Winter Outfit Advice

The problem that most fashionista’s face is we want to look good, without compromising on comfort and practicality. In winter it’s so hard to do this; many stylish coats are a sheet’s width thick and do nothing to protect from the cold and winds. If you want comfort and class, you have to spend hundreds (and that’s just not something I’m happy doing!).

So in winter, layering becomes our best friend. You need a minimum of 3 layers, though preferably 4 or 5 (are you going in the snow? The more layers, the better!). You’ll have a base layer, a middle layer and an outer layer. Depending on whether or not it’s needed, you can also add a ‘shell’ layer – generally something that is waterproof or windproof – to cover your outer layer.

A shirt or singlet to start with (to keep your chest fully covered), then a long sleeve top (maybe 2 or 3!), then add a pullover or sweater, and finish off with a nice, fashionable coat. Ta-da!

coat - how to pack for winter in Japan | via Shiki Book Japansinglet - how to pack for winter in Japan | via Shiki Book Japanlong sleeve - how to pack for winter in Japan | via Shiki Book Japansweater - how to pack for winter in Japan | via Shiki Book Japan

Cotton and wool are your best options for material. Don’t grab any sheer fabrics! You’ll freeze! Now you’re free to explore your destination in comfort and warmth, but not only that, you’ll look fabulous doing it.


Now here is a good start to a winter packing list. Good luck!

Winter Japan Packing List

Winter packing list


I see a lot of winter outfit ideas around, where the model is wearing boots, leggings, a thin top and a nice scarf. Let me tell you right now, this is the worst combination you can possibly make. There is no protection from the weather in an outfit like that.

What NOT to wear in winter | via Shiki Book Japan

Don’t you look fabulous and freezing?

Looking for outfit ideas via internet search engines provides you with cute combinations, ranging from frilly cardigans to distressed jeans, wrap around scarves to skinny pants. Unfortunately, they give a false impression of what winter in Japan will really be like. They are the least bit practical. It’s also not the right opportunity to try out your new boot heels (as above) because snow gets ridiculously slippery.

thermal boots - what to wear in winter | via Shiki Book Japan

Thermal boots

stylish boots - what not to wear in winter | via Shiki Book Japan

Heeled boots

Opt for shoes that are practical and comfortable, because you’ll likely do a lot of walking. Boots are an excellent idea, yes, but don’t buy the cutest pair you see and expect them to keep you warm (or to be sturdy).
Are you planning to wear jeans in the winter? I might advise against it. Though jeans are great looking, they don’t keep you warm at all. In fact, the denim of jeans does quite the opposite – it becomes very cold. If you aren’t travelling when it’s snowing, jeans are versatile and can be worn atop thermal bases or stockings. However, stick to proper pants (snow pants!) if you’re skiing or doing other wintery activities.

My last bit of advice is to not leave any skin uncovered if the cold affects you greatly. Add scarves, gloves, ear warmers and knee-high socks to your ensemble. Instead of relying on your clothing to look fashionable, use your accessories. It’s very helpful when it gets cold – after all, who really wants to wear a cute dress or stylish suit when it’s so cold you can’t feel your toes?


What winter outfits have you worn? Comment below!

4 Responses to Winter Outfit Advice

  1. Elcho bebe says:

    Hi,I’m planning to visit Hokkaido on February.
    May I know if do not wear jeans during winter,what type of pants or outfit I can select for bottom part of body to keep warm?

    • Becky Lee says:

      Hello! February in Hokkaido is snowy and quite cold.
      It’s best to wear thermals under yours pants to avoid feeling the chill. It depends on what you are doing – a day spent doing things indoors, you can wear jeans with no issue. Fleece and wool are versatile and quite warm, but if you’re skiing or doing outdoor snow activities I would recommend using appropriate snow gear. Corduroy slacks and jeans, with an extra layer underneath (like thermals or leggings), will suffice for everyday wear, as long as the rest of you is covered up everywhere else too – thick coat, gloves, and scarf! Layering in winter is always your best friend 🙂

      • Elcho bebe says:

        Thanks for your reply…may I know is there can shop in Hokkaido have nice winter coat you would recommend?

  2. Becky Lee says:

    Hi Elcho! Uniqlo has a large range of winter gear and there are stores all over Japan.

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