How to Dress Warm for a Minnesota Winter, In Style

November 3, 2021
Last Updated:
September 2, 2022
How to Dress Warm for a Minnesota Winter, In Style

Most of us have some sort of love/hate relationship with winter. (A soft snowfall? Beautiful. Slipping and falling on the sidewalk? Eh, not so much.)

Either way, we can probably all agree winter is much more enjoyable when you’re not freezing your bum off!

Winter at Ruttger’s

Up north on Bay Lake, we’re well-practiced at bundling up for winter. And luckily, we know you don’t have to sacrifice style to stay warm — you no longer need to resemble the Michelin Man simply to get through winter.

We keep the fireplaces going all winter long so you can spend a cozy weekend cuddled up in one of our Bay Lake Villas out of the cold, but you may still need some help winterizing your wardrobe.

Inventory Reduction Sale

Right now we have an incredible Inventory Reduction Sale happening at The Garage each Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm through November 27th!

Almost all items are 70% off — a great option to help you get those extra layers to stay warm. 

So in lieu of wrapping yourself up in a giant blanket and calling it good, here’s how you can stay warm this winter and look good doing it.

Layer Up!

It’s not exactly a secret that more layers will keep you warmer, but you don’t want to just throw on three long-sleeved shirts and call it a day. A little strategy in your layering technique will go a long way.

Inner Layer

Start with a lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer such as silk underwear or merino leggings and long sleeves.

Middle Layer

Next is your middle layer. And because typically, this will be the layer you show to the world, it can be both functional and fashionable. Think wool sweaters, chunky cable-knit tops, and faux fur. 

Outer Layer

Finally, your outer layer, your winter coat, should be substantial, protecting you from wind, sleet, and snow.

And when searching for the right coat, choose one that comes down closer to your knees than your waist. You’ll be glad for that extra coverage when shoveling your car out of a snowdrift.

Use Hats, Gloves, and Scarves as Accessories

While winter attire is usually a sea of greys and blacks, there’s no official rule saying you have to stick to that color palette.

Colorful, bright, or patterned hats, gloves, and scarves can quickly ramp up any outfit. And if you’re feeling especially bold, buy a statement coat in a bright color like red or blue — winter will start to feel a bit less dreary!

Also, play around with texture for an elevated and put-together look. Try wearing faux fur coats, sequined hats, furry earmuffs, or leather gloves, giving your outfit a little more personality.  

Get a Good Pair of Boots

A bad pair of boots can make winter intolerable — yes, even for the hardiest of Minnesotans.

High-quality, warm, and water-resistant boots are well worth the investment.

They can last for years and actually keep your feet warm. Not to mention, you’re far less likely to take a spectacular fall in the grocery store parking lot when your boots have proper treads. 

And with so many fashionable boots out there, you won’t have to sacrifice your style.

Pro tip: Bring along your heaviest socks to try on with your boots. This way, you’ll be sure your boots won’t be too snug and will fit properly with all your gear on.  

Fabrics Matter

While you likely won’t gravitate towards a linen shirt or mesh tank top in 20-degree weather, choosing the right fabric can make all the difference in enjoying a night out or heading in early because it feels just too cold.


A great go-to option is wool. Wool is a naturally breathable fiber and does a fantastic job at regulating your body temperature.

Moisture-wicking, wool will keep you warm and dry all day long. The one caveat is that wool can be itchy for some.

If this is the case for you, consider merino or cashmere. Merino wool is lightweight, making for a great base layer, while cashmere is incredibly soft, enabling you to get extra cozy.

Down and Fleece

Down and fleece are also great options to incorporate into your wardrobe, especially with those outside layers.

And while you may be tempted to throw on your favorite cotton shirt, even as a layer, know that cotton absorbs water resulting in that wet and clammy feeling.

Not great. Save those cottons for the summer.

Tight-Knit and Tight-Fit

It’s always the windchill that gets you! You may be able to handle below-degree temps, but when the wind starts whipping up, all bets are off.

So, leave your loose-fitting clothes for the warmer months and stick with tightly-knit sweaters and fitted fleece for winter. 

Trade in your wide-leg pants for skinny jeans or warm leggings that stay tight to your body, trapping in heat and blocking the wind.

For another trick, tuck your pants into your socks to help provide even more wind resistance — plus, this way, you get to show off a bit of your style, sporting fun printed or patterned socks.

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Ruttger's Bay Lake Resort

Brainerd Lakes Area

Ruttger's Bay Lake Resort is among the leading lake resorts in Minnesota, welcoming families and groups to our shores for years!

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