Winter wardrobe essentials for the young female professional

Hey guys! I'd like to introduce our newest contributor - Tabby. Tabby is my go to for all things lifestyle - fashion, food, drinks, and dinner parties.


Tabby is an Atlanta native who left her hometown to study at Columbia University in NYC. After finishing college, she stayed up North as a research assistant at the Hospital for Special Surgery, but returned to Atlanta for medical school. She is currently finishing up her MD/MPH at Emory University, after which she plans to go into general surgery. 


Below she shares winter essentials with options at every budget!




Temperatures are dropping, making it harder and harder to stay stylish while staying warm. While it’s fun to buy trendy pieces every season, there are some winter wardrobe essentials that can be reused year after year.  


1. A professional looking coat

Layering is key to staying warm in the winter, and your outermost layer is going to be what you show the world. When buying a good coat, it’s important to focus on three things: color, silhouette, and material. In terms of color, I prefer black, as it goes with everything and doesn’t show stains easily. Navy blue or charcoal are other great options, and for the truly adventurous (and very clean), a winter white could also work. Silhouette wise, peacoats are a good choice for most body types. There are also a lot of options that have belts or fitted waists. I find that coats that hit mid-thigh are generally warm enough, but for especially cold climates, something longer may be appropriate. Look for wool-cashmere blends if possible. These are warm, durable, and always in style. J. Crew Factory and Banana Republic have some great options that are priced fairly reasonably, but if you are looking for an investment piece, you can’t go wrong with Burberry. Nordstrom also has some other great options from some of my favorite brands like DVF and Ted Baker.


A fantastic, reasonably priced option from J. Crew Factory that even comes in a few more exciting colors.

A gray option from Banana Republic. I bought a similar one in 2005, and I still use it today!

This Calvin Klein option is reasonable and comes in a variety of colors. The belt helps add some structure to it so you can wear it to formal occasions as well as work.

For an investment (or a Christmas splurge), I highly recommend these two Burberry coats (1, 2). These silhouettes are flattering on almost everyone.

If you’re interested in playing around a bit more with colorful or patterned options, check out H&M for some great wool-blend coats. I found a beautiful red peacoat there ten years ago, and it is still going strong today and has gotten me through six New York winters as well as trips to Canada and Europe. The price point for these coats is generally under $100, so it’s a good way to inject a little bit of personality into your outerwear without breaking the bank. Here is a pretty merlot (this year’s most popular color) coat for under $100 from H&M.

I am also absolutely loving Lauren Conrad’s most recent collection from Kohl’s. These two coats (1,2) are adorable and would add a little bit of fun to any dreary winter (they’re also extremely reasonably priced)!

2. Headwear

This is the perfect place to show off your personality a little bit while keeping warm. I don’t like hats because they limit hairstyle possibilities, so I generally steer towards a good pair of earmuffs (they can last forever) or a bandeau-style winter headband. You can incorporate fur (a popular winter trend), sequins, lace, etc. as you see fit. Nordstrom and J. Crew Factory have some great options for both (including earmuffs that are headphone compatible). Etsy is also another great place to look.


This choice from J. Crew Factory is sold out right now, but generally returns during the season at some point. I have very similar ones in a white and red plaid that I have had since college. My ears get very cold in the winter and I don’t like buying real fur, so this was perfect!

This headphone-compatible option by UGG Australia is another great choice. While UGGs carry a not-so-fantastic reputation sometimes, their products are unbelievably warm and durable.

This cashmere ear warmer by Rag and Bone helps keep you warm without making you stuff your hair into a hat.

A reasonable and versatile choice for a winter headband that comes in a variety of colors.

3. Snood

I love scarves, but a friend gave me a Burberry snood for Christmas one year and I have used it ever since! When worn around the neck, it looks like a chunky scarf, but you can easily flip it up to work as a hood, keeping your head and ears warm on a day you forget a hat or some earmuffs.


My Burberry snood isn’t sold anymore, but here is another option from them that is available this season.

This snood is the perfect counterpart to the Rag and Bone ear warmer mentioned earlier. I love the speckled detail.

Both of these options are on the pricier end, but again, Etsy is a great place to look for cheaper options. That being said, I think this is a great investment piece that may be worth a splurge; you will be using it for years!


4. Knee-high flat black boots

Boots and thick wool socks keep your feet toasty no matter how cold it gets. Flat boots are comfortable and still add a bit of stylishness to any basic outfit. You can wear them over skinny jeans or under more wide-legged pants as you see fit. Remember to get them waterproofed before wearing them in the rain, and keep in mind that if you buy a good pair, they can last forever! I bought a pair of black Frye boots during my first year in New York and they have lasted me ten years, only having to be resoled twice.


I have these Frye Melissa boots in black, and like I said, they have lasted me ten years. I think they’re casual enough to wear with jeans, but also elegant enough to wear for a night out.

For a slightly more elegant choice, try these Tory Burch boots. The gold decal is fairly subtle, but adds a little sparkle to your step.

This option from Michael Kors is on sale and looks very cute on. The calf is also elasticized, which allows almost everyone to be able to wear it comfortably!

5. Dark rinse/black skinny jeans

Most people will have these already, and they can seamlessly go from fall to winter. Pair them with a good pair of boots for a great winter day outfit.

6. Sweaters

There are three sweaters that every woman should have in her closet: a black turtleneck, a chunky white sweater, and a tan crewneck. Cashmere is arguably the warmest material, but merino wool is a cheaper option that will still keep you warm. These three styles can be paired with skirts, jeans, or more formal bottoms to create dozens of outfits. You can find good quality sweaters anywhere. I have three of the same sweater from Aqua, Bloomingdale’s own juniors brand, which have lasted years. I also like J. Crew Factory, GAP, and Banana Republic for basics.


7. A brightly colored tote

I’ve gone on and on about blacks, grays, and other neutral tones, but sometimes you do need to add a little bit of color to brighten up a gloomy winter day. Most days, I carry a black leather tote, but a fun colored bag is definitely a pick me up. Kate Spade and Michael Kors both are great options for these bags, which you can continue using once it warms up a bit in the spring!


This bag comes in a variety of different colors. (The Saffiano leather is also extremely durable and scratch-proof).

These smaller options from Kate Spade and The Cambridge Satchel Company are great for a weekend day filled with brunch and winter activities (Christmas tree decorating, etc.)


8. A pair of warm gloves

One of the worst things about cold weather is how cold your hands get. Unfortunately, in the age of smartphones, it is challenging to find a pair of gloves that you can still text/e-mail with. I am firmly in the camp of taking a technology holiday when it’s freezing outside, but some of my friends prefer fingerless gloves when they’re out and about so they can continue to use their phones. A lot of companies make “tech friendly” gloves, but I’ve never found one that works well. Gloves are another place where you can let your personality shine through since there are all kinds of options! Glittens are a great option for people who want to be able to use their fingertips but also keep them covered at most times. I have a hard time finding them in the right size because my hands are very small, but for most people, this is a good option.


For a splurge, I love these quilted gloves. The leather is work-appropriate, and they look super warm, thanks to the lambskin. Meanwhile, the gold exposed zipper adds a little sass to your outfit. They’re definitely on the pricey end, but keep in mind that gloves can last forever—I have a pair that I have had for over 20 years that I still wear on occasion!


One place I always turn to for cheap, good winter accessories is Target. It’s great to be able to save when you’ve spent all of your money on a winter coat! These flip-top gloves give you versatility and have cute faux-fur accents.