8 Ways to Dress Like a Californian This Winter
Style for when you descend from the mountains
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Winter may be approaching, but for those of us who live in milder climates, the changing seasons don’t demand Gore-Tex and layers of insulation. If the harshest weather you have to plan for is a chilly bite in the morning air and the occasional rain, winter streetwear can be simplified to a good flannel, a comfy sweater, a couple of jackets, and some water-resistant footwear.
These eight women’s apparel pieces, tested on the Southern California coast, are perfect for everyday wear in places where winter is an excuse to cozy up, not a reason to bundle up.
Stetson Kelso Outdoor Hat ($90)
Just because temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about sun protection. Shield your face with the wide-brim Stetson Kelso, which is crushable and water-resistant. Conscious shoppers will appreciate the faux leather band and the fact that all Stetson hats are made in the USA. Its sturdy, 100 percent wool construction has made it our go-to work hat this season.
Finisterre Solus Waterproof Parka ($298)
Based out of Cornwall, England, Finisterre knows how to build gear for the cold, but we really like its progressive approach to sustainable production. The Solus parka is free of fluorocarbons (these chemicals are what make traditional DWRs harmful to the environment) and made with 100-percent recycled polyester insulation. This lightweight jacket is the perfect waterproof companion for a wet winter. We wore it on long walks through early-season rainstorms and stayed bone dry.
Topo Sherpa Jacket ($149)
It seems like every brand has a Sherpa jacket this season, but Topo’s reversible one is our favorite. We love wearing the fleece on the outside, then flipping to the DWR-treated windbreaker fabric when weather rolls in. The front hem is scalloped and the cut is a bit cropped, so the Sherpa is best worn with high-waisted pants to keep the chill off your torso. And the boxy cut means you can fit a chunky sweater underneath.
Mollusk Teddy Sweater ($140)
The only problem with Mollusk’s Teddy sweater is that you’ll want to wear it every day. The cropped cut is flattering, and the wool-Alpaca blend is extra plush. Thanks to the high neck and a little extra length in the sleeves, you can wear a base layer (like Smartwool Intraknit Merino 200) underneath without it showing through the collar or cuffs.
Patagonia High Fjord Flannel Shirt ($89)
With way too many plaid flannels in the closet, we were looking for a warm button-down that’s slightly elevated from the lumberjack look. The Patagonia High Fjord flannel is made from 100 percent organic cotton and comes in white, plum, and a number of plaids.
Amuse Society Good Company Pants ($75)
When it’s chilly but not freezing, rock a pair of cropped pants. These high-waisted corduroys from Amuse Society will keep you snuggly yet airy with a wide-leg ankle cut.
Topo Mountain Socks ($22)
Favorite. Socks. Ever. Topo’s wool Mountain socks are thick, warm, and comfortable. We’re as happy hiking in them as we are sleeping them, and we love the Funfetti-like marl. We’ve been wearing them for three months straight with many washes, and they show no signs of wearing out. Buy a few pairs for yourself and throw a couple more in the shopping cart for stocking stuffers.
Vans Ultrarange 3D Chelsea Boots ($100)
The traditional Chelsea boot meets Vans’s casual-cool sensibility in the Ultrarange 3D Chelsea, a boot-sneaker combo that’s perfect for casual hikes and cruising around town. The neoprene collar and jacquard pull tabs make these easy to take on and off for surf sessions, and a water-resistant suede upper makes them a good choice for wet or muddy weather.