Abercrombie beanie (sold out — similar*) // The Range sweater* (sold out) // Grenson Boots* // Madewell Jeans*
Happy 2021, friends! I realize I am posting this yonks after I had intended. So far, my January 2021 has looked something like this: first week depressed; second week so busy with Day Job I could cry; third week sick. Not COVID-sick thankfully, but still. This year — like I’m sure for many — has not been shaping up to how I hoped. I ended 2020 with a long walk with Nick, the two of us hand-in-hand planning our goals, our new habits, our dreams, with a fresh wintery air about us, feeling like 2021 was brimming with potential. Now? It’s hard to remember those two.
But, alas, time goes on. And I’m here to help us all decide the forever daunting question: what to wear in Winter. This Winter Capsule Wardrobe update is not like my other Capsule Wardrobe posts. Namely because, like the title, it’s more of an ‘update,’ rather than a full-blown capsule. I don’t know about you, but I tend to dress relatively the same in Autumn and Winter — jeans, boots, sweater, all day every day. So, I didn’t see the need to show you guys a full blown “Wardrobe” for Winter, as my Autumn list covers most of what I’m wearing.
Rather, these are the specific Wintery pieces I yank out of the closet and wear regularly once the cold months set in. I realize that most of us are still, quite literally, in pajamas. (Hello, my name is Erin, and I live in California, where lockdown never actually ended). But as we have ushered in a new year — and, as I said, I’m already feeling kind of crap about 2021 — I’ve been making a bigger effort to get dressed daily. To feel cute, and polished, just for myself.
So, if your 2021 looks a little like mine thus far. I’m here to remind you: get up. Put on jeans and a sweater. And you’ll maybe feel just a little better.
What I’m Adding to my Capsule Wardrobe in Winter
So, I will admit, I am not always the best at styling layers. Sometimes cumbersome, often difficult to pair — I am much better with a ‘jeans and top’ combination. But, when that wintery chill really sets in (a.k.a, the temperature inside my San Francisco apartment), layers are necessary. Kotn’s Fitted Longsleeve shirts* are my absolute favorite for layering (I wear a Medium). Sustainably and ethically crafted — and at brilliant prices — all of Kotn’s pieces are worth investing in* (when sizes are actually available!). Even Nick loves the men’s tees.
I also constantly reach for a thick, cozy cardigan this time of year, especially if coming in and out of climates. Part cool and cozy, part Gandalf-Wizard-chic, the Lauren Manoogian Capote Hooded Sweater-Coat* is a big investment, for sure (I bought mine on massive sale!). But its classic style and impeccable quality mean it’s a lifetime investment piece. I also toss my ADAY Like a Boss sweatshirt* onto my long sleeves for comfy working from home days, hikes, and even date-night dinners. (I’d actually include this top in a year-round capsule, because the nature of the fabric is incredibly versatile for many seasons/weathers).
San Francisco’s isn’t exactly arctic. So some of these accessories I save for when we travel further afield to the mountains, back to the East Coast, or the UK (like I’ve done any of that in 2020…). That said, my trusty Colorful Standard Merino Wool Beanie is my morning-walk companion, keeping cold ears at bay. I tend not to wear scarves most days (again, San Francisco…), but I will always have one handy for travel. ADAY’s Oversea Scarf* is a sustainably made, more affordable dupe for that famous White & Warren one (which is horrible quality –if you’re looking for a cashmere scarf, buy the ADAY one). If price is an issue, the & Other Stories Wool Fringed Blanket Scarf is $59, an absolute steal for 100% wool. I have it in Beige, and it’s held up great over the past couple of years.
I am a sucker for cozy socks, but long gone are my days of buying 100% polyester cheap winter iterations. Instead, I opt for socks made of 100% wool — sustainably harvested yak, camel, or sheep – on Etsy. These cute deer ones* are my most recent pair that keep my feet toasty warm.I so rarely wear dresses, but in the winter if I don a frock, you know I need tights. Swedish Stockings* are one of the only sustainable tight companies available, and I can attest the quality is fantastic.
In terms of shoes, Winter means upping your rugged-soled, fleece-lined, wool-made game, which is another reason I love Winter so much. My most recent love is the Allbirds Wool Pipers* (Size 8), which are the Winter Wool version of the ubiquitous White Sneaker (sustainable, and at a great price, too). The fact you can wear them without socks and your feet stay toasty is *chef’s kiss*.
A WINTER COAT
I strongly believe people fall into one of two categories. They are coat people (me); or they are not coat people (my husband, who routinely says to me, “One coat is enough.”). I think I relish most in winter purely because I get to don a coat over my outfit. Heck, I’ve even written a whole blog post dedicated to coats (or maybe even two posts…). When the Winter chill comes in, it’s time to up your coat game — otherwise known as “do what the Canadians do.” Canadian brand Aritzia has is my favorite stop for coats. Imagine designs as cool as Zara, but with higher quality, recycled materials that are designed to withstand -20°C temps. The Aritizia Slouch Coat (Size S) is my personal favorite, similar to the one I featured in my Autumn Capsule Wardrobe but much warmer.
If your activities are sporty, less city, I’d opt for a puffer coat. No longer the geeky attire our parents forced us into as kids, puffer coats are a street-style cool, ‘throw on and go’ piece that works alongside most outfits. Patagonia* make some of my favorites; I especially love the shorter Silent Down* version. For another sustainable alternative, Allbirds* have come out with a very cropped, super-cool one I’m tempted to buy.
Ahh, the humble chunky knit. Somehow slouchy yet sophisticated, street-style cool yet polished and put-together. If one were to write sonnets in this modern day, I dare say they would be for the chunky knit. I live for this oversized style, more-so than its thinner, more dainty cousin, the ‘light knit.’ I am virtually wearing one now as we speak (by Lunya, similar here*, if you’re curious). And while the Capsule Wardrobe Guru in me wants to gently remind you that “You really only need a couple,” my heart — and wardrobe — knows this to be a lie.
In general, look for natural fibres (wool, cotton, cashmere) at over 50% content to keep you warm and more eco-minded. Many brands will discuss the functional benefits of the specific fabric they use. My favorite ones I’ve purchased this year are the Ava Jumper by Sir the Label (size 2 in black), Chunky Mohair Sweater by Plexida on Etsy* (in honey — supporting small business, too!), and the Cashmere Fisherman Sweater by Jenni Kayne* (Size S in Undyed Stone, but could go to an M).
The (Mostly) Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe Winter Update: My Picks
DARKER JEANS // AGOLDE* (SUSTAINABLE)
THICK CARDIGAN // LAUREN MANOOGIAN* (SUSTAINABLE)
SWEATER DRESS // REFORMATION* (SUSTAINABLE)
CROSSBODY BAG // CELINE*
TIGHTS // SWEDISH STOCKINGS* (SUSTAINABLE)
ZIP SWEATSHIRT // REFORMATION* (SUSTAINABLE)
FLEECE-LINED LEGGINGS // SUMMERSALT*
WOOL TRAINERS // ALLBIRDS* (SUSTAINABLE)
WOOL SOCKS // MONGOLIAN HANDCRAFTS ON ETSY* (SUSTAINABLE)
PUFFER COAT // PATAGONIA* (SUSTAINABLE)
LONG SLEEVE TEES // KOTN* (SUSTAINABLE)
SHERPA BOOTS // GRENSON*
WOOL HAT // COLORFUL STANDARD (SUSTAINABLE)
FAIRISLE SWEATER // FRAME*
CASHMERE LOUNGE SET // NAADAM TOP* / BOTTOMS* (SUSTAINABLE)
SCARF // ACNE STUDIOS*
UTILITARIAN BOOTS // DEAR FRANCES* (MADE SUSTAINABLY)
BLACK JEANS // RE/DONE* (SUSTAINABLE)
CHUNKY KNIT // SIR THE LABEL*
WINTER COAT // ARITZIA (MADE WITH RECYCLED MATERIALS)
Save For Later
*Links indicate affiliate links. This means, if you choose to purchase the product linked here, I will make a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you. Considering this post took me close to 12 hours to put together, it is very, very appreciated. Thank you for supporting sustainable brands, and thank you for supporting this blog!