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As the colder weather rolls in, I’m finally able to revive some of my favorite fall pieces from the depths of my wardrobe. I forgot how crucial layering can be through the middle months in Maine where the mornings average just above freezing, by midday it reaches the mid-50s, by dusk, it’s back down to freezing, and all the while our classrooms typically fall just short of about 2 billion degrees. The key to enduring our ever-changing weather is knowing how to layer! Here are some of my favorite affordable layering pieces to help you get through this season no matter what sporadic temperature change comes your way. 

Always have a summer outfit as your primary layer

This is maybe an exaggeration but it definitely gets my point across. While you won’t find denim shorts under my winter pants, I do usually have a t-shirt or tank top at the base of my (maybe excessive) collection of layers. After running across campus to class, I find that the already heated classrooms can become stifling in whatever large sweater or turtle neck I chose to put on that day. Why sit and sweat in your stuffy sweater when you could add a secret bottom layer for cool comfort inside no matter the cold temperatures outside. 

A thin, long sleeve turtle neck will become your best friend

If it’s one of those weird days that’s too cold to have bare arms but too warm for a sweater, a thin turtleneck can be the perfect in between. I usually throw a t-shirt or sweater over the top and create a hodgepodge of a fairly put together outfit. These extra layers, while providing a shocking amount of extra warmth, also give me a chance to play with interesting color combinations. Cream, black, dark blue, or white turtlenecks are all easy to style with various tops. However, it’s always fun for me to pair bright colors together. Today, I’m wearing a pink turtle neck with a light purple t-shirt on top inspired by a friend. The other day it was red and yellow. Long sleeve turtleneck tees are a great way to add some warmth and interesting color combinations to your outfit. 

Carry a cozy sweatshirt with you everywhere

No other layer can replace the comfort of climbing into a giant hoodie. I love this cozy feeling but I still generally avoid basing my outfit around a hoodie. You’d think that if the comfort of hoodies makes you so happy, you should wear them every day. I tried this on and off for a while and realized that wearing sweats makes me feel less productive. I’m someone who relies on dressing intentionally in less comfortable outfits to feel ready for the day. Despite this realization, I still try to carry a hoodie for the everyday moments that demand the comfort of an oversized hoodie. 

Fleece-lined flannels take the cake

This is the only pricy item on the list but I’d say that it’s worth it (especially if you know how to sort through a sale section). Fleece-lined flannels double as a stylish addition to any outfit as well as a practical outer layer to keep warm. It’s an easy layer to throw on as you leave for class that will look intentional. Not to mention the soft interior makes me feel like I never left my bed in the morning!

Wool socks, hats, and gloves, oh my!

For some bizarre reason, Colby students proudly sport trendy beanies and unique winter hats across campus but rarely leave their dorm in gloves. Last winter, gloves quickly made it onto my list of things to always remember before I left the room. They’re practical and, hey, who wouldn’t prefer to keep all their fingers through the winter? That winter I also learned that dethawing your toes hurts. After deciding to wear Nike elites to go skiing, I quickly lost feeling in my toes and returned to the heat of the base lodge to a lot of pain. Later that day I invested in wool socks and never went back. Now, I wear them on campus, up the mountain, and sometimes to bed when the Heights heaters decide to switch off. Don’t do what I did and, please, protect your extremities this winter.  

These are just a few of my favorite ways to layer up in colder weather on a budget. When in doubt, remember, you can never have too many layers!

I'm a sophomore at Colby College studying philosophy and creative writing. My perspective is constantly changing with new relationships, places, and stories and I love to write it all down as I go.
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