Winterizing Your Warm-Weather Wardrobe


I was so excited to kiss all my serious cold-weather clothing good-bye when we moved to Texas from the Midwest five years ago.

Houston weather is far more suitable for me, as I’m known for snuggling under a fleece blanket when our A/C is on no matter how hot it is outside.

I happily ditched my down parka and snow boots. But I did keep many of my “winter” clothes and accessories, thinking I’d finally be able to wear the cute boots/sweater or flannel/scarf/poncho combo everyone in the south thinks northerners wear all winter. {If you don’t know: it’s way too cold to be cute in Chicago in February.}

woman winterizes her warm weather wardrobe with jeans and a lightweight cape sweater
This is not how I dressed for midwestern winter!

For the five years I’ve lived in Houston, our winters have been mild {except of course a certain cold snap last February that I doubt I have to remind anyone about}. So, alas, my heavier boots and scarves have mostly stayed in my closet.

I have found ways to stave off boredom and change my wardrobe for the seasons, even when shorts, tank tops and sundresses have been weather-appropriate nearly year round.

Here are a few ideas to get your wardrobe feeling winter-ready even if it’s still 80 degrees outside.


This is a simple one! I tend to wear a lot of black, and black works WAY better when the temps and sun are slightly less oppressive than in summer months.

I choose black or other muted colors (Army green, dusty rose) during fall/winter and keep my bright colored clothing for the spring/summer months.

Black is so versatile. I love wearing an oversize cardigan or duster in a print over a simple outfit like this one: light-weight, sleeveless black blouse, denim, black booties. This works for lunch plans, going into my kids’ school for something, or casual dinner out.

woman in jeans, button up shirt and cardigan
Layers and black are winter wardrobe staples in my closet!

I also find myself searching for those “muted” colors in rompers, jumpsuits, or maxi dresses during the summer months so that I can save those pieces for winter. Look for pieces that will work well layered with cardigans, denim jackets, or vests in cooler temps. This maxi dress is a go-to for me; I love the muted lavender camo print. I pair it with sneakers and a casual cardigan in cooler weather to take kids to the playground or run errands. It’s comfy but it feels like an outfit.

woman's winter wardrobe includes muted maxi dress with long cardigan
Look for light weight items during the summer that come in muted or dark colors for winter.

Denim Jacket

Yes, you need one. It’s worth searching for a great fit and something you really love! Mine has pearls along the shoulders which make me feel so polished even though, of course, it’s just a jean jacket. Paired with a cropped cotton jumpsuit, I can dress either of these pieces up or down with accessories and shoes. OH, and can I also mention that a closed-toed sling-back or mule gives off a winter vibe without adding much heat to your feet. These Steve Madden flats are a favorite of mine.

woman in black romper with denim jacket
Denim jacket, black jumpsuit, snakeskin print mules. Casual, easy, chic!

Add a Kimono Cardigan to your wardrobe

I’m a big fan of the flowing kimono cardigan trend for two main reasons: first, laying a kimono cardigan over a dress or tank gives body coverage but little warmth. Second, it can dress up otherwise casual pieces. Perfect for date-night or happy hour with girlfriends: lace kimono cardigan, strappy printed camisole, jeans, stacked heels, and a velvet headband.

woman with jeans, top and kimono

winter wardrobe outfit laid on bedMaterials Matter

It stinks planning a specific outfit far in advance of say, New Years Eve, and having to change last minute because it’s too hot to comfortably wear. I now gravitate towards long-sleeved party tops with a little sparkle that are gauzy/sheer that I can either wear with a vest over for chilly weather or camisole underneath when it’s hot.

Materials like faux fur, velvet, and leather also evoke “winter” to me. You can play with using accessories, like headbands or scrunchies, to keep these warm-weather appropriate.

Velvet evokes a winter feeling- even when worn with a tank top!three velvet headbands covered in pearlsI also want to give a shout-out to the maxi shirt trend I’m seeing. This top would never work in Houston summer heat! But I like it a lot for winter. Bonus: because it’s paneled to be open at the bottom, it would be breastfeeding friendly, too!

woman in jeans and sleeveless wrap top

When all else, fails, layer, layer, layer

Yes, sometimes it gets really cold. When it does, I layer the heck out of my clothes. This is the best way to make your light weight wardrobe work for you during those rare cold snaps! Instead of buying a bulky, heavy pullover sweater, for example, you can get more use out of cardigans, chambray button-ups, and a graphic tee that you might wear separately during warmer weather and layered during cold.

One of my favorite things about Texas winter: being able to wear all the cute ankle booties I couldn’t wear in the midwestern snow!

woman in jeans and layers on top
Layers for warmth. Then discard as needed!
winter wardrobe outfit laid out on bed
Layers are bae

And most likely, you’ll end up like this. 😉

woman in winter wardrobe with denim shirt tied around her waist
That’s Houston for ya!

Whatever you wear this winter, I hope you wear it with confidence and a smile. Stay cool and comfortable, my friends!


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Mary B
Mary B. is a lifelong creative, dreamer, and joy seeker. Born and raised in northern Illinois, Mary attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, receiving her B.F.A. in acting, then worked as a sometimes actress/model, sometimes waitress. Mary and her husband got married in Sept 2012, welcomed a son in 2014, moved to Texas from Chicago in 2016, and welcomed a daughter in 2017, completing their family. She self-publishes her musings on marriage, motherhood, and life on her blog, Accidentally Texan,. In her free time {free time--ha!} Mary loves to read, cook {and eat ;)}, work out, swim, travel, and spend time with her family. Mary believes emotional connection is the root of humanity and our collective purpose in life.


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