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No matter how long you’ve lived in a cold climate, dressing for winter is never easy. I grew up in Michigan, so when it’s cold outside, people from warmer climates will often ask me, “Are you used to it?” The answer is no, you never get used to the frigid temperatures that hit around this time of year.

Although we’ve had a mild winter, I’m still thinking of the many different ways that I can layer up more especially with fashion week around the corner. I was recently chatting with a Canadian friend and I realized she low-key has all the answers when it comes to seasonal dressing and layers. This led me to want to ask a few more of them what they might suggest.

The results were outstanding and I found myself even learning new words like toque which is basically what Canadians call a beanie. Below, find the winter dressing and layering hacks as told to me by five Canadians.

How long did you live in Canada? I lived in Toronto my whole life. I moved away in my mid 20’s and now live in L.A. Can you recall the lowest temps you’ve faced? Negative 25 Celsius. What are your favorite items to layer with? I love a tight long-sleeve bodysuit from Clyque the label, add in heavy knitwear from Toteme, and then finish off with a cropped puffer jacket! Any tips for someone facing their first winter? If you have good thermal base layers under your clothes, you will be fine! I love Perfect Moment base layers. 

How long have you lived in Canada? I was born and raised in Vancouver Canada (still live here but travel in and out of Vancouver all the time!). Can you recall the lowest temps you’ve faced? Negative 30 Celsius (that’s -22 degrees Fahrenheit). What are your favorite items to layer with? I love Skims long johns, ALO turtlenecks, North Face puffer jackets, and Aritzia Super Puffs. Any tips for someone facing their first winter? Moisturizer, toque, moon boots, fuzzy socks.

How long have you lived in Canada? I immigrated to Canada from London, England in 1980. I’ve been living in Canada now for 43 years. Whoa. I live in Ottawa, Canada, the nation’s capital. Can you recall the lowest temps you’ve faced? Yes, definitely. Each winter, the temperature with the windchill dips to anywhere between -30ºC and -40ºC. It gets pretty chilly here. What are your favorite items to layer with? I love to layer with pieces from Icebreaker. They are made of light and breathable merino wool which keeps me warm when I’m out walking my dog or hiking in the winter. I also love to go skating outdoors, so these pieces are a must. Because it gets so cold here, you have to dress warmly which means giant boots, huge parka, mittens, hats, scarves—you name it. There are days though when I am so sick of that “Arctic explorer” look, so I will reach for my beautiful camel hair and full-length coat. To build a stylish yet warm outfit, I will put on a merino wool crew-neck and layer a thick cashmere sweater or turtleneck over it. I will also put on my merino wool leggings or knit tights and layer a great pair of wool wide-leg pants over that. I also just purchased a pair of warm kitten heel boots with a pointed toe that looks so great peeking out from under wide-leg pants. I’ll wear merino wool or cashmere socks too that keep my feet warm. Stay out of the slush though to keep your boots safe! Lastly, I reach for my warm blanket scarf from Acne which just looks great with everything. It’s so big that it keeps both my neck and shoulders warm! Any tips for someone facing their first winter? Yes. Invest in the warmest parka/puffer coat you can afford. Opt for a down-fill or down-fill alternative. Most of these puffer coats these days will tell you which temperatures their coats will keep you warm in, which is nice. The same goes for boots. Look for waterproof boots that will keep your feet warm and that have good tread. Someone facing their first winter will also need a pair of warm mittens, hat, scarf, and thermal wear. When shopping for cold-weather clothing, look for items made with natural fabrics. They will keep you warm and snuggly, but also cool and comfortable while indoors. And layer, layer, layer! You can always remove layers if you get too toasty as opposed to being uncomfortable in one piece of thick, heavy clothing. If you see a coat in a fun color or trendy style but don’t think it will be warm enough for the winter temperatures, buy it in a size up so that you can layer cozy clothing underneath it. Buy a size up in all of your coats to ensure you can layer well!

How long did you live in Canada? I’ve lived in Canada most of my life. However, I did live in London UK for a number of years and am now currently based between my two homes in Vancouver and Los Angeles. I was born in Calgary Alberta and moved to Salt Spring Island when I was 8 years old. Salt Spring is a beautiful small island off the coast of Vancouver in British Columbia. I highly recommend visiting this special place. Can you recall the lowest temps you’ve been faced with? Growing up in Calgary as a kid I experienced some extremely cold winters. I would have to say -40 Celsius is probably the coldest weather I’ve braved. The icy winters are a large reason why my family decided to move to BC where the weather is typically much milder. What are your favorite items to layer with? I love my Ganni floor-length wool duster jacket. It’s the perfect cozy coat to throw on over basically anything and feel like I’m in a chic bathrobe. I’m also a fan of layering a puffer vest under any oversize coat for added warmth. If you need maximum toastiness I’m currently obsessed with Griffin Studio’s sleeping bag coats.  Any tips for someone facing their first Winter? Don’t forget your gloves and toque!

How long did you live in Canada?  I lived in Toronto until I was 17 and then in Montreal, where I went to McGill University until I was 21. I am back in Canada all the time with my family and still consider it home. Can you recall the lowest temps you’ve faced? Montreal was the coldest—and windiest! I remember school was canceled a couple of times because of how frigid and stormy it was. The coldest? Eek! Probably -25 degrees Celsius. What are your favorite items to layer with? I love knit turtlenecks under chunky knit sweaters. Any tips for someone facing their first winter? Buy the softest scarf, biggest coat, strongest boots, thickest pants, and fuzziest hat. Also, your eyes will water and create icicles—wear a hood!!

Up Next: The 17-Piece Wardrobe All the French Girls Will Wear in 2023

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