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Vince Camuto boots, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves, SAK bag, silk scarf and shearling hat (all own)

At below -20F layering is key

January is the coldest month in the Interior. While on statistical average -40F only occur every 500 days, it doesn’t get that cold every year. We had it this year. Before that the Last time was winter 2016/17. No wonder that the -40F/C cause a traffic jam at the UAF temperature display each time it happens. Not everyone wants their pitcure taken in a bikini at 40 below, but just in indoor clothes looks also already scary. Yes, it’s biting cold.

Whenever the temperatures get below -20F (-28.9oC), layering clothes is key to feel comfortable when outside. It starts with the underwear. Bra is a must at any temperature. Then a long sleeve T-shirt under a cashmere or wool sweater. Sometimes I go for a cardigan under a cardigan. A blouse under the jacket would be just too chilly. I try to put the look together in such a way that I can pull the uppermost piece off and still are dressed work appropriate. Inside it can be too warm for the combination of long shirt, cardigan over cardigan or long T-shirt under a heavy, thick wool or chasmere knit sweater.

#over50fashion style blogger wearing layers for staying warm in winter
Banana Republic knit skirt, GNW tight, Harley Davidson booties, GNW Luxe sweater (all own) and sequin patched denim jacket c/o StyleWe
#advancedfashion Nicole wearing a sequin patch denim jacket over sweater with a cozy cable knit skirt
Front view of above outfit showing the snake skin statement belt. See how dark doubling of opaque black tights gets

Wearing skirts in winter

I have to admit I am a skirt/dress kind of gal. I always was. To be comfortable when the air outside is less than -20F, I double my tights. Usually, I go for a flanel pair underneath a thiner pair. The flanel has little air pockets and a thin air layer provides good isolation. The second pair is usually a size larger than I would need. This way the knit doesn’t stretch so much. Consequently, the loops stay small. The air captured adds further isolation.

I go for a thick fabric skirt like this cable knit midi skirt. Underneath is a half slip.

#midlifestyle older woman in purple brown winter casual look
INC brown leather trousers, Antoni Melani booties, smoky quartz statement necklace (all own), fur scarf gift from my late granny Hannah
#bloggerstyle purple and brown winter look
Zoom-in on the above Casual Friday winter LOTD to show details. Long Jones and tights underneath the leather pants are a must. Leather is great for protection from wind, but not for isolation.

Insoles are a must

When you are a regular reader, you may already know how I learned to avoid cold feet at frigid temperatures. Here the link to the post in case you missed it. While insoles provide isolation from the super cold ground, keeping your feet dry is as important. Such I take my boots off at work and wear pumps. Full disclosure, when you look under my desk, you may think it’s a shoe closet.

#winterstyle mature woman in monochromatic business casual attire
Calvin Klein sheath dress worn as skirt with GNW Luxe sweater, pink sude statement belt, Vince Camuto suede boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Cartier juste un clou (all own) and turnip ribbed tights c/o No nonsense
monochromatic layering #agelessstyle
Backview of above monochromatic business casual clothes layering. I wore pantyhose underneath the turnip colored tight. Note wearing a non nude pair of tights under ribbed (or lace) tights leads to some “see-thru” of that color. This effect can be used to pretend to wear tights with “crazy pattern.” Note tights with crazy prints are a big trend  right now.

Dress as skirt

A shirt dress can be worn under a skirt and sweater as a blouse. My sheaths often do double duty as skirts as well. When it gets really, really cold, long Jones with pants and a knit dress are the last resort (before avoiding the cold weather by just staying inside).

#trendsover50 fashion blogger donning the mixed print and snake print trends with black boots
Anne Klein polka dot scarf, GNW Luxe sweater, GNW tight, Sanchez tall riding boots, quartz statement pendant, Festina watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Altuzarra snake print side slit skirt (all own)
#agelessstyle snake print skirt with side slit, sweater and tall black boots
Side view of the above attire. Here I wore nude panty hose onder the semi-opaque tights to keep the illusion of “semi-opaque”

Doubling the outerwear

When you are a regular reader you know that I am all in favor of styling outerwear. A blanket or Russian scarf over a coat not only looks incredibly stylish, it also adds some extra insolation – namely the scarf itself and the air between the scarf and coat. When it’s so cold that the blanket scarf fails to do the trick, I wear a cape over the coat like I did at -22F (-30oC).

#winterstyle fashionista in cape over coat blue and brown outerwear
Staying warm outside in winter in L.K. Bennett suede boots, GNW tights, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves, cape, hat with Coach shearling bag (all own) and downcoat c/o Happy Goat Lucky
Alaskan woman doubling her outerwear #winterstyle
Back view of above coat with cape outerwear

Clothes provide isolation, but don’t warm

There is something to the saying “that coat keeps me warm.” It hints at the fact that all the clothing does is to “sabotage” the heat exchange between your body and the ambient air. Like the inside of a house quickly gets cold when the furnice fails at below freezing temperatures, there is a point that you will feel cold despite of all that fabric. In other words, layering only slows your loss of body heat down.

Avoid to sweat

The danger of layering is that you start to sweat. Avoid to sweat! Open the zipper when needed. Getting wet is the worst that can happen. The moisture will freeze eventually. A recipe to hypothermia. When you are visiting the Arctic in winter to see the aurora read this post on what to pack for Alaska aurora watching.

When you want dressing tips for all kind of situations in midlife, buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.

What do you wear when the Polar vortex is in town? What are your tricks to be comfortable? Just curious.

P.S. Like these outfit inspirations? Then please pin them to your own Pinterest board so your friends, family, and colleagues can see them too.

Top of the World Style linkup

#linkup Top of the World Style linkup party every week on Thursday

Glad to see you at the 191th Top of the World Style linkup party. Welcome!

Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav Martina Berg
Martina Berg the style blogger at Lady 50 Plus became Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. Photo from her post

You clicked Martina Berg’s post the most, which means she is the Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. She is the style blogger at Lady 50 Plus. She wore a blush winter coat over jacquard pants with pumps. Gray, black and blush look fabulous together. Don’t you think so?

Top of the World OOTD my fav Debbie of Fashion Fairy Dust in trucker jacket and floral skirt
Debbie of Fashion Fairy Dust became Top of the World OOTD my fav. She caught my eye with her edgy trucker jacket with floral skirt and sweater. A perfect Bohemian look with all the classic pieces of this style: Trucker denim jacket, ribbed sweater, lace-up booties, and black floral skirt. <3 Photo from her post


Top of the World Style Winner Christine in a LBD with boots and long sleeves
Christine the French blogger at  Bon Chic Style became the Top of the World Style Winner. She featured a LBD she wore on her staycation. Photo from her post


Congrats Ladies! Grab your award buttons from the linkup party directory page.

Link up your instagram or blog outfit posts by clicking the blue button below. Yes, I somehow managed to get back in the old system. I would highly appreciate your linking back to this post.



Do you need help linking up? Just follow this easy-to-use tutorial to link up.

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Photos: G. Kramm

© 2013-2019 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Nicole Mölders

    Thanks for the feedback and compliment.

  2. overthehilda

    I find Ireland cold at the moment and we are not even near freezing, but there is a North wind that would cut you in half. I love your stylish outfits in such extreme temperatures. You rock them.

  3. Nicole Mölders

    Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it!

  4. Amy

    I just love your style! You are rocking it at -40°! That snake skin skirt is just so awesome! And I love all the great information about layering and the importance of staying dry! Fantastic post!

  5. Sabine Gimm

    Ich bin ein Fan vom Layering Look. So kann man seine Sommerkleidung fast das ganze Jahr über tragen.

    Liebe Grüße Sabine

  6. Amy Johnson

    You look so cozy warm in that first picture!

  7. awayfromtheblue

    You layer so well! I can’t imagine it ever being that cold, I don’t think I’d own enough layers to combat that cold, it never drops to freezing here in Brisbane, haha!

    Thank you so much for joining the #weekdayWearLinkUp this week 🙂

    Hope that your week is going well 🙂 Still so hot and humid here with the heatwave!

  8. Mutton_style

    I can’t imagine those temperatures and the challenges. Very interesting reading about letting out swear and risk of hypothermia.

  9. Cheryl Shops

    I can’t even fathom what -20F feels like! Not only are you brave, but I love that you still care about being stylish in those temperatures!
    Cheryl Shops

  10. That’s a good idea to layer two pairs of tights under each other, especially one with fleece! Love that warm look with the purple top, the fur scarf & leather pants!


  11. Nadine Fei

    Ich finde es so schön, dass Du trotz der arktischen Temperaturen in Alaska gerne Kleider und Röcke trägst, liebe Nicole! Da ich ja selbst ein “Kleider- oder Rockmädchen” bin, gefallen mir die Outfits wieder unheimlich gut. Mein Favorit ist diesmal der Look mit dem snake print skirt.
    Den Trick mit den doppelten Strumpfhosen wende ich übrigens auch immer wieder einmal an 😉
    Liebe Grüße aus Wien, Nadine

  12. Jennie

    Great tips on layering and staying warm! You look so pretty in the purple top. 🙂

  13. shelbeeontheedge1

    Many great tips, Nicole! We have been hovering between -30 and -40 this past week with wind chills. I have no outfit photos as a result! Now today it is 41 and raining with a big old snow storm coming through this evening. Layering is key when you live where we do!


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