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How to Dress Warm for Winters in DC

Plus, winter essentials to add to your wardrobe

Photograph by Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy.
Winter Things to Do

About Winter Things to Do

Lace up skates, dine in an igloo, go stargazing, drink a hot cocktail. Here are lots of places and ways to delight in the season, whether you’re chilling outside or getting cozy indoors.

Preparing for a winter outing starts in your closet. Teece Nowell—founder of the nature-immersion school River’s Edge Forest Play in West River, Maryland—gives us the lowdown.

Layer Up

“Layering is a huge key to being comfortable,” says Nowell. “The best setup is a base layer of good, comfortable wool, then a second layer of fleece. Wool socks and good boots are vital as well. If it’s very cold, I like a vest to keep the core body warm, then a fleece-lined shell. Of course, a hat keeps the heat in the body.”

Mind the Materials

Cotton, which can absorb moisture instead of wicking it away, should be avoided, says Nowell. Instead, she suggests “good wool, like Merino,” or even silk. Wool, she cautions, can be problematic when wet, so she suggests using it only as a base. Nowell recommends topping off your look with breathable synthetic fabrics, such as polypropylene, which help wick moisture. Vented clothing allows for added airflow if you start sweating while bundled up.

Stay Moving

“The trick to staying warm is twofold,” says Nowell. Having the right gear is essential, but you also have to keep blood flowing. At River’s Edge Forest Play, students spend the days hiking, climbing, and exploring the forest. “Anyone is going to get cold if you sit still,” Nowell says, no matter what you’re wearing.

Shop It

Kids Lifa Merino Base Layer Set, $75


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Whiteout Faded women’s winter boots, $160


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Everyday Cozy Lodge Crew Socks, $27


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Photographs courtesy of retailers.
This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

Amy Moeller
Fashion & Weddings Editor

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.