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Temperatures are dropping and the nights are drawing in. There’s lots to be excited about as the seasons shift - hello cosy evenings, roast dinners and roaring fires.
But there are certain downsides to cooler months. Shivering in the playpark in freezing conditions as your toddler begs for “five more minutes” is standard, right? Then there’s that universal parenting experience - being drenched by torrential rain at the school gates. If any of these sound familiar, join our (frostbitten and soggy) club.
So how to stay warm in winter? Well, it may feel like colder weather plus parenting can never truly equal chic and fashionable. But we reckon it’s a misconception that mums can’t dress practically AND stylishly.
UNIQLO is a clothing name beloved by the fashion mavens on our Style and Beauty forums, who rate the lifewear brand’s comfortable yet fashionable clothes. Top picks include figure-fixing jeans and wear-with-anything down jackets.
Fun fact: UNIQLO HEATTECH thermal inner layers were actually created by a mum who needed something comfy and warm for the school run. Clothing to help mums feel AND look our best when the elements and our kids are conspiring against us? It’s the holy grail of parenting life!
So we’ve compiled seasonal fashion tips to help you know how to stay warm and be stylish in winter even when you’re coping with sleepless nights, limited ‘me time’ and the occasional tantrum.
1. Layer like a pro
“UNIQLO HEATTECH thermal base layers are amazing. They come in lots of styles and colours - I wear them under everything!” VodkaSlimline
“I like their coatigans, their merino wool sweaters, their HEATTECH base layers, their extra-long ribbed, footless HEATTECH tights, and their socks in general.” RacheyCat
When it comes to keeping warm in freezing conditions, it’s all about the layers. By wearing several layers of thinner fabrics, you create spaces of warm air between each layer while also wicking moisture away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable.
UNIQLO’s HEATTECH range is designed for expert layering. For your base layer, choose a HEATTECH camisole vest and pop a HEATTECH top or fleece over it. For the outer layers, take a look at UNIQLO’s Ultra Light down body warmers and coats - beloved by Mumsnetters because they bring warmth to winter layers without adding bulk. HEATTECH thermal tights work well under trousers too.
It’s also worth mentioning that some Mumsnetters recommend wearing thermal leggings under absolutely everything to avoid the winter chills.
2. Find your hero winter coat
“We own various puffer coats (very lightweight and very warm) and wool coats.” EdithHope
It’s one of the biggest investment pieces you can buy and the most visible item of winter clothing you’ll wear for months. So it really makes sense to choose a winter coat you really love.
The main criteria aside from keeping you cosy in arctic wind and rain? It should make you feel utterly fabulous whether you’ve slung it on over your jeans or to complement a party dress.
Not sure where to start? A classic wool blend coat or seamless down coat should see you through a fair few winters. Or if you’re feeling brave, choose a statement coat such as a hip parka in a bold colour to lift your mood when skies are grey.
3. Assemble your winter capsule wardrobe
“I'm sitting here in top to toe UNIQLO today - Ines de la Fressange viscose blouse, high-waisted cigarette jeans and a merino wool jumper. Love that when I find something that works I can buy it in a few colours without breaking the bank.” Xiaoxiong
“UNIQLO… I got some fantastic heavier cotton T-shirts earlier this year. They are cut nicely as well - not figure hugging but also not just a loose bag. Good range of colours and really reasonably priced.” TTCAbroad
Just like putting together a holiday capsule wardrobe - a concise collection of pieces that coordinate in multiple ways - you can apply the same principle to your winter wardrobe.
Shop for a handful of hard-working items, starting with quality basics such as T-shirts which work well under winter knits. Versatile shirt dresses can be dressed up or down. For jumpers and coatigans, opt for quality over quantity and choose slouchier fits to allow for layering.
As one Mumsnetter advises: “Try and get into the mindset of thinking about outfits, particularly when shopping, so you don’t end up with a lot of pieces that don’t actually go with other things. If you look through your wardrobe thinking about outfits, you might spot that you’re missing some key pieces that would let you wear more of your clothes.”
4. Show off your best bits
“The UNIQLO U high-waisted jeans hide mum tums like no other jeans I’ve ever owned. I carried twins. Have lost a lot of weight, am slim but have a lot of excess skin around the belly. Stretch jeans hide nothing, but you’d never know it was there in these, and they’re not at all uncomfortable!” justilou1
“I am hourglass shape and trousers are usually a no no for me but in UNIQLO I have had a few successes.” jewel1968
If your figure’s changed since having kids, it’s understandable (and perfectly normal) to feel less than self-confident about your new shape. But rather than dwelling on the bits you’re not so happy with, focus on your assets and consider the type of clothes that make the most of them.
If you’re blessed with big boobs, swerve high neck jumpers, which can appear matronly, and opt for cleavage flattering V-neck tops instead. Take a look at high-waisted jeans and trousers that show off curves while concealing less-than-washboard tums. And tuck in your tops to show off your waist! Whatever your shape, leg-shaping leggings are a useful winter wardrobe addition.
5. Choose feel good clothes
“UNIQLO merino wool garments are fabulous. They last really well and never, ever bobble.” NoTheresa
“UNIQLO cashmere is very good value.” AsCoolAsKimDeal
Parenting can leave you so drained, it’s tempting to pull on the nearest jeans and ratty old jumper. Instead, be kind to yourself and choose tactile fabrics which are a treat for both your skin and your eyes. It’s like giving yourself a reassuring hug, which can only make your day go more smoothly, right?
Corduroy is ideal for both autumn and winter as it’s warm and strokable while also channelling on-trend 1970s vibes. A veritable comfort blanket for your legs, brushed jersey trousers are smarter than joggers but still ideal for hanging out at the park on wintry days. And it goes without saying that baby-soft merino wool or cashmere knitwear are always winners, especially when they come in the form of a throw-over-anything cape.
6. Use your head and accessorise for success
“The cashmere woolly hats are perfect.” Thinkle
“Scarves! If your neck/chest area is warm, the rest of you feels warm.” RockingMyFiftiesNot
With up to 10% of our body heat escaping from the top of our bodies, it’s worth remembering to cover up your noggin. A cashmere beanie is the ideal head warmer and will complement any wintry outfit. Go matchy matchy with a pair of cashmere gloves too.
If you’d prefer a retro vibe, a statement corduroy bucket hat could be just what you’re after. When it comes to the ultimate winter accessory hero, let’s hear it for oversized scarves. Not only do they keep your neck toasty, they finish off any outfit and also double up as snuggly pushchair blankets for snoozing toddlers - as long as you don’t mind sharing, of course.
7. Don’t forget your tootsies
“For winter, black boots - lace-ups or chunky Chelsea boots are the current favourites.” Zinnia
“HEATTECH socks are brilliant.” Skippety
There’s nothing more miserable than cold, wet feet. Let’s be honest - canvas pumps just won’t cut it in the depths of December. Choose waterproof, substantial boots for stomping through unexpected muddy puddles and make sure they’ve got a grippy sole to keep you upright on ice.
It’s surely not winter without a pair of new socks either. Keep your toes toasty with classic wool blend fair isle thermal socks - whether you’re out and about in the great outdoors or relaxing at home in front of the telly.
8. Be brave
“Life’s too short to wear boring clothes is my mantra.” Notarealmum
Just because we’re moving into the colder months, doesn’t mean you should automatically opt for dull styles or sludgy shades. Refresh your look and try something different this year. How about a pair of print leggings or an orange BLOCKTECH raincoat to liven things up, for instance?
Another way to add new life to your look is to try some unexpected combos. Layering a tailored jacket over your hoodie and joggers gives you an on trend, smart casual vibe while also being practical and warm for nursery and school drop-offs.
9. Break the rules
“Hoodies - I've taken to buying the men's ones as they cover my daughter in a sling/carrier.” ColaFreezePop
Rules? Pah. We laugh in the face of rules, especially when it comes to fashion. Don’t be a style sheep - think outside the box and try some Mumsnet-approved style hacks. Firstly, don’t limit yourself to clothes designed solely for women. Men’s jumpers can look pleasingly slouchy on women, especially those of us blessed with longer limbs.
Accentuate your curves by cinching in a loose jumper dress with a leather belt. And, if in doubt, turn it around! As one Mumsnetter advises: “Try wearing your tops, dresses and knitwear back to front.” It sounds mad but, by wearing a V-neck jumper backwards, you’ll reveal a sexy little flash of your upper back whilst keeping your chest warm. Genius. Probably best to carry on wearing your trousers the right way though...
10. Invest in some luxe loungewear
“Cashmere jumpers - dark colours or brights, loose fitting. I do wear joggers but with a cashmere jumper and they still feel luxe. I have other jumpers but they just don't get worn compared to the cashmere.” Tropicalsunshine
“Thick jeggings and nice merino jumpers are my mainstay. Jeggings come from UNIQLO and my jumpers come from John Lewis, UNIQLO and Jaeger.” jcurve
As we’ve all discovered lately, loungewear is an essential part of any wardrobe. But say no to stained and saggy sweats! You may spend more time indoors in the colder months, but that doesn’t mean that you have to drop your standards.
Pair pristine joggers with stretch hoodies and cashmere jumpers for the ultimate in cosy style and you’ll have no qualms about answering the door to unexpected visitors. Loungewear sets you can wear for jigsaws with your DC before snuggling on the sofa with vino and Netflix once they’re in bed? We’ll take them in every shade, please.
UNIQLO is a clothing retailer from Japan with a philosophy of lifewear. Lifewear is clothing designed to make everyone’s life better. It’s simple, high-quality, everyday clothing with a practical sense of beauty. It’s ingenious in detail, designed with life’s needs in mind and is always evolving.