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5 Winter Wardrobe Tips: Add Warmth, Not Bulk!

By Staci Amend
December 3, 2014

Trust us: ALL body shapes struggle with bulky fabrics and thick, heavy garments during the winter. It’s not easy to stay warm without adding bulk to your silhouette—especially if you’re transitioning to a smaller size, and not all of your clothes are fitting perfectly right now. Here are a few simple tips for “dressing yourself slim,” so you can look and feel chic even during the coldest months.

1. High-tech thermals
Let’s face it: there are days that feel as if there aren’t enough layers in the world to keep you warm. Sometimes long underwear is just a necessity—and if you’re still wearing the lumpy cotton waffle-knit kind, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! Your local sporting goods or camping store likely carries a wide range of “technical” thermal layers, made from modern fabric blends that not only keep you toasty, but wick away moisture, too. These are thinner than traditional thermals, and don’t bunch under clothes.

2. Wool tights
On those days when you’re wearing a dress or skirt—or even on days that aren’t quite chilly enough for thermals on the bottom—it’s great to invest in a few pairs of quality wool tights. They’ll cost a bit more than their Lycra and nylon counterparts, but they’re also likely to last longer and keep you MUCH warmer. Choose dark colors, but don’t be afraid to try subtle textures like ribs or cables.

3. Fine-gauge sweaters
When choosing sweaters, think sleek—not chunky. The finer the thread and the tighter the weave, the more warmth you can get without too much bulk. Steer clear of fisherman-style knits and thick materials; even though “lofty” yarns like acrylic and mohair can feel lighter, they often look heavier on the body. Instead, choose fine-gauge layerable sweaters made from cashmere or merino wool.

4. Skinny jeans and boots
In case you didn’t get the memo, so-called “skinny jeans” aren’t just for rail-thin body types! Worldwide popularity has made this tailored, tapered style available in a wide variety of sizes and lengths, just about everywhere—many pairs even have discreet shaping panels! The same goes for tall (over the calf) boots; there are now more wide-calf styles available than ever. Particularly during winter, when everyone’s styling is a bit top-heavy, the jeans-and-boots combo can be exceptionally flattering.

5. Tailored coat
Your coat is the most important piece of your winter wardrobe, so choose wisely! Stay away from double-breasted styles that hit at the hip; these can emphasize width and subtract height from your stature. Instead, look for longer, single-button coats that hit somewhere on the thigh. By contrast, these features are both slimming and lengthening. And if you’re just rediscovering your waistline, by all means—show it off! Choose a longer trench- or wrap-style coat with a flattering attached belt.

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