How to Stay Warm Without the Bulk

These silhouettes will keep you toasty without looking like the Michelin Man

Liz Lange sweater

Credit: Photo courtesy of Completely Me by Liz Lange

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Just right for the office or a holiday party, this burgundy-colored knit sweater from Completely Me by Liz Lange is plenty cozy. The suede-like “belt” and gold buckle adds pizzazz and cinches in to accentuate your curves. $89.90

Lands End Houndstooth Ruana

Credit: Photo courtesy of Lands' End

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Bundle up in this soft, acrylic houndstooth pancho-styled scarf from Lands’ End to stay shielded from the coldest elements. It’s a warm, full wrap (and a lighter version of the company’s wool ruana) that can be worn draped over your shoulders and secured with a brooch. Or just pull one end over the opposite shoulder and wear it loose. $49

Free Country Coat

Credit: Photo courtesy of Free Country

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Running errands in a bulky coat is neither stylish nor comfortable. Skirt the issue with Free Country’s innovative Transcend softshell down jacket. It combines the warmth and comfort of a down coat with the functionality of softshell — outerwear that’s more breathable, flexible and comfortable than Gore-Tex. Bonus: It’s wind- and water-resistant. $75

J. Jill Fair Isle Topper

Credit: Photo courtesy J. Jill

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This Fair Isle Topper conjures images of ice skating or sledding down a hill. And while it seems to emulate Grandma's style, this cardigan has some key upgrades, including decorative antiqued-metal beads and a flattering V-neckline. The front patch pockets are practical spots for your keys and the fabric is just the right blend of acrylic and wool to keep it from being itchy. $149

Lands' End Power Stretch Vest

Credit: Photo courtesy of Lands’ End

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On temperate days, a vest can be your best friend, especially the PrimaLoft Power Stretch Vest from Lands’ End, designed with a close-to-the-body fit. Surprisingly lightweight, it has a ripstop nylon shell that truly blocks the breeze. Other feats of engineering include Power Stretch side panels to wick away moisture and prevent overheating, a generous amount of spandex to maximize mobility and, of course, PrimaLoft insulation to add warmth without weight. $79

Outdoor Research Aria Storm Parka in Orchid

Credit: Photo courtesy of Outdoor Research

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The Aria Storm Parka from Outdoor Research is a great all-weather coat. It may look thin, but this thigh-length jacket is toasty warm and ultralight, with insulation that resists rain, sleet and snow. It’s practical, too, featuring two zippered hand pockets and a fully adjustable and removable hood. $275

Boden USA Essential Crew Neck Tee

Credit: Photo courtesy of Boden USA

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Wearing a shirt close to your skin holds in heat — and the Lightweight Layering Tee from Boden USA is made for that. This 100-percent soft jersey cotton top has a fitted shape and full-length sleeves and finishes at the low hip, creating an ideal microfiber foundation for a cold romp around the park. $34 

Uniqlo Coats

Credit: Photo courtesy Uniqlo

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It’s hard to imagine how such a thin jacket could be so warm, but Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down Jacket will keep you warm all winter long. It features a contemporary take on traditional quilting and an ultra-fine shell (made of nylon, down and feathers). It smooshes up into nothing, so you can easily stow it in its attached pouch. Perfect for that upcoming ski trip!

Ibex Pez wweater

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When you can get away with just a long hooded sweater, the Pez Long Sweater by Ibex will keep you feeling snuggly. Made with New Zealand merino wool that’s been milled using moisture heat and mechanical compression, the result is soft, lightweight and durable. Its semi-fit cut stays close to the body and the double-face fabric offers two colors for a more refined look. $225

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To stay truly toasty during winter months, you once needed to don the biggest, puffiest down coat you could find. Fortunately, the days of bulky outerwear are a thing of the past, thanks to new textiles and layering fabrics that have been developed to keep us warm without making us look like human marshmallows.
We’ve also become smarter about the benefits of wearing several thin layers, says designer Liz Lange. “Lighter layers gives you the ability to shed them as the weather changes,” she says. “Plus, you’ll feel more comfortable than if you piled on a few thick ones.”
Another good rule of thumb is turning to lighter, natural fabrics like cashmere and silk. “Cashmere is soft, lightweight and an amazing insulator,” Lange says. “And because silk is one of the most tightly woven fabrics, it doesn’t let cold air through. Wearing it close to the body is a great way to keep warm.”

If you’re going for a slim silhouette, make a point of avoiding loose or baggy sweaters. They might feel warm and cozy, but they add unwanted bulk. “Any clothing with texture is naturally on the more voluminous side,” says Deepika Mehra, a senior fashion designer at J.Jill. “Layering with finer, lighter-weight pieces works way better to shield you during a cold, windy day.”
As with all smart dressing, seek out clothing that fits your frame, not what’s trendy — or, in the case of winter, oversize items that you think will keep you warmer. “If it’s so cold that you need to wear a down coat, find one that’s lightweight and wear a superfine sweater underneath,” Mehra says. “It may seem light, but it’s actually quite warm and will never make you look larger than life.”
See slideshow for nine flattering ways to warm up this winter.

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