Outdoor Women Winter Style Guide
While we talk a LOT about kids gear around here, doing our seasonal style guide for women is one of my favorite posts.
I love doing some searching to figure out what are the best styles for an active, outdoor lifestyle and testing them too, of course.
The team helped me put this together, and because testing is still happening, this post will be added to over the next few months. So check back often!
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Outdoor Women Winter Style: Tops
This top is soft and cozy and a great layer for when it’s chilly, but not super cold. I love the thumb holes and slits in the side for easy movement.
The Quantum II long sleeve zip hood jacket is a thin yet very warm sweater. It’s perfect for when you want a lot of warmth without adding a lot of bulk. The fit is snug, yet stretchy and flattering.
There is a tiny pocket near the front hem – perfect if you are baby wearing and find your carrier blocks your pocket access. Icebreaker is always high quality, and I know this sweater will see lots of use this fall and into winter.
This tunic is incredibly cozy and comfortable and works with leggings or jeans. The Sunday Summit Tunic is available in plus sizes too.
Outdoor Women Winter Style: Jackets & Shells
I am going to preface this section by saying I know these jackets aren’t cheap. They are an investment in your comfort and safety when you’re outdoors and you absolutely get what you pay for.
Of all the down jackets I have ever worn, this is by far my favorite. I think it’s mostly because my movement isn’t restricted at all. Available at Backcountry too.
While I do love the hybrid hoody style, it’s also available as a Stretchdown jacket.
The Odin softshell not only stretches for comfort, but also has maximum protection from the elements AND breathability. I love the helmet-compatible hood, easy zippers and chest pocket.
Another shell with STRETCH, yay! This one is a bit lighter than a true “hardshell”, but it works for everything I do. I used for downhill skiing, backcountry skiing and cross country skiing. I love that it doesn’t inhibit movement, has great pockets and a solid, adjustable hood.
Outdoor Women Winter Style: Snow Pants
Have I mentioned I am not crazy about finding pants that fit? Snow pants are MUCH harder than regular pants, in my opinion. I made an honest effort at the last Outdoor Retailer show in Denver to seek out snow pants that fit women of ALL body types well. These are my favorites.
So you pretty much have to buy from them direct to get this, BUT Obermeyer offers lengths in their snow pants, which is AMAZING for me. These fit perfectly and are very comfortable. Plus they have 4-way stretch which, again, means you can move and groove (and keep up with your kids) on the mountain.
The Switch cargo pants are flattering to many different body types with bootleg bottoms and a low rise fit. They are lightweight and breathable (with added ventilation zippers), but keep you dry.
NILS is working hard to truly make styles for ALL women and their pants reflect that. The Melissa pants have that 4-way stretch I love and they come in lengths, but they also have some really cute patterned ones too on their site.
Functional & Stylish Vests for Outdoor Women
I admit I am a total sucker for vests and may own a few that I wear regularly. Not only do they flatter styles, but they add that extra layer of warmth that works in all but the hottest seasons.
This responsibly-sourced RDS-certified down vest is lightweight, cozy and comes in a cute stripe design. The Cotopaxi Fuego is also available at REI.
This certified Fair Trade tunic-length vest is definitely the heaviest of the three, but a great way to add length and extra warmth.
I love this vest because while it does provide some great, technical warmth, it is also really lightweight. I wear it both as an insulating layer and on its own.
Fall Pants for Women
Pants are SO hard to get right for different body types. And, if you have a “mom-body” (In all it’s beautiful glory, mind you!), finding pants that fit can be even harder.
The pants below are my favorite for fitting a wide variety of body sizes and shapes.
For a gal who really doesn’t get along well with pants, I LOVE the Kontour straights from Kuhl. They fit well, have really great stretch while keeping their shape, and come up high enough I never worry about showing back skin.
The Snow Slayer is great for snowshoeing, winter hiking and nordic skiing. It’s a softshell pant that comes in size 2-14 with a zippered ankle to make going over boots easy. My only gripe? It doesn’t come in lengths. If you need a short or tall length, check out the Cold Killer pant.
The Halle Pant is the magical pant that fits almost every women. It comes in short, regular and tall. The Halle Straight also comes in plus sizes.
I love that it is stretchy, comfortable, a great all-season pant and also rolls up and secures to capri-length if needed.
Outdoor Women Winter Style: Leggings
Cold weather is just an excuse to wear base layers all the time AND they’re fashionable. Win, win! I wear leggings almost daily, usually with dresses or skirts or under my snow pants. But I am also really picky about them. These are ones I love.
I have had my Crash tights for a few years now and they are my go-to for cold weather. I wear them with skirts and dresses for everyday use, but also for nordic skiing and winter hiking. The exterior is a tight weave which blocks the wind, and the interior is a soft brushed fleece. I also love that there is a small pocket for necessities.
They also come in a variety of sizes, including “raisin” this year, which I am excited about.
I love Prana tights and these are no exception. They are supportive, yet soft and have a high rise top to handle pulling in all that “extra” from kids (moms, you know what I mean!) I personally think the Kimble patterns work great with the solid dresses shown below.
Columbia’s omni-heat technology really does work (I was skeptical for years and years), and these leggings are great as a base layer or with a skirt/dress.
Fall & Winter Skirts & Dresses for Outdoor Women
I admit I am a total sucker for dresses and skirts, especially ones I can wear all day long comfortablly.
I need to get another color of this dress (love that gold!) because I literally wore it multiple times a week last fall/winter/spring. It’s slightly thicker than the Guthrie dress below, it’s just like wearing a long sweatshirt.
Made of the same fabric as the Manresa hoodie above, this dress is one you can wear all day long and stay comfortable. I love the higher neck and feel of the fabric. If you don’t want it form-fitting, size up.
Of all the down skirts I have owned over the years (and, ahem, there have been a lot), this one is THE lightest while remaining the warmest with 800-fill. I love that the zipper in the front for easy on and off for layering.
Outdoor Women Winter Style: Fleece Tops
I love the coziness of fleece and the fact that colder weather means I can wear it all the time.
I love a long fleece jacket for keeping me warmer when I am wearing leggings and/or a skirt and this is my hands-down favorite for throwing on for just about everything. It stretches, has zippered pockets and a great hood.
This is a basic fleece, with great pile, a soft interior and it’s eco-conscious to boot. I love Cotopaxi’s bright colors. The Teca fleece is also available at REI.
I get more compliments when I wear this fleece than any other sweatshirt I own. It’s thick and cozy, has great details like the zipper + hood and thumbholes. Plus I just love the look of the fleece.
Fall Accessories for Outdoor Women
There’s really nothing worse than cold hands when it’s frigid out, and who doesn’t want some sleeping bags for their hands (AKA puff mitts).
My husband and I have been testing these merino socks out for the past few months and we are extremely impressed. They are soft, but still have great grip/form and work for all seasons. They are also super durable, which is a huge plus for us. Our new favorite socks!
Willow Balm is fantastic for those days when you have sore muscles from really getting after it on the snow. Made from natural ingredients, this is a must-have. You can find Willow Balm on Amazon or on their site.
Just Stay Warm Accessories for women
If you get cold easily, you have got to check out The Warming Store. They are the experts in heated clothing and the options are endless.
Team Member, Sarah, says: “The ActionHeat Battery Heated Puffer Vest is my absolute favorite new piece of gear! I’ve been loving this vest for chilly fall hikes, where I normally start out cold, gradually get warmer, then freeze again on the descent.”
The vest has 3 heat settings which are controlled by a push-button on the chest area. Within minutes of turning on the vest, the back and chest panels offer instant warmth. The 5V rechargeable battery lasts up to 4 hours, and there’s even a USB port so you can charge your phone.
The one thing we don’t love? The boxy fit. Although the vest is a women’s fit, the shape is very square, rather than being tapered. But this isn’t a huge deal breaker in my mind, since I usually wear a shell over the vest.
These gloves are light so you can go about your day and keep your skin protected, but have the added benefit of battery-operated heat.
The moment you press the ‘on’ button located at back of these ActionHeat Wool Socks, your toes will start feeling the heat. These wool-blend socks are comfy and not overly bulky (I tried them in both my trail running shoes and snowboard boots).
The rechargeable battery lasts up to 8 hours and they’re machine washable, after removing the battery of course.
Boots and Shoes for Outdoor Women
If you want something that works for both an urban environment and out in the mountains, these are for you. Columbia boots have great traction, are warm and fit well.
From Team Member, Stephanie:
I have a narrow heel, high arches and bunions which oftentimes translates into having a difficult time with fit for many different types of shoes. When I find a pair of boots I like they are usually a pair I wear for lifetime.
Already, I am so impressed by the Sperry Maritime Repel snow boots and know these will be boots that remain in my essentials’ wardrobe.They are a great addition to any winter wardrobe because they’re both feminine and functional. You can get away with wearing every day during the cold, dreary months.
Of utmost importance to me in the wintertime is having a boot that provides warmth. Within a minute of putting these boots on you can feel the thinsulate material hard at work keeping your feet warm. These shoes do a great job of insulating your feet all the way to the toes.
I love that this boot also has some style (shiny laces and the faux fur) cause let’s face it, there are a lot of boots that are functional but not fashionable. Additionally they have a zipper down the side and a loop in the back which makes them easy to take on and off.
I am so excited about these new boots from KEEN because they are essentially hiking boots with warmth. Perfect for hiking, snowshoeing and just getting outside in the snow. Rated to -40, they work for just about everything.
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Fall and Winter Style Guide for Outdoor Women
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