Oh Montreal, let us count the ways we love you. There’s even a certain beauty to the winter white blanket brought on this time of year (although the ice sheet currently covering the island is a bit much). But with our half-year winters, we know the worst is to come — especially when it comes to winter fashion. So while there’s still time, get prepped for the deep freeze. There are ways to survive in style and we’re here to guide you through them.
1. Get some boots.
Yes, we saw your Instagram and agree that your new sneakers are rad. However, your chicly athletic footwear is much less cool once doused with slush and slowly turning your feet into a pair of socked popsicles. Spend some of that shoe allowance on a pair of sweet boots and some waterproofing product. We don’t mean those cute heeled suede ones that just went on sale. Real, warm boots with treaded soles will save your poor toes, not to mention your neck on our icy sidewalks. Your less clunky pair will fit in a tote, we promise.
2. Cuff it up or tuck it in.
We’ve established what a bummer slush is, so we don’t need to emphasize the need to keep your pants out of it. Beyond the discomfort of getting inside and realizing your jeans are rimmed with a ring of dampness, awareness of how your lower layer works with its accompanying winter footwear gives a put together look to an outfit that likely makes the rest of your body look like a marshmallow.
3. Speaking of layers…
Being here for winter is being in it for the long haul and that’s not a fun one if you’re shivering your ass off. A good down coat is an investment – although a wholly worthwhile one – but you do have other options. Outerwear layering is an art and can be damn sexy when done right. If not, you run the risk of appearing homeless.
Some rules to live by: Colour co-ordinate but don’t over-match. Vary lengths strategically and for optimal wind-resistance. Opt for wools, leathers, and other natural materials that conserve heat, but avoid too many heavy or finicky pieces that make the outfit hard to put together swiftly.
4. If you’re going to wear a hat, make it count.
Toques are a Canadian classic and wardrobe staple in the seasons of cozy accessories. However, when the weather drops to its near-arctic temperatures, we can assure you that your uncovered ears do not appreciate the double-cuff or the bunched up look. If your short locks can give the appearance of being slightly bald, it’s probably still cuter than turning fiery red every time you go outside.
So there you have it, Montrealers! Looking good and staying warm don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Just remember: when it comes to winter fashion, “weather-appropriate” is a statement on its own.
Illustrations by Leah Concepcion-Vanderbyl.