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Layering 101: A guide to winter in Berkeley

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NOVEMBER 20, 2022

Two things about me: I love fashion and I hate being cold with a fiery passion (but not fiery enough to keep me warm during these unpleasantly bitter days). As we inch further and further into winter, the wind’s teeth grow sharper and sharper, biting deep into our bones. However, I refuse to acquiesce to this grueling chill, and above all, refuse to sacrifice an iota of style to the winter’s cold embrace. Nothing will stop me from serving a look, be it wind, rain, sleet, or snow — I will deliver nonetheless. 

For being such a wuss with the cold, I have previously found myself fighting the freeze for months on end in England. However, this California girl eventually deduced the best ways to stay incredibly cozy and deviously cute even in abysmal weather. So, for the sake of all of us fair-weather wimps, here are my top tips to beat the bitter cold while maintaining your fashionable facade! 

Feet up: 

To start down and work our way up, it’s critical to keep your legs and ankles warm. For me, it’s often not enough to simply wear pants — no, the wind can easily cut through a pair of jeans, leaving your lower half sorrowfully shivering.

For total warmth, I wear a pair of long, knee-length, wool socks under my baggier pants, or, alternatively, a light pair of leggings. While most of the Bay area weather will not necessitate such precaution, this second lower layer provides extra padding against the cold, and can easily be hidden beneath baggy pants, preventing unbecoming bunching. 

If you wish to wear a dress or skirt, fleece-lined leggings work wonders in keeping you warm, and can also be layered underneath a pair of thinner black tights or fishnets to further embellish your outfit. 


Truth be told, you’re only as comfortable as your lowest layer. For maximum comfort, look for a silky/smoother long sleeve to use as your base, keeping your skin pleased as you continue to add layers over it. I often use smaller, cropped, long-sleeved shirts, often made of a more elasticated material or the good old reliable turtle neck. I also aim for this layer to be on the thinner side, as it will create a smoother base to build the rest of your clothes around. 

 Nesting-dolls fashion: 

When it comes to layering, the name of the game is tight to lose. As previously mentioned, you want to create a smooth base to assemble your outfit around — you also should consider the outfit’s complete color palette to prevent your base from clashing or peeking through less opaque layers. From there, I add sequential layers of progressively larger clothes. The exact clothing will depend largely on your personal style, but I often layer another thin material long sleeve before adding a looser button-up shirt. I personally enjoy adding a different pattern or material as my top shirt layer, as it adds some visual variation to my outfit. 

My only exception regarding this nesting doll rule would be the option of placing a corset or tight vest over the top of a looser shirt or button-down, creating a more cinched-in look whilst also adding another layer of warmth. 

The coat under your coat: 

A critically forgotten element of winter dressing, the coat under your coat is one final plush layer of warmth that separates you and the crisp outside world before you add your overcoat. I often use a lighter but still warm cardigan, as it adds both an extra fluffy layer of warmth while also being thin enough that it won’t ruin the silhouette of your jacket. 

The final main layer is to add your coat! I often choose a looser coat to accommodate the amount of layers I am wearing, but as long as the coat is warm, all is well! 


Once you have assembled the core part of your outfit, it’s time to embellish! In addition to classic accessories like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, winter is the time to bring out those beanies, berets and all manner of hats. I also enjoy a long scarf in a complementary color to the rest of my outfit, as the draping and hanging of it adds an extra visual layer that embellishes and lengthens the outfit. 

In truth, not all chilly days will call for this measure of frost-fighting preparation and clothing. However, by knowing these tips, you are now further endowed with the multitude of methods I have found to stay warm. So, this winter, let the breezes blast and brumal cold settle, but never worry about having to choose between fashion and function again. I decree, you shall shiver no more!

Contact Elise Cline at 


NOVEMBER 20, 2022