When there's zero-degree wind chill outside, it's easy to have zero chill about winter dressing — and serious anger for anyone calling "cozy season" a delight instead of a euphemism for "I can't feel my face / fingers / toes when I'm with you."
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Thanks to some serious innovation in cold-weather materials, plus a flurry of polar vortex fashion on the runways (Hello, Gucci ski goggles!) bundling up can actually count as dressing up, and "ice princess" can stop being a tragically underrated Disney movie and start being a doable style mandate.
I grew up in a Boston suburb where we actually did walk 2 miles in the snow just to get to class. (Shoutout to the snow-slushed misery of Doherty Middle School in Andover, MA!) The first rule of surviving "cozy season" — besides never calling it that? Keep your feet warm and dry, no matter what. These fleece-lined LL Bean boots are the gold standard for waterproof protection, and their plaid lining means you can fold them over, tie the laces a few times around, and get a very cool grunge-era cuff on cold-but-dry days.
But if you're craving a snow shoe you can pair with a cocktail dress, good news: Winter boots have finally merged true function with party girl form, which means these Sorel chunky heels can stomp through sleet and straight into the club. And if you're asking "What's French for freezing-but-cute?" try these Chloé shearling cuff boots, as seen on runways and Instagram "most liked" posts.
Cozy Season amateurs may think a good winter bag should be fuzzy or even furry. But once you've splashed coffee (or dunked an entire hot toddy) on a shearling purse, you realize "style experts" are full of lies. That's because the true winter "It" bag is one you can easily sling over your shoulder, even in a huge puffy coat. Mansur Gavriel's travel wallet is a clever take on a "belt bag" that looks less like your aunt's Disney World souvenir fanny pack and more like an off-duty designer's solution to a phone-and-wallet combo deal. Meanwhile, Kate Spade New York and Brandon Blackwood both have crescent-handled bags that harken back to spacy '90s minimalism and fit over an Aritzia Super Puff sleeve.
God bless Grace Eleyae, the California designer who took charge of her hair destiny and created gorgeous hats lined with silk to protect kinky and curly textures when they're most prone to winter breakage. Her offerings include berets, fedoras, and beanies, all gorgeous and all supremely — dare I say it? — cozy.
If you're more of a Carhartt devotee, please direct your noggin to these National Parks beanies, coveted by every snowboarder you've ever had a college crush on, and with proceeds going back to our natural sanctuaries.
You may also want a cat hat, because… well, who wouldn't?
At this point, your gloves and mittens must be phone-savvy or else you'll never wear them. Pendleton went hard with their tech glove, which features three conductive fingers per hand, so you can win Candy Crush while asking, "Why am I still playing Candy Crush?" Land's End makes a leather version that screams "grown up" while letting you swipe right on a match you should have grown out of years ago, while these convertible mittens have serious Limited Too Circa 2001 vibes should your nostalgia get the best of you. (Bonus: they come with a matching hat for all your Clueless holiday rave dreams.)
"Frost yourself" during actual winter frost? Done. Now is the time for layering stone cold gems over your snuggly cashmeres and chunky fisherman sweaters. This Swarovski crystal necklace is 100% glam and makes your favorite stay-at-home crewneck into a whole damn party. The matching ring is equally decadent, and would look gorgeous over a pair of slim black gloves. So would these Turquoise Rings made by indigenous artist Mary Jane Garcia in the Navajo tradition.
More of a turtleneck girl? Sweep your hair into a messy bun and throw on some massive statement earrings, like these jewel-encrusted Lola Ade hoops or the beaded Gigi Earrings from Susan Alexandra, which have the added benefit of being cosigned by Gigi Hadid herself.
Once upon a time, we were high school girls who could not afford the Alexander McQueen Skull Scarf. Today, we are women (hooray!) and Sarah Burton has reissued the must-have celebrity staple of 2005 in a red-and-maroon colorway that's more subtle, but still super amazing… and also (very important) it's warm. And okay, fine, this Etsy version is just $28 and pretty gorgeous, too.
If you haven't tried one of Korina Emmerich's Pendleton wool face masks yet, have you ever truly known Cozy Season? Get on this now, before they sell out. Again.