We’ve all been there - determined to look good at all costs, we’ve left the house with no coat, the wrong shoes, no umbrella to shield us against the British weather…

But you don’t have to sacrifice your style and individuality to stay warm. There are ways to look good and get cosy, with a few key items for your wardrobe that can be styled and restyled over and over.

Global warming or not, winter is always coming. Best to be prepared, eh? 

Leather Jackets

man in leather jacket facing away

You’ve probably heard it before, but a leather jacket is an investment - even when it’s faux leather.

A plain black leather jacket is a staple in any alternative wardrobe, as a comfortable item that adds edge and pairs well with any outfit.

If you’re looking for something a little different in a leather jacket, try a bomber jacket or a biker jacket, both of which work well over hoodies, dresses or jeans and a graphic tee, and do the job of keeping you warm and shielding you from the elements.

Add a scarf and boots and the look’s complete - and a leather jacket isn’t just a staple of your winter wardrobe either, as they’re often breathable enough to carry you through spring, summer and autumn when layered with the right clothes.

If leather or pleather isn’t your thing, a great alternative would be a military or plaid jacket to top off your ensemble. Though most are only water-resistant and won’t get you through a storm unscathed, their casual look and heavy fabric will do a decent job of keeping you toasty on drier days.

Hats, Scarves & Layers

alternative woman in scarves and layers at winter
(Image credit: Pinterest)

One of the most versatile ways to keep warm and look awesome is to ensure you layer up. Sure, your mum probably told you to take a jumper or a coat with you at one point in your life, but we’re here to tell you she was right - but you’ve got to do it your own way.

Combining a long-sleeved top under a graphic tee is an instant skater look, and works well as part of an industrial goth look too. For something a little more Wednesday Addams, try a white shirt under a black jumper or hoodie for a pop of lighter colour.

Mix and match multiple textures to make your outfit stand out, such as a distressed tee or jumper with a smooth leather jacket. Patterned or fishnet tights work well as insulators against the UK’s biting winter wind under a pair of ripped jeans, and add a punk twist to your look.

For something more gothic, try combining leather and velvet - a velvet dress or shirt in darker colours really pops under a leather jacket, or try investing in a fur-hooded coat for a more Victorian feel.

Scarves and hats are also great for adding something extra to an otherwise unremarkable outfit, and a knit beanie or printed scarf can go a long way to make your winter wardrobe pop.

Jumpers & Knits

edgy woman wearing a knit jumper

We say knit, and you think knitting, right? Well, we’re not talking about something your nan would make and force upon you on Christmas morning - we’re thinking more along the lines of distressed, punky knitwear, striped dark patterns and graphic print jumpers.

For those of you going for a rockabilly look, you’ll know that a staple of the 50s scene was a fitted knit with buttons, and by throwing on a patch or two, you’ve got yourself halfway to an awesome outfit. Warmer and more figure-hugging than a tee or shirt, a knit jumper or cardigan can go a long way to adding quirk to your look without breaking the bank.

If you’re more a fan of rugged punk attire, try a distressed or loose knit jumper over your usual tee and jeans to add a wintry vibe and an extra layer of warmth as well as a generally edgier appearance.

Oversized graphics prints are a big deal these days, and you don’t have to miss out because most of them are mainstream - graphic print jumpers can include band names and logos, funny quotes, or classic horror imagery to express your individuality whilst keeping you wrapped up.

Boots

boots

As far as I’m concerned, a chunky boot is the only alternative footwear you’ll ever need - and I’d argue they’re just as good in summer as they are in winter. Whether or not you agree, investing in a decent pair of boots will go a long way to ensuring your feet remain toasty and dry throughout the colder seasons, and there are thousands of variations that allow your feet to be just as expressive as the rest of your attire.

If you’re all about the goth look, pointy toes and heeled boots can add the finishing touch to any winter outfit. For a punk or grunge look, try a chunky combat boot.

Cowboy boots are great for a rocker twist to your ensemble, and black isn’t the only colour choice either. A dark grey or even a brown can work with most jeans, dresses and skirts. If you’re really feeling it, try a wilder, brighter colour to stand out from the crowd.

No matter the style you pick, a well-chosen boot can add a splash of personality to an alternative winter look - even swaddled in a heavy coat, your feet are likely to still be on display and doing the job of expressing your taste to the world.

Hoodies

hoodie

Hoodies are a classic item, both practical and comfortable when it comes to the colder British seasons. Layered over a tee or under a leather jacket, plain or printed, a hoodie will be there for you like a comfort blanket to keep you cosy no matter the weather.

Whether you prefer a pullover hoodie or the zip-up variety, it’s a staple piece of clothing that says “I’m chill as hell, and I’m damn toasty while I’m at it”. Paired with jeans and boots, a hoodie can make for a laidback, casual look. Over a dress or skirt, it can tone down the formality of the look.

A plain black hoodie should be part of everyone’s wardrobe, and works with almost anything. But a graphic print hoodie can display your music taste, your favourite film or even just a funny one-liner to the world like an extract of your personality on display for all to see.

More suitable for rockers, grungers, emos and punk than they are for goths, hoodies still come in all shapes and sizes - and fabrics. Gothically decorated hoodies can add flair to a relaxed outfit, and almost any person in the alternative subculture will want to keep a hoodie to hand.