Dressing with style for the colder months can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Beyond the obvious essentials (like a great weatherproof coat), the key to creating a cool and cosy ensemble lies in layers. A good base topped with comfy knits, hardy jackets and fun accessories will keep you snug and chic no matter if you’re outside in the elements or basking next to the nearest heater.

Back to basics

Never underestimate the warmth of a base layer that lies close to the skin, blocking any drafts. Opt for breathable, natural fibres such as Elle & Riley’s cashmere bralette or Juliette Hogan's fine cotton and cashmere tank. Standard Issue’s selection of merino tulle skivvies and long-sleeved tops make great staples to layer under tops and dresses, thanks to their lightweight knit. And for those who dare to bare, the slightly sheer nature of the brand’s hallmark high-twist wool creates just the right amount of drama when worn alone. Ovna Ovich’s Ridge turtleneck comes in a lovely warm brown tone, and made-to-order label Rachel Mills has carved out a unique offering of everyday essentials. Its entire range is ideal for layering, with slinky merino and cotton separates that are designed to mix and match. The brand’s bodysuits are great for keeping that core warm – including the new Scoop bodysuit, with its long sleeves, mock neck and neckline cutout, and the Office bodysuit, which provides the perfect amount of coverage for a corporate ensemble.

A chunky knit
Textured sweaters in soft and slouchy shapes are perfect for layering, whether over a fine knit and bodysuit, under a great coat, or draped casually over your shoulders. Go for wool blends such as alpaca, lambswool, mohair, merino and cashmere. New label Pharlain creates weighty merino wool sweaters that are an elevated spin on classic knits. The brand’s charm lies in its artful takes on stitch designs – like the uniquely patterned lines and texture in its Bumps crew. An oversized knitted vest is a layering dream – this one from Ganni has a half-zip front and comes in ultra-soft alpaca-merino yarn. Hand knits have a comforting nostalgic quality, and there are many Aotearoa-based knitters offering small runs of unique sweaters for those of us who aren’t quite as talented with needles and yarn. We love the new Frisson Knit collection’s stripey V-neck sweaters with the brand’s signature bell sleeves – all in a punchy palette of reds, blues and greens. For something one-of-a-kind, Lucy and Anne Aitchison of Dorothy offer bespoke mohair and merino knits in bright, bold hues with sweet embroidered details. We have a soft spot for the daisies and hearts.

Middle ground
No matter the season, the shirt-jacket – or “shacket”, if you will – provides the perfect structure and weight to layer over basics and chunky knits, especially when the weather doesn’t call for a heavyweight coat. Maggie Marilyn’s Early Mornings shacket is a colourful take on a classic woollen bush jacket in a pretty pink plaid. The brand also stocks a version in its core Somewhere collection, crafted from a heavyweight brushed organic cotton in understated shades of black, ivory and navy. Harris Tapper’s Everett jacket balances the hard-wearing utility of 100 per cent lamb wool with the elegance of a sharp collar, elongated sleeves and hand-finished seams in a mist green colourway.

Finishing touch

Who says dressing for winter has to be boring? Accessorising your outfit can maximise both warmth and style. Wixii is an effortlessly elevated label specialising in natural knitted fibre pieces with a twist. This Dardenella silk cashmere hood is a fashion-forward alternative to the classic winter beanie. Knitted hoods are also trending (thanks to Gucci, Max Mara and Rochas’s recent winter runway shows). Gloves are a no-brainer mid-year, and this season we’re seeing the fingerless kind come back into play. We have our eye on Wixii’s Deda cashmere silk gloves, handcrafted in a zesty yellow knit to brighten a gloomy day. Scarves are another easy way to inject some colour into your winter wardrobe – try Deadly Ponies’ mohair scarf in tomato red, aubergine, ice blue or coffee. Don’t forget to tend to your toes: Zambesi’s signature merino Gothic socks will make for some happy feet.