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Dressing in lightweight layers

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DECEMBER 12, 2022

Learning to dress for these Bay Area winters is certainly a steep learning curve. From the unpredictable temperature changes to the pressure of keeping up with Berkeley style, it can be difficult to know what exactly to put on in the morning. As a Southern California native, I had a hard time figuring out how to stay warm without looking like a kid wearing twice their weight in clothes. Below are some tips for how to stay warm while still maintaining a lightweight outer layer. 

Legwarmers/arm warmers 

Legwarmers, and their upper-body counterpart, arm warmers, are a lifesaver for wearing skirts in the cold weather. They’re cute, incredibly functional and can be DIY’d incredibly easily. Simply cut sleeves out of an old or thrifted sweater and stick them on your legs (or arms)! 

Fleece-lined tights

Fleece-lined tights were at the top of my Christmas wishlist last year, and for good reason. They can be worn on their own under skirts or as a discreet extra layer under pants. I swear by tights under pants — they’re the only way to keep warm when your jeans just aren’t cutting it. They even sell skin-toned fleece-lined tights to give the illusion of opacity. 


I used to be an avid hat-hater. I’d wear beanies only when I felt I truly couldn’t take the cold anymore, and I hated how it flattened my hair and bangs. Then, I learned that hats that aren’t beanies exist. Now you’ll rarely find me on a cold day without my favorite newsboy caps. From bucket hats to trapper hats, there’s a style for everyone.

Warm underlayers 

Having warm undergarments and socks to wear under regular street clothes can take you from a state of shivering cold to one of warmth and content. Lightweight materials such as merino wool or silk make for a good long-sleeve underlayer. Thin sweaters can be thrifted pretty easily, but you can also go the full way and find a quality underlayer from brands like Patagonia or or North Face. Long socks, too, do wonders for warmth — especially wool ones. 

Quality over quantity

The most important winter dressing tip I’ve learned is focusing on quality over quantity. Investing in a solid winter jacket that you truly love will work out better than buying four cheap jackets you only kind of like. Quality is important when it comes to winter wear as the right combination of fabric, technology and style can make all the difference. 

As everyone advised me before moving up here, layers are the number one priority when it comes to Bay area dress. But there’s no need to sacrifice fun silhouettes for the sake of function. Stay warm out there!

Contact Lauren von Aspen at 


DECEMBER 12, 2022