How to Make Practical Winter Accessories Look Cool

It’s suddenly, actually cold in New York, and the thought of walking home in this weather with bags of groceries clasped in my bare hands has deterred me enough to start ordering takeout three or more nights a week. I know the solution is simple: I should wear gloves. But the truth is, I don’t own a pair. I don’t own them for the same reason that I don’t own a single scarf or a winter hat — they make me feel like an off-brand version of myself. Silly, stuffy and overly utilitarian — all the things I seek to avoid with my typical sense of style, which frequently involves Nike sneakers, leather pants and funky cowboy boots. Even though the idea of bundling up on a bitterly cold New York day is enticing, it hasn’t convinced me to sacrifice my fundamental pillars of style for pom pom beanies and cable-knit gloves.

I suppose I’d rather feel physically cold than aesthetically uncool, but I can’t help fantasizing about a world in which I have it all: warmth and my authentic style simultaneously. So, I challenged myself to find hats, scarves, and gloves that could fit within my existing wardrobe proclivities. Continue below to see how it went.

Playing with proportions can cure a case of stuffiness

Laying eyes on this tecnicolor puffer scarf by KULE was the first time I thought of a winter accessory as legitimately fun. It’s as puffy as a cumulus cloud, offering a dose of whimsy to my look, and is so bright and graphic that it transforms a plaid overcoat into somewhat of a neutral. Tempted by an additional smidge of voluminous fun, I selected a pair of puffer gloves to shield my hands. Lastly, I selected a thick black headband rather than a hat for the perfect dose of sleek textural contrast.

Mixing and matching textures can provide an always-welcome dose of opulence

For my second look, I opted for a fuzzy Kangol hat with the intention of disrupting two status quos: one, that beanies deserve to be the default winter topper and two, that summer deserves to be the default season for bucket hats. The cozy head-cuddle was a nice bonus, but Nora telling me that I looked like a beautiful LL Cool J was the real cherry on top. I figured this two-toned Acne scarf would be an ideal companion to the Kangol due to its similar jewel-toned fuzziness. I also doubled down on leather purely for the odd satisfaction of my gloves feeling like an extension of my coat (not unlike those converse from the ‘00s that laced so far up the leg that they turned into pants).

Color coordination can be a prime approach when aiming to look purposeful

Although I kept my distance from pom pom beanies and cable-knit gloves, I consider it a feat that I was able to incorporate some quintessential knit accessories and still make the outfit feel like “me.” I selected these particular mittens and a beanie because their similarly round shape was complementary, but their respective Miranda Hobbes green and melodramatic purple colorways offered a dynamic contrast. I took things one step further by fully committing to duochrome, adding a violet puffer and punky emerald checked scarf.

By the end of the experiment, I had a revelation: If I devote the same energy to scouting cold weather accessories as I do to finding cool handbags and statement earrings, I can absolutely achieve a result that is equally aesthetically satisfying. That, plus finding alternatives that feel fresh without sacrificing warmth (i.e. a fuzzy bucket hat instead of a pom pom beanie) is my newly minted formula for winter accessorizing.

What brands or tricks do you swear by when you set out to bundle with style? I’m waiting in the comments with a spare pair of gloves.

Photos by Edith Young.

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