Did you ever wonder how Russian women look so fashionable during the cold winter months? It’s so difficult to keep warm and be so elegant! How to dress like a Russian woman in winter? Here are their secrets!
Winter in Russia is something only Russians can survive. We know this from history. In January (when it is the Orthodox Christmas) the average temperature in Moscow is around -10 and winter lasts for five months.
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For the curious traveller, winter Russia should be on his/her bucket list for a few reasons. One reason is to see the country in its most typical season even if this is challenging for you. To make this trip possible and enjoyable, one should do like the locals – when in Russia, dress like a Russian in winter!
Russian Winter Fashion
There are few things you will notice while wandering the streets of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the most visited cities of Russia. The fur coats and hats are very common among all people and can be found in different sizes, models, colours.
After spending some days in Russia during the coldest period of the year, you start to understand why fur is so popular here. The fur and wool are the only materials that can keep you warm for long periods of time.
Traditionally (and additionally to the classic Russian meals), Russian people use these natural materials for centuries and while now there are other synthetically produced thermal clothes, the traditions cannot be overridden. And let us be fair – fur coats and hats are SO beautiful and stylish.
Russian women are famous for their ability to stay stylish and active in cold weather. In this article in Vogue, you can read some insights from native Russian ladies how to be stylish and stay warm.
If you are animal rights activist, you may be thinking that all these fur products so popular in Russia are not a good idea but in the past the synthetic was non-existing and people all over the world used fur to survive the cold climates. Otherwise, you can always count on the faux fur coat and still look just like a Russian.
How To Do Dress Like a Russian in Winter: FUR
What many of the winter tourists learn quickly after their arrival is that investing at least in a good fur hat can make a lot of difference for your winter Russian trip. Having a fur coat like many of the Russian ladies have is a big investment, especially if you live in a place where you will not need such warm wear. However, if you have or wish to have a fur coat, it is one of the main ways to stay warm during your trip to Russia.
How To Dress Like a Russian Woman in Winter: WOOL
Wool is the second most important material for your Russian clothing. When you are choosing clothes for this trip you should splurge with some good quality, fine wool tops that you can layer. Another very good purchase that you can make during your stay in Russia is buying traditional Russian scarf.
These scarves are made of 100 % wool, need special treatment like a hand wash and dry clean only, but if you care about them well will serve you for a really long time. I should mention that using these scarves like ‘babushka’ – covering your head, can be very practical. At the top of your ‘babushka’ scarf, you can use your hood. It is especially useful if you use the city’s metro because the underground is much warmer than outside.
How To Dress Like a Russian Woman in Winter: Layers
Layers, layers, layers – this principle of winter clothing is not new but in Russia, you should master it. As I mentioned, most of these layers should be made of fine wool so that they are warming your body but also letting it to ‘breath’, so to speak. Experiment and you will find the best option of layering for your needs.
Dress Like a Russian Woman in Winter: SHOES
For this trip, I bought a good pair of Italian leather boots, lined with sheep wool.
Even so, the boots were not enough to keep my feet warm during the long hours outside in Saint Petersburg. In the same time, I saw ladies that had really “regular” winter shoes while walking in the city.
>> Find the best winter shoes for you
If you feel the cold easily, then in Russia your choice of footwear is that much more important. Whatever shoes you use in Western Europe, they will always be a step behind the shoes you need in Russia. My tip here is to bring a quality pair of skiing socks or wool socks to keep your feet as warm as possible.
If you want to blend with the local environment, you should try using high heeled boots. Yes, I know it looks impossible walking on the iced streets in high heels but the Russian women do it! Don’t ask me how! For the two years, I have spent in northern Ukraine I didn’t figure out this mystery. I cannot walk on high heels even in summer … and I’m so jealous of this Russian elegance.
Have you been to hostile winter climates? How did you dress and what have you learned from the local people?
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For more inspiration on Russian fashion styles, have a look at this book: