Winter Travel – What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics

by Paris B on · 67 comments

in Clothes,Discussions,Fashion,Shoes,Tips

Previously, we discussed what to wear on our feet when it’s winter or when you travel to somewhere cold. It was really insightful even for me! I’m now itching to get a pair of Timberland boots because they keep out the wet better. But then, Irene asked again, what I’d wear clothes-wise when I travel somewhere cold or somewhere in winter.

Basically, Irene wanted to know how I’d dress in winter without looking like a dumpling haha! Well I’m afraid I can’t help you there, Irene. Winter is all about keeping warm and the best way to stay warm is to wrap up!

winter travel clothes Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics


Here are some suggestions on what I’d wear when I travel to somewhere cold. The last time I went anywhere in actual winter was about 3 years ago and it was absolutely freezing! At the time I wore a woollen coat but I’ve since acquired something even better which is a down-filled jacket that is absolutely lovely! It even looks a little like the one I’ve shown you in the collage above, but it only cost me US$50 (RM150 or so) at a winter wear sale in Korea icon biggrin Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics Score! I figured if it was suitable for the Koreans in their bitterly cold winters, it’ll serve me well.

The problem as you might expect, for many of you reading this, is that many of us travel to cold countries from a warm country and if you’re on holiday, you want to know if you need to go out and buy something specifically just for your trip. Well, the answer will be yes and no.

These days, we are quite lucky to have access to fashionable winter wear even though we live in the tropics. It’s crazy most times at the end of the year when you see the store windows filled with mannequins in coats and boots and puffy jackets… even as you sweat in the hot sun as you hurry by. Crazy! Yet, it is these stores that make winter wear accessible icon wink Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics So here are some suggestions I have, and please do share your suggestions too! icon biggrin Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics

Get a good warm woollen sweater

I swear by natural wool and shun acrylic. I picked this up while living overseas as a student and I’d always look for the Woolmark symbol and the make before buying. A thin woollen sweater can keep you warmer than a thick acrylic jumper and that makes all the difference when you pack. Thick does not always mean better.

These days, you can actually find affordable cashmere blend or woollen sweaters in Uniqlo. Wait for the Fall/Winter stock to come in and watch out for the sales. I sometimes check the sale bins or wait for the promotions and pick up one or two. They come in very handy and you can even wear them here in Malaysia if you work in a Tundra-like environment icon razz Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics

A good scarf and gloves will keep you warm

I also make sure to have a nice large or long woollen scarf and gloves. After some experimentation, I prefer wearing woollen gloves to leather. The latter looks better but unless it is well made, and properly lined, may not be as warm for me. Also, I have short fingers and find too much excess material gathers at the tips. Woollen gloves fit my fingers better and keep them warm, but if it is wet, then it may get wet more quickly. As a tourist, it doesn’t matter much to me so long as I have some warmth.

As for scarves, I have a couple of woollen pashmina type scarves which double up as a wrap on the plane and when folded over, as a scarf I can bundle around my neck. I prefer the wider scarves/shawls over a traditional narrow scarf after a few trials because I can use a shawl back here in Malaysia, but I’d look a right git wearing the traditional skinny woollen scarves here. To test the length, I fold it to a narrow strip then loop it twice around my neck, then tuck the ends in. This way, most of my neck is covered and you’d be surprised at how much warmer you’d feel

winter travel clothes2 Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics

Uniqlo HeatTech tops work very well

HeatTech is one of the best creations ever. Available from Uniqlo, they are impossibly thin, light and very comfortable T-shirts that you wear next to your skin and it actually keeps me very warm. You have to wear it right next to your skin for it to work though. It traps the heat and keeps you comfortable and the material is so soft and lovely. With a HeatTech tee as a base, I can get away with just a thin woollen sweater and a coat outdoors, and just a thin sweater or cardigan indoors (if the heating is not on too high). If you’re lucky and find a pair of HeatTech jeans, get it! I have 2 pairs I bought from Japan when I visited because they were on sale and they were skinny jeans and I’d never worn skinny jeans before icon razz Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics

They are not only impossibly comfortable, they keep my legs so comfortable! It is far better than any of my regular jeans because it isn’t too thick, it doesn’t get all stiff and tight from the cold and it is lovely. So, look out for those. I have a couple of HeatTech t-shirts in varying sleeve lengths (because I buy them on sale and live with what I can get LOL!) and they have served me well.

Wear a woollen hat to keep your head and you warm

Not only is wearing a hat fashionable, it keeps your head warm. Scientifically, we lose most of our body heat through our head so wearing a hat keeps it in. I am reminded of a joke from Sienfeld (holler if you remember!) “Since 75% of the body heat is lost through the head, apparently you can ski naked as long as you wear a hat. So I’d consider wearing a hat.”

Don’t take that as gospel icon razz Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics But it’s true that wearing a hat keeps you warmer and you look really cute in photos too! icon wink Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics A lovely friend made me one and I have another floppy hat that was a cheap souvenir from Venice from student days and still going strong!

Layer, Layer, Layer

Contrary to popular belief, the best way to stay warm is not to pull on a thick sweater and coat and think they’ll keep you warm. The best way is to layer.

Layering creates layers of air that actually keeps you warmer than if you just wear one thick jumper. So, if it’s in the dead of winter, I wear a thin long-sleeved or short-sleeved T-shirt top, followed by a thin lambswool or cashmere mix sweater or cardigan, and then top it up with a warm coat, scarf and gloves. I find that it is most important to keep your chest area warm. So, I usually wear a sweater or a cardigan that is buttoned up to the neck to protect my chest, then wrap part of my scarf down to my chest area and zip up my coat. Very warm and toasty! If I feel warm, I loosen my scarf or lower the zip on my coat. It is important to get it right before you step out the door. Once you are chilled, it is harder to warm up.

I usually also wear jeans without tights and on days when I feel a little more daring, I wear a thick short skirt with tights of 80-100 denier. You can get these tights from Marks & Spenser’s and they aren’t that expensive but they are good stuff.

Dress for where you will be visiting

So far, my winter exploits have been limited to visiting cities with the coldest being Edinburgh where it wasn’t so much cold as it was wet and windy. I don’t think my dressing will survive a colder place like Canada, Sapporo or Harbin or the steppes of Mongolia. Cities aren’t as cold as the country and you do have a lot of places to duck into if it does get too cold. The problem really, is not with the cold, but the wind so if you are visiting places outside the city then you may consider getting a windbreaker coat which cuts out part of the wind chill and also affords protection against rain. I actually owned a wax coat once like those you see hunters wear as they climb the hill slopes, dog at their feet, rifle in their hand icon biggrin Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics It was awesome. Kept the cold out, kept the wet out, kept me warm. But when I got home, it started to smell and got all sticky so I had to toss it out after a while. Not practical for just occasional use but worth considering if you plan to live somewhere cold for the long term.

Ski suppliers make good winter coats and wind breakers or wind cheaters and some aren’t even very bulky at all. They aren’t very fashionable either unless you’re on a ski slope, but if you are freezing, sometimes functionality comes before form icon smile Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics So know where it is you’ll be visiting and plan your wardrobe accordingly.

Do you have more winter wear tips to share? It’ll be helpful if you live somewhere cold too!

For myself, I dress pretty much as you see in the 2 collages above. The T-shirt and sweater combo is a staple, topped up with a coat, scarf, gloves and boots when I’m headed out. The bottom half is usually either jeans or a short skirt. Sometimes, I wear tights and thick pants for something a little dressier. But for the most part, I look the same in all photographs LOL! icon biggrin Winter Travel   What should I wear? Dressing for Winter when you come from the Tropics

Paris B

Previous post:

Next post:

[ 67 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Lily August 4, 2013 at 8:38 am

Boots and wool tights really help to keep the legs warm. And I agree with everything you said here. My winter wear is pretty much the same :-)


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I love dressing up for winter, but not all the layering. So heavy! I can’t wear wool tights coz I find them scratchy so I just go with the high denier nylon ones :D


Isabel August 4, 2013 at 9:32 am

I dress pretty much similar to what you’ve described for cold climates. The great part about wearing a light t-shirt right next to the skin is that that is pretty much what you need to change and wash throughout the trip. Washing anything thicker is impossible but at the same time, I need to minimize what I pack. I need to get my hands on some of those HeatTech tops as we (finally!) have a Uniqlo up north.

Despite that they keep me cosy, I don’t have good experiences with woollen items. The jumper I had made me itch and I accidentally threw my angora gloves into the wash instead of putting it in the heap for the cleaners. I now have a pair of cute angora gloves to fit a baby. Any takers?


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm

You hit the nail on the head, Isabel! Changing just the T-shirt makes a lot of sense and it dries more quickly too when you wash it. I had to laugh at your gloves story sorry! LOL! It reminded me of the first time we used a dryer overseas with my parents. My mom tossed in my Dad’s T-shirt and when it came out, it fit a child of 4! Dad wasn’t too amused LOL!


Tracy@Beauty Reflections August 4, 2013 at 10:32 am

Haha I think you nailed it! Pretty much what we dress like here in Canada most of the time. It’s the boots part that might not be warm enough! You really need something with an insulated lining otherwise you’ll get cold feet quickly in the snow. And when it’s bitterly cold, you don’t really spend a lot of time outdoors here anyways unless you have heavy duty winter gear. Oh and mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves do!
I have an old wool coat from the 80s that has an interlining of leather chamois-was the warmest and best wind stopper ever. They don’t make coats like that anymore.


Ting August 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Definitely mittens over gloves. Less chances of slipping out too. :)


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Yay! I’m ready for the Great White North! :D Good point on the boots, Tracy. I’ll have to remember to get me a pair of lined boots when I head to Canada some time in my life time :D I never got round to wearing mittens because I never lived/visited anywhere cold enough, but I’m taking notes! Lined boots and mittens for Canada then.


Ginger August 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

Totally agree on the Uniqlo HeatTech line of clothing. Especially their bratops, that also eliminates one item of clothing. So, I have several in two sizes, ones with my actual size and ones one size bigger to wear during the really cold nights, so I don’t really have to layer on clothes so much :) I don’t feel comfortable wearing wool, I end up getting rashes. So, it’s either cotton or cashmere, or other soft synthetic material for me.
For tights I usually get the ones from Marks & Spencer, ones with higher denier at least 30 above. They don’t run or snag easily, breathable and they really last even after several washing. I usually wear boots, they are the most practical footwear you could wear during those cold winters.


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Yes! OMG the bra tops are a God-send I swear! I have quite a few that I use everytime I travel as my inner wear, whether hot or cool just because it’s so comfortable (especially when flying, you don’t want your bra strap digging you in the sides!) and as you have said, it saves on packing! I used to buy M&S tights like crazy. The 10-15 denier ones were excellent for office use and the higher denier ones were perfect for cooler weather. Mine are old, but still in perfect condition.


LeGeeque August 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

Spot on! That’s usually what I wear too! Wool, cashmere, silk – anything lightweight and natural. (My argument: ever seen a shivering sheep/lamb?!) I’ve also taken to wearing 2 scarves on bitterly cold mornings- a silk one for warmth and accessory and a thick wool one over that that I remove the moment I am indoors. I love leather gloves as long as they are lined properly. I also wear socks with tights for extra warmth.

I totally agree with the hat idea. I’m into cloche hats at the moment and I’d like one in every colour!


Ting August 6, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Nope, haven’t seen a shivering sheep before. :p


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Hahaha! Too true about the sheep and good point about wearing natural material. I find that to be true whether dressing for hot weather or cold. If you wear a natural fibre, you’d never go wrong! I doubt I can wear a cloche hat thanks to my big head, but knit hats keep my head lovely and warm!


Eula August 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Great tip on Uniqlo Heat Tech! This post is so timely because I’m spending the -ber months in a winter climate!


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Mmm… I don’t know if I should be jealous or relieved that it’s not me spending those months in the cold winter :D Definitely pick up some Heat Tech items from Uniqlo and have a wonderful time!


Yuki August 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

LOL. Same here. I look same in all my photos as well. Hahaha. But what you said is true, function over fashion :D travelled to Jeju not to long ago. Wasn’t as cold as Seoul, temperature wise but it was freeeeeezing because of the wind! I think wearing a face mask would help too because my face was freezing cold and I had to use my scarf to cover part of my face.

Heat-tech only works if you wear it properly. It didnt work for my mom cuz she didn’t layer properly. i actually packed a pair of shirt skirt to wear in Seoul but didnt have a chance to wear em. It was too cold :P

Thanks for sharing :))


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm

It came to the point for me, that I had to carry 2 scarves with me so I can distinguish myself on the different days. Otherwise, it looks like I never change (ok, sometimes I don’t. It’s far too cold!) Good point about the face mask! I sometimes wrap part of my scarf around the bottom half of my face when it gets too cold. Just be careful though because if you breathe through it and cause a lot of condensation, it can freeze and be even colder! :P


Jasmine August 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I was in a trendy boutique in the outskirts of Tokyo and a lovely (kawaii!) shop assistant responded to my concerns that the summery dresses couldn’t be worn in winter. She fished out a thin polo neck (like Uniqlo Heattech) and put the summery kimono dress over it, draped a scarf over it, and found a pair of leather-look black leggings. Problem solved :)


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm

See! All about layering! :D I bring my regular clothes from here too. Not all of us who travel to cold countries infrequently can afford a whole winter wardrobe :) Just having a good coat and sweater is enough.


Veyroniqa August 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I’m from Malaysia and I’ve experienced 2 winters in Melbourne. What I’ve learnt is: If your neck & feet are protected, you’ll feel less cold so scarves & socks (& comfy shoes) are essential.

And for the love of god, never buy suede boots even though I know they are prettier because winter equals rain.


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Good point about the suede boots! They look so horrible after a while if you don’t care for them too!


Jyoan August 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I love Uniqlo for winter wear. It is crazy affordable, for the technology they use, and also for how fashionable their winter wear is (in fact Uniqlo is fashionable all year round). Due to the technology, one can manage to not look like a dumpling.

I was at -10 degC, in Beijing, and I can attest to how good the Uniqlo wear is. Bought a dumpling-style knee-length coat (that is significantly thinner than other brands), with hoodie. That was a life-saver. The hoodie has fur all around the edges to keep winds out of the face. The pockets are deep and snuggly.

I also have many of the fleece and also HeatTech long-sleeve T-shirt-looking things from Uniqlo. That is my first layer. I had 4 layers on in that kind of temperature. I also wear those fur long pants.

Then I would put on my normal clothes (for aesthetic purposes). And pull on the fleece jacket, also from Uniqlo. And last is the dumpling coat.

The most important parts to keep warm is actually the neck, fingers, and toes. As long as those are done, you will pretty much stay alive.

Forget leather. They are just dumb and useless in the freezing North. Leather boots and leather gloves are useless. Get good fleece gloves, and velvet finish booths. They are cheap in places with Winter. So the best way to get around this, is to wear your warmest gear, touch down, and go shopping. Shopping malls are decked with warmers, so no worries about that. And then you can literally walk out with the new boots and gloves and mufflers/scarves.

I love my China winter boots. Wore only one layer of long fur socks, and the boots, and climbed Great Wall in those. And they are fashion boots, yet sturdy enough to last the climb.

The last thing that saved my life was a $100+++ genuine pure fleece scarf that I bought from Takashimaya here. That is like, oooo, god-send. Wrap that fleece around anything, and you will instantly feel warm. It is so big and long, that I can wrap it around my neck, and still wrap round my ears and head, and lower face. After all these wrapping, I pulled on the hoodie from the long coat.

Clothes-aside, have a good twist-up lip balm in your coat pocket. Yes, buy a coat with pocket. I ran down an entire stick in two weeks. For the record, the standard stick of lip balm lasts at least half a year in Singapore.


Ting August 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Ooooo yes lip balm is absolute must!!! Cracked lips (especially if it cracked when you laughed without knowing it’s going to bleed) are no fun at all!!

In the UK, when it’s NOT that cold, I would wear t-shirt + fleece jacket (tight fit) + water-proof jacket with a hood for normal running-to-lecture days. And then wool scarf, if necessary. Both my jackets zip up to the chin so they keep the body heat well contained within. :)


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Thanks for the many tips, Jyoan! :) I love shopping at Uniqlo all the time too haha! If I could live in their clothes I would :P I haven’t really gone anywhere that’s -10 degrees so yeouch! I feel your friend! I used to wonder if the Uniqlo jackets could withstand the cold, because they look so thin, so thanks for letting me know they do! Next time, I’ll pick up one of their puffy jackets during a sale. I’ve always wanted to, just never did because I wasn’t sure ;) I too go through lip balm like crazy in cold weather. Lips chap so quickly! I don’t use stick lipbalm though (I don’t like them) so I use Lucas Papaw or the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour cream and although my fingers freeze a little each time I remove them from the gloves, my lips feel a lot better.


Jyoan August 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Oh yeah, and forget that jeans!! Also, leave the running shoes behind!!!

Singaporeans can’t leave their jeans behind, thinking that because it is thick, it will work. Truth is, it does not. Sport shoes also do not work because they are made to let air flow through, and this means the winter chilly winds will flow through your feet.

I was on the winter trip with university friends, and many were in such cold climate for the first time, including myself. I had a friend who did not bring fur pants and boots, and tried to survive in jeans and sports shoes. Her skin became red, itchy, and peeled badly. In other words, I think she was burnt by the cold.

It was so uncomfortable for her, and by the 3rd day, all of us were trying to help her, providing moisturiser, baby oils, bringing her to shop for clothes and shoes.

Oh yeah, the other thing that one should bring to “wear”, is hair ties, and bun nets. Bun up your hair. It will frizz like nobody’s business. You can’t really hide hair. No matter where you put the hair, it will somehow catch the wind. So the best way, is too make it neat first, and keep it bundle. This way, when you get back to hotel, the hair will not entangle, even if it frizzes. A ponytail is not enough.


Stephy August 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm


Good sharing from you both -Paris and you.
I am going to Hokkaido this early November.
From the internet seems like the temperature would be ranging from 2-5 celsius.
At this temperature do you think jeans and sport shoes are ok?
Thanks ^^


SharonC August 5, 2013 at 9:09 am

Hey Stephy,

I would advise you to wear fitted clothings inside your winter gear. This is to prevent wind/cold air from getting to your skin, hence you’ll feel the cold.

Make sure your jeans are skinny jeans! :D I only ever wear jeans if it’s below 0 celcius… But it really depends how much your tolerance are to cold weather. Also do take note that if there’s less wind, it won’t be as cold.

If you don’t like beanies/hats, do buy ear muffs from Asos (i got it for about 5pounds) and it was a life saver as I don’t like hats…

Oh 1 more tip, you should get one of those scarfs that is sewn together at the ends (so it’s more like a ‘hulla hoop’ shape, so the ends of the scarfs don’t get in the way. :P


Victoria August 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

I agree with Paris and Jyoan on every point and it is great for them to share such wonderful tips.

I was in Sydney a few years ago during the middle of winter. As I did not want to spend money on buying boots, I survived on my sports shoes but I made sure I wore thick socks that was meant for winter. The temperature ranged from 0-2 degrees celsius at that time and I did walk a lot during my stay there. It is still better to get a good boots that is properly insulated but just thought that it would be such a waste if you do not intend to visit any other winter countries in the future.


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Hey Stephy, I think jeans are fine in most temperatures to be honest. Some jeans are warmer than others, so wear your warmest pair and bring a pair of tights in case you don’t feel it’s enough, then you can layer your jeans over the tights. As for sports shoes, I don’t think them suitable in any weather, but if you’d like to wear them anyway, wear some good thick socks and you should be good :) November isn’t that cold, I believe because Hokkaido is by the sea so the weather isn’t as extreme as it is in land. I’m jealous. I’d love to visit Hokkaido some day :D


Stephy August 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Hehe… thanks gals for the reply. I will really need to pay Uniqlo a visit when fall/winter series are out..
Anyway, by wearing Uniqlo heat-tech, will it be too warm when entering indoor?
And so far I don’t have boots, maybe I can get them when I am in Japan?
Thanks! ^.^


Paris B August 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Nope! That’s the beauty of Heat Tech. Keeps you warm when you have to be, but doesn’t make you heat up when it’s warmer (although you may have to remove your sweater if it gets too hot) :D


Ting August 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm

What is fur pants? o.O


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Hahhaha! OMG yes! Sneakers are such a no-no for cold weather. The air just cuts through them like a knife and freezes your toes off! I have noticed that many tourists from our part of the world like to travel with sneakers. No one told them it doesn’t work, and it’s like holding up a flashing neon light that says “I’m a tourist! Rip me off now!”


Emma August 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I live in Hong Kong, so we have winter but most of time it’s not very cold. I love winter times as I get to layer. I usually wear a light sweater, a warm coat, a warm scarf and jeans. I wear them all when I’m outdoor and take the coat and scarf off when I’m indoor. Layering can keep me warm but not overwhelmingly hot when I’m not outside. It’s just horrible to dress really really really warm to combat the cold in the street, but only to sweat like a pig when inside a mall.


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Thanks for sharing, Emma! I visiting Hong Kong once in December where it was very lovely cool weather and another time in April when it was FREEZING! I swear I froze my butt off at Victoria Peak but that was mostly because I wasn’t prepared haha! I like the weather in Hong Kong in winter though. You get all the cool air without the freezing temperatures! :D Makes me want to visit again.


Emma August 10, 2013 at 12:44 am

The Peak is usually cooler and more windy than the rest of Hong Kong. I remember going there once in April or May, it was a beautiful day in terms of temperature and humidity, I can walk around without breaking a sweat. I waited for the tram to the Peak for over an hour and a half. But 20 minutes after I got to the Peak, I decided to leave. It was so windy and chilly! I was getting goosebumps and my hair was flying crazily. But other than that, Hong Kong is generally warm. September and October is like summer. Even December is just cool. The only below 10 degree Celsius days are usually in January and February.


synical August 4, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I had been wondering the efficacy of the Uniqlo Heattech stuff … I’m gonna be in Sydney in mid-September and wondering if I should pack for winter or spring :P


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Hmm that’s quite a conundrum! I think a jacket might be needed and some warm clothing but not the thick middle of winter type :)


Efrain August 5, 2013 at 2:19 am

Well, where I live isn’t that cold but you’re right the best way to dress is in layers, since you can start to take off the first layer if you feel too warm.

Also you should mention earmuffs, for example I can’t stand using a knit cap for a long time and earmuffs keep me warm since I have medium long hair.


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Good point about layering Efrain! And about ear muffs too! I didn’t mention them because I don’t wear them. I couldn’t justify buying them and I look a right prat when I wear ear muffs LOL So I stick to hats (hats also hide horrible holiday hair!) :D


Mrs Top Monkey August 5, 2013 at 3:46 am

Agree with the post and the comments here.

Just two more things: If you’re buying a wool coat, check the fabric composition on the label. There is a difference between a coat that is 100% wool and one that is 20% wool. That difference is usually reflected in price and warmth.

Another thing is if you’re all rushing out now to get some winter coats in KL since Paris’ post has sparked off a shopping itch, please remember to fit your coat as if you have all those layers on. Do not buy a winter coat based on how it fits you while you’re wearing your spaghetti strap top and shorts in KLCC. Buy it based on your measurements while you are wearing a base layer, fleece, jacket etc just like you would be in winter. Trust me. I learnt that the hard way.


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Good to know you approve! And good point about buying a coat that fits OVER layers. I made that mistaken once too. I now have a tailored woollen coat that only fits over a T-shirt and jeans and what good will that do me in winter I ask?!


Irene August 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

Ahhh Paris!! I do lap you :D And to all the other awesome people who chirped in with dressing for winter tips, thank you!! I’ve been slowly accumulating bits and pieces for my November Europe trip – my maiden one and I am TERRIFIED of the cold.

With the help of all of you, God of wool&down willing, I will be a warm and stylish ham yok chong on the streets of Paris! (no pun intended!)


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Haha I lap you too! :D Ahh you’ll have so much fun in Europe! November isn’t too cold so you’ll be alright, and I’m sure you’ll look lovely and stylish on the streets of Paris – while holding your excellent shopping hauls, I’ve no doubt! ;)


Kay August 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm

You nailed it down Paris! Uniqlo Heat Tech is a god-sent. Do try to stock them up if you are in Japan or China, as the prices are cheaper than Malaysia as well as more fashion choices.

Heat Tech tops are very good for layering. I usually wear a Heat Tech bra camisole/sleeveless tunic layer with a Heat Tech long sleeves top underneath my outfit. On some occasions when it’s really cold, I would layer on another Heat Tech long sleeves top. I also recommend the Heat Tech tights. I wear them under my normal jeans/high denier leggings/fleece leggings to keep out the cold. Similarly if it’s really cold, I wear 2 Heat Tech tights. I also have a pair of Heat Tech leggings that I wear under my frocks on days when it’s not too cold. Ah, and yes to skinny jeans. Close fitted clothes work better to keep out the cold plus you can tuck the jeans nicely into boots.

For outerwear, I invested in Uniqlo Ultralite Long Down Jacket. It is really light weight, waterproof, keeps out the cold/wind, has pockets and looks quite good. Very ideal for travelling. Once I have gotten this, I left my wool jackets in the closet.

The Japanese assistant is correct. I can still wear my sleeveless summer frock during winter just by doing the above Heat Tech layering technique. My tropical clothes are not wasted here. Hence, get the basic layering correct and you can pretty much wear anything. It helps to lessen the dumpling look.

I don’t like wearing hats, but to me, earmuffs are a necessity. During harsh winter with bitter winds, I experienced pains and ringing in my ears. Covering with long hair or beanie didn’t work. But a simple pair of woolen earmuffs save me. As for gloves, I own 3 pairs. But I never really wear them because it’s too troublesome to take them on and off. I find that just sticking my hands in the pockets of my winter jacket works to keep them warm. Scarves are good for winter. Pashmina for not-so-cold days and wool for bitter cold days. Thick socks, preferably wool, are necessary. I wear them outdoors and indoors too. For sleeping/indoors, I wear thick track bottoms or Uniqlo indoor fleece wear.

If you are just travelling, you don’t have to invest too much into winter clothing. Just get some basic or double-duty stuff. To sum it up for winter travel – invest in some Heat Tech pieces for layering, a good long winter jacket that has pockets (to fit hands, gloves, hand warmers etc.), high denier/fleece leggings, thick socks, scarves, beanies/ear-muffs/gloves depending on your needs and whatever outfit you plan to wear during the trip. Try packing light, you can always purchase more at your destination.

Could I request for clothing tips for summer? My itching questions would be what kind of clothing materials should I invest in and how do one dress for corporate work in this kind of weather? This summer is boiling hot, unlike any of my previous experience (had have only experienced 3 summers). Even though I come from a sunny tropical country like Malaysia, I am still struggling to keep my cool. Thanks!


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I did notice the price difference for Uniqlo products in Japan, less so in China. But since I won’t be visiting either place in the short term, I’ll stick to sales! hehe… I didn’t know they do Heat Tech bratops?! Gosh, I need to get me one or three! I love the bra tops! Heat Tech is Heaven sent for winter isn’t it? Thanks for letting me know the Ultralight Uniqlo jackets really work. I was a little sceptical because they look and feel so thin but I’m going to take your word for it! Keeping my eyes out for one during the next sale since it won’t be long before the winter stuff make their appearances ;)

I never got round to using ear muffs because I don’t like how they feel and also because I look weird in them LOL! I should get one of those with the big furry muffs. Now that will be fun! :D

Thanks for the suggestion on summer travel wear! I’ll have to post something up on that shouldn’t I? :D Generally, for summer/hot weather, I stick to natural fabrics – cotton or silk – in a thin lightweight material. I don’t wear too many layers, converse from winter, and if sleeveless is possible, then I go sleeveless. For corporate wear, I think skirt suits are more “airy”. In other countries, like Japan or China, you can get suits that are made for Summer, where they are very lightweight yet look structured. Here, as you may know, corporate wear doesn’t include wearing a blazer unless it is a very formal occasion or meeting. Otherwise, just a tailored skirt and shirt will do. If I can get away with it, I wear a light blouse or sleeveless top with a tailored skirt and pumps. That said, most office buildings here are well air-conditioned so sometimes, it is actually handy to have a cardigan or light jacket on hand, or freeze to death :P


Jyoan August 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

One more tip. I hope it is the last… Haha!

When you go indoors, quickly pull off all the layers!!

Or else, you will sweat, and the sweat will freeze up when you get back out. It is as though you are wearing wet clothes in air-conditioned room.

More often than not, the indoor places in winter countries are very, very well-fitted with warmers. You can survive in single layer indoors.


Ting August 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm

That’s a good tip! I have seen girls wash their hair and while it’s still wet, dashed out the door. The hair sort of becomes stiff. My mother would absolutely forbid that!!


Ting August 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Yep! Pure wool and cashmere are all you need. Oh and silk too. For wool top, I’d wear a cotton t-shirt under so you only need to change the t-shirt everyday. The wool top could lasts 2 days or more (yes… lazy student’s solution).

And a long coat that covers below your bottom but slightly above knees, or else poor bottom will be suffering from the cold wind. Anything longer will look like… that guy from The Matrix. Haha Oh if the coat comes with a hood it’s even better. Keep the head nice and cozy.

Sometimes I would pull a long cashmere scarf over the head if it gets ridiculously cold. A goretex waterproof jacket that is tight around the wrist. It’s thin, can fold into really small and it keeps out the biting cold wind, and of course keep your upper body dry.

A pair of woolly earmuff. Me no like when ears are cold. Again, I suppose if you have those earphone you carry around you could very well use that instead of a separate earmuff. :)


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Hahaha good point about protecting our bottoms from the wind! How come I didn’t think about that? Hmm.. maybe there’s enough fat in mine to stay warm ;) After reading everyone’s tips, I want to get me a wooly ear muff! It’ll be so cute! :D


Ting August 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

The longer coat also keep your thighs dry and warm when it rains. Shivering thighs are no fun to be had. :p

Yes earmuff is so cozy for long outdoor period. Although it may take up quite a lot of room in the bag but once it’s on, the comfort level rises so much higher.


Mari Ohira August 7, 2013 at 7:38 am

I like using Uniqlo as well for colder weather. Their down jacket is a must! Very light and warm. I also like using the HeatTech long sleeved T-shirt underneath and cashmere for extra warmth. Large, long pashminas are also a must against the wind. When it gets really cold, I use hosiery (70 denier or up) underneath my trousers, but I have still to find socks that can keep my feet from being frozen… Any tips? ;)


Paris B August 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm

It’s good to know the down jackets from Uniqlo work! I was so afraid they didn’t because they are so light but now I know otherwise :D I haven’t found good socks either! I’m actually really weird because I wear quite thin socks in winter. I know, it’s weird but I do! Feet don’t get very frozen because I walk so much.


Seraph September 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Paris, I’ve never been to a winter country before…. So I’m quite curious about something…. When flying from Msia to our destination, we won’t be wearing our winter gear (coz that’ll be crazy!), so when do we put them on? just before the plane landed? in the airport toilet? or just brace the cold till you check in the hotel?


Paris B September 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Erm, I actually do wear my winter gear when travelling! The airports are usually quite cold and so is the plane. I usually hand carry my winter coat and keep my scarf and gloves in my handbag or handcarry luggage. I will wear the top and cardigan and jeans or skirt with tights and boots on the plane. When you arrive, the airports may be heated a little, so you don’t have to wear your coat, but you should wrap up nicely before you exit. Once you’re chilled, it’s hard to get warm again.


Seraph September 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Haha… Oops… The winter gear i meant was the coat, gloves, hat, ear muffs etc… But thanks for answering my doubt…. :D but how about those heat tech clothes? Do you wear them while still in malaysia airport? Would you feel too hot in it while waiting for your flight?


Paris B September 27, 2013 at 10:25 am

Actually, nope. Heat Tech is made to keep you warm when it’s cold but not to overheat you when it’s not as cold, like wool. I basically dress as I would when I’m abroad, except I may loosen my cardigan or remove it. KLIA is impressively cold most of the time anyway!!


Jackie Fontane October 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I travel often for work – and yes, it’s all about layering…I couldnt keep up with buying clothes for every climate lol :)


Si Hui October 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

Hello, I will be going to Europe in December! and this is
my first time traveling to a winter country! can i check with you,
if i wear Uniqlo heattech as my first layer, it will act like long
johns? so meaning i do not have to get those long johns from those
winter stores if i am wearing heattech clothing? Thank


Paris B November 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Technically, yes. Depending on where you go, a Heat Tech top, sweater and winter coat will suffice in Europe unless you’re going skiing. Long johns are essentially the same thing (and an lot more uncomfortable) :P


Amira Ahmad October 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Hi there, my family and I will be going to Beijing on the 19th of December. I was wondering what type of footwear I should buy? It has to be durable and comfortable and not slippery since we’ll be climbing the Great Wall with it! Would Doc Martens or Timberland boots be okay?


Paris B November 3, 2013 at 5:18 pm

That sounds fine actually. I haven’t been to Beijing though but from what I know, Doc Martens and Timberland boots have rubber soles so that should give you the grip you need.


Nicole November 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Hi there,
Thank u for all your shared informations.
I’ll b going to Harbin this coming Christmas for 8 days trip, i wonder the uniqlo heattech turtleneck longsleeve top can act as wool sweater if my inner layer is already cashmere+wool or 100% fibre longjohn. What is your suggestion wear should i bring and for 12 years old girl also?
Thank you..


Paris B November 10, 2013 at 10:47 am

Hi Nicole, in Harbin you’d be better off wearing proper wool sweaters. Heat tech acts like what is commonly known as a “long john” and must be worn next to the skin for best effect. It isn’t a sweater. Think of it like a t-shirt that goes on as your first layer then layer on your woollen sweater and winter coat, bundle up with scarf and hat and gloves and you should be good. That said I’ve never been to Harbin but I hear it’s very cold there so better to be prepared.


Let's Talk ~ Share your view

No SEO names, rude comments or advertising in comments. Please read the comment policy if new.

Previous post:

Next post: