What does one wear when going out during the wintertime? As a Michigan native who enjoys the whole spectacle of going out, I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've spent hours thinking about this specific sartorial dilemma.
The challenge is in finding that elusive balance between legitimate warmth and just enough drama, whether it comes in the form of strappy heels and leather pants or a prairie dress and sneakers. There's a reason people have an entirely separate wardrobe dedicated to this activity.
Below, I present you with the fruits of my years-long cold-weather going-out outfit analysis. These five outfit formulas and their many iterations are equal parts practical and exciting—a hallmark of any good going-out ensemble in my book.
Embrace Bold Pants
The pants are the star of this particular winter outfit formula. Rather than wearing your standard denim, bring your look to life with vibrant fabrics and funky patterns. Opt for a pair of leather pants à la Jeanette Madsen's, or go for an animal print like snakeskin or leopard.
Layer Your Dresses & Midi Skirts
This second formula is practical in more ways than one. Rather than tossing your warm-weather dresses aside until spring, take notes from María Bernad and pair them with a chunky knit sweater and ankle boots. For added layers, wear a warm turtleneck and tights underneath the dress, in addition to a sweater and coat on top. This combination works with midi dresses as well.
Rock a Minidress & Tall Boots
While this particular outfit combination may be better suited to the autumn months, the dress-and-boot combo is the quintessential going-out outfit. To transition this look to winter, add warm tights and a second winter coat layered over the blazer.
When in Doubt, Go Sheer
If you rarely deviate from the standard jeans-and-a-tee outfit combo no matter the occasion, this one's for you. Simply switch out your turtleneck or long-sleeve shirt for its sheer counterpart and never look back—the slightly see-through fabric takes this classic look from day to night.
Elevate Your Go-To Pantsuit
The best thing about this season's pantsuit trend? It's warm—we recommend taking full advantage of it this winter. To make this look going out–worthy, pair your favorite set with a red lip, bold jewelry, and a bra that's meant to be seen.