? Jogger pants have a casual and relaxed fit and can be good options to wear with a thermal layer underneath. For those who are not going to wear thermals underneath, I would say that almost any pants will be good – obviously, prioritize pants with thick and warm fabrics. Linen, for example, is not a good option in these cases. It’s also worth looking at pants with a thermal function – there are options with fleece lining inside.
- Coats – a good winter coat is insulated – a padding that helps keep you warm and blocks the wind. The insulation can be synthetic or natural (the term is down). What about wool coats? It depends on the average temperature you will face it – if the temperature is positive – or above 32F – I dare say it works – as long as you pay attention to the quality of the other layers.
- Accessories – a scarf is essential to protect the neck and add an extra layer of warmth – you should choose a warm and large scarf, which protects your neck, neckline and extra protection to ears. Speaking of which, you’ll also need a beanie. There are fleece-lined beanies – and these are better because they protect your head from the wind. Finally, another essential accessory is gloves. Protecting your extremities is one of the keys to a good winter outfit.
- Shoes -a good winter boot need to be waterproof, non-slip, and insulated. Waterproof prevents your foot from getting soaked – believe me, a small leak can make your feel like your feet is freezing. Non-slip avoids… a slip. And an insulated boot keeps your feet warm even on the coldest day. However, it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t snow as much in New York as Hollywood shows us – so a comfortable boot with a medium to long calf + wool socks can help you too.
If you are on a budget
Uniqlo – the Japanese brand is a reference in clothing for cold weather and, in addition to thermal items, they also have down coats and parkas.
Macy’s – the famous multibrand store offers coats from brands such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Cole Haan. And there’s always a special sale/discount going on! Use the filters to search for down or synthetic options
thredUP – this is an online consignment & thrift store that sells women’s and kids’ secondhand apparel – thredUP features around 55k brands, from Gap to Gucci, up to 90% off
estimated retail price. thredUP is in possession of all items and, because of that, every item they receive undergoes rigorous quality inspection before being listed. The items are sorted into the following conditions: excellent / very good / good. I bought a coat on thredUP for $16! Get 40% off plus free shipping on your first order.
If you can spend more money and you worry about quality standards and design
Mackage – this brand is from Montreal and is famous for its beautiful coats that have been worn by celebrities such as Meghan Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Madonna. Their coats stand out for their distinctive design and mix of fabrics. It is a brand with a luxury footprint, more expensive – but far from the luxury price.
SAM. -A relatively new brand on the market and based in NYC – SAM has down coats and jackets with a super modern and cool design. I love their coats!
Aritzia – love everything about this Canadian brand. They feature the Super Puff collection, engineered to deliver warmth to -30°C/-22°F. Designed with maximalist proportions, this version is made from an innovative Japanese ripstop fabric that’s water-repellent and gives when you move. Additionally, it contains 100% responsibly sourced goose down.
Patagonia – in addition to being a quality brand – especially considering outdoor settings, they follow sustainable and responsible guidelines and their customer service is excellent. My husband, my sister, and my brother-in-law have coats from the brand and they even have worn them in Iceland!
Moose Knuckles – a famous Canadian brand when it comes to winter coats – you’ve noticed that many of the brands are from Canada, right? In addition to the coats being of the highest quality and suitable for extremely low temperatures, the design is also gorgeous. I had the opportunity to try it during an event and I was impressed!
Check these posts:
- How to choose the right winter coat – a complete guide!
- 6 winter hacks to keep you warm and stylish in NYC
- Winter outfit: first and second layers guide!
- A guide to shop at Uniqlo
I could make a photo collage to include here, but I have so much great winter content on Instagram that it would be a waste. So I highly suggest checking out the hashtag #layersbylauraperuchi on insta – which has a series of reels showing ideas for winter outfits. Also, check the two videos below where I show 6 different outfits and how I put them together.
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More winter outfit ideas
Content creator and journalist in New York City. Here, I share lifestyle, beauty, NYC tips, thoughts, and the struggles about living in the most amazing city in the world! I’m not gonna pretend to be another person: I’m a Brazilian immigrant and I think this is my soul, it is part of who I am. I hope you enjoy my content! Follow me on Instagram!