How to fashionably survive a Burlington winter

Maya Surrenti, Culture Staff Writer

I don’t know about you, but when I really love my outfit, my day has a special shine. 

In terms of the winters I have experienced, I grew up in Louisville, Ky., where we would be lucky to get three inches of snow over the colder months. As a first-year at UVM, the imminent gloom of two or three months of snow and frigid winds has me quaking in my boots. 

How can I share my exquisite clothing choices when I’m swallowed by a winter jacket?

Luckily for you and me, I have done some research. After interviewing veterans of Burlington winters and scouring the internet, here is what I’ve learned about staying warm while still looking cool. 

The fashion-forward winter essentials

An essential item is a winter coat. And when I say winter coat, I mean one that at least reaches your knees. 

“My go-to item is my big coat,” said junior Claudia Pollock. “I really recommend longer coats in the winter. Mine goes right above my knee.”

Pollock got her jacket from Aritzia, a popular clothing brand that has a line of jackets titled The Super Puff™. She acknowledges these jackets are on the more expensive side, but says investing in a solid winter coat is vital. 

Burton is also an excellent winter coat brand, said first-year Asher VonDoepp, who grew up in Burlington. He recommends going to the yearly Burton sale, where he always manages to find a good winter jacket for a discounted price. 

I personally recommend looking for a jacket in the basement of Outdoor Gear Exchange. It is a consignment paradise, with many quality winter coats at an affordable price.

The second most important aspect of winter fashion: layers, layers, layers. The base layer is the determining factor for your comfort outside, according to REI, an outdoor gear store. 

I know enough about winter fashion to tell you: never, ever layer with cotton. Cotton retains too much moisture and will ultimately not keep you warm, as my mom always tells me—an anecdote backed up by a Nov. 21, 2018 article by The Washington Post as well as by REI’s layering guide

“I recommend buying a thin Merino wool sweater,” first-year Sarah Andrews said. “It keeps you so warm but fits under anything.”

Another advantage of layering clothing is the possibility for different combinations. Layering makes the outfit more versatile, Pollock said. 

I personally recommend building a strong wool sweater collection as well. My sweaters give me so many options for styling my clothing and finding new ways to wear old pieces. 

As for shoes, I own Blundstones and Lowa Wendelstein boots, both purchased from Outdoor Gear Exchange. The nice man who helped me make my purchase swore up and down that between my two footwear choices, I would manage to keep all ten toes through the winter season. 

Finally, accessories are essential to winter style. Scarves, mittens, hats and earmuffs. You name it, I will be wearing it. 

“The winds in Burlington are so painful to walk through so I like having a big scarf to wrap around,” Pollock said. 

There is so much creative opportunity surrounding scarves as well. I vote the more colors the better. Not to mention, wrapping a scarf around one’s head is very chic. 

Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Naomi Campbell are just a few iconic ladies who’ve pulled off the look, according to a July 27, 2020 Vogue article

My final piece of advice is to invest in mittens rather than gloves. Mittens conserve heat better than gloves do, according to REI. Not only can your fingers create warmth and share heat when grouped together, but mittens also have less surface area for heat to escape from. 

I hope this article can help other bewildered fashion lovers stay hot—both figuratively and literally—in the cold winter months. Winter fashion can be so fun once you get creative with layers and accessories.