“There is no bad weather, only wrong clothes.”
Must have clothes for Amsterdam Winter
Why not combine my passion for travel with the convenience of Dutch fashion? Every season, I will write about clothes for Amsterdam winter, including shops of local or international brands with various outfits to optimize your wardrobe and suitcase when traveling or living in Amsterdam.
This blog post is an inspiration for smart and practical clothes for Amsterdam winter, based on trends and what you already have in your wardrobe, or you must have if you are coming to Europe. Versatile, comfortable, and timeless pieces to create looks for both your vacation and your daily life.
Here I will help you assemble your suitcase for your next trip to Amsterdam and Europe or advise you if you just moved to the Old Continent. By the way, I couldn’t start this year of the content without mentioning the winter look to protect you from the cold and keep your style. This season is the most doubtful, mainly because most people underestimate the feel-like temperature with the actual temperature. Also, there is no bad weather, only wrong clothes.
Are you afraid to visit Amsterdam during winter because of the cold? Do not be. It would be best if you were well dressed. If you ever come to The Netherlands during winter, keep one thing in mind: you will need a – good – winter jacket, sweater, pants, boots, and accessories (hat, gloves, and socks)! Preferably waterproof because it rains considerably between December and March and this kind of clothes will also protect from the wind.
At the end of each section I selected some examples of key items from different brands to have on your suitcase and enjoy your trip even when facing low temperatures. Another tip is to take advantage of the post-Christmas and end-of-season sales, when you can find items with great discounts!
Your best friend to keep you warm and protect you from the wind
When you live in a country with cold winters such as the Netherlands (between 0 and 8 degrees), it is worth it to invest in a good winter jacket from the North Face, Canada Goose, or Elvine (prices vary between 250 and 400 euros). However, when visiting, you can also find affordable ones at Uniqlo, Zara, Pull and Bear, and other department stores (in this case, you can find good winter jackets from 80 euros).
Once you choose a winter jacket, I strongly recommend a long length and a hood – those will protect you much more and keep your body less exposed to the cold. If you are wearing a good winter jacket, you will not have to worry about rain, snow, and the clothes you are wearing underneath, once all indoor places have heating systems. However, I recommend you dress your jacket a few minutes before leaving the indoor area to keep your temperature warm before you face the cold outside. I have learned this tip from a great Canadian friend who deals with -30 celsius degree.
I particularly have a few jackets from different brands, but my daily companion is the ultra-warm tech from Uniqlo; we are inseparable buddies. I only swap this for another one on special occasions such as a nice dinner, a disco, or a dry and sunny day than I prefer to wear a trend coat or another jacket without a hoody from other brands. For the ladies, a tip I would share is to look for a warm coat that is adjustable at the waist, so you do not look like a bag of potatoes.
Keep your core warm with layers but remember that quality is more important than quantity
Under the winter jacket, you must choose a sweater to keep you warm and let you breathe. If you have a nice jacket, there is no need for a tick sweater such as a wool sweater – in this case, you will feel uncomfortable and start sweating when walking or riding a bike in Amsterdam, as an example. For me, an ideal sweater is one made of heating technology or cashmere. Also, I recommend the models with a turtleneck to protect your throat and with long leaves. You can add a second layer of clothes during freezing days, such as a thermal layer, or combine a fleece to keep you warm and cozy.
Buying those items is not hard. You probably will find them in all winter collections, but my favorites stores to buy are Decathlon and Uniqlo. Both brands are not expensive and have a large diversity of models, colors, and sizes. Just remember, keep it warm and straightforward – you can be fashionable with accessories help. If you doubt which color to choose, I suggest the basic (black, white, beige, and gray) and an excellent color pallet (red, mustard, dark blue, and green).
Choose comfortable pants that keep your mobility and body temperature
A definite winter wardrobe should start from the bottom up. When it’s too frigid for dresses and too cumbersome to layer tights under jeans, only serious pants will do. But versatility is vital. You need the kind of trousers that will carry you from icy commutes during the day to overheated bars in the evening. Whether it’s wool pants that are perfect for dry days or lounge pants that you can wear out on the weekend to go to the grocery store, here you will find my essential pairs that might keep you cozy during all your winter season in Amsterdam.
First of all, I do not feel cold on my legs, and I love wearing dresses and skirts, but I know I am an exception. Sincerely, a thin tight combined with strategic accessories – such as warm socks and a long jacket – is enough for me to talk about the bottom part of the body and mild-cold temperature. However, I know we need to protect ourselves to avoid getting sick or burn skin from the cold – yes, extreme cold burns you as much as hot water. Thus, I usually wear regular leggings for average temperatures and combine them with jeans creating two-layer pants for colder days. My favorite stores to buy tights, leggings and jeans are Hema, Uniqlo, and Guess, respectively.
When it’s too cold for stiff, non-insulated jeans, try a pair of reliably cozy corduroys. A corduroy trouser can be a simple swap for daily denim in multiple silhouettes for every body type and personal style. A straight or wide-leg black pair would fit seamlessly into the modern woman’s wardrobe. Having two pairs of corduroy trousers from Polo Ralph Lauren in the past was one of the best things I had when I visited cities much colder than Amsterdam. They were warm, comfortable, and stylish at the same time.
When traveling in the winter, forget fashion boots with highs heels
When we talk about boots, we cannot forget that they need to be comfortable. Otherwise, you will not be able to do my walking tour, waterproof, since it rains considerably in the Netherlands, and safe, you don’t want to slip on a snowing day. I highly recommend you not to use brand new boots on your trip, to escape from having hurting feet during the day.
The most common boots you will see on Amsterdammers’ feet are Dr. Martens. With a price range of 200 euros, the stylish boot is waterproof and non-skid due to its leader surface and PVC sole. With a similar price range and quality, you can find Timberland and UGG boots. However, if you want to find something more affordable, you can find cheaper options at Decathlon, Van Haren, fast fashion stores, such as H&M and Zara, or even street markets! But remember, those will last shorter!
Based on my own experience, I recommend investing in your winter boots. The reason behind that is to protect your body and maximize your experience in the city. When I was living in New York City (2012), I went to an outlet to buy a premium model of UGG’s boots. I remember I got an outstanding deal, and at that time, the price after a discount was about 150-180 euros, and I would say without a doubt that it was a smart acquisition.
A brand new and similar model nowadays costs between 350 and 400 euros. I still have it after nine years and visiting many countries for those who are curious to know how long it lasts. Even after a broken zipper, my UGG boots are resisting my adventures – my secret is always to bring it to the best shoe fixer in town and boost it for the next winter. Also, I have had two timberlands in my life and recommend them mainly to those who want to walk in nature and love trekking.
The secret to not feel cold is to protect the extremities: head, hands, and feet
When the temperature drops, you need to protect your body extremities, like hands, feet, head, and ears, from the cold. Preferably with something waterproof, since it rains considerably in the Netherlands during this period.
Hats, Beanies, and Scarves
When the temperature starts to drop, stepping outside with style this season requires more than just a great coat and a warm face mask. To be prepared, you’ll need a few additional winter accessories for a fashionable tour in the cold.
Finding a reason to leave the house and spend more time (socially distanced, of course!) outside this winter is easy when you can choose between various covetable hats – headbands, beanies, caps, bucket hats, band hats, beret, bomber, and so on. There are also joyful striped scarves, which have the power to bring new life to any drab, all-black outerwear and would make heading out into a blizzard or riding your bike in the snowy canals less miserable. You can’t go wrong with a versatile winter scarf. Take your pick between a cheery statement wrap or a simple.
If you have the classic winter accessories covered, consider one of these less-traditional styles that are still extremely practical. To protect your ears, add ear muffs to your style. For maximal skin coverage, try a balaclava. Or, slip on a dickey, which provides an extra layer without adding sleeves. My favorites stores to buy accessories are Zara, Barts, and, oddly enough, Primark. The last one is excellent for buying accessories in different and not conventional colors and prints that you know you will only use a few times (if not once) and give away.
An underestimated accessory, the gloves will keep your full body warm and will protect your hands from getting dry and cold, or even burned and red. If you plan to bike, spend an extended period or live in the country, I highly recommend you to have a good pair of waterproof gloves. You can find them in stores like the North Face, Decathlon, or Uniqlo, with prices from 20 to 100 euros. As I recommended below for beanies, Barts is a local store with lovely models and a fair price between 15 and 60 euros.
If you’re only planning to spend a few days in the city and want to keep your hands out of your pockets quickly, you can find cheaper options in fast fashion stores such as H&M and Pull & Bear or even at street markets, and help the locals! However, I strongly recommend investing in an excellent cost-benefit glove not to regret later – mainly if you are not used to cold weather. Gloves made of thin fabric or no double layer; I don’t even recommend it is just a waste of money.
If you want to take pictures on the go, I highly recommend you to buy touchscreen gloves. Taking them out to use your phone will freeze your fingers, and this is a one-way road; it will take a while to warm them up again! So, appreciate it when I take photos and videos for Amster.dani because sometimes I spend hours not wearing my gloves to take better shots for the blog, Instagram, and sharing with you. Thank you so much for your attention and participation.
Warm socks are a must for winter, especially if you spend time outdoors. For those of us who bike through the winter, winter socks are a must. While thick wool socks used to be the go-to, they can be difficult to wear under tight boots. Now that there are more technological materials available, including thin thermal socks, there’s a wide range of choices for highly insulated socks. With boots, one of my favorites is the socks from Uniqlo and Decathlon (for example, you can find Quechua and other brands).
For me, having my feet warm is extremely important. If they are cold, despite my whole body is covered, I will still feel as I am naked. Of course, a good and warm pair of boots is essential. They will keep your feet protected from the rain, snow, and wind. But if you are not wearing an appropriate pair of socks underneath, you might be cold.
When at home, I particularly love wearing those fluffy socks that warm up my heart. You can easily find cheap ones at Primark, Zeeman, or even Kruidvart and Action. However, if you want fancy socks made of alpaca cotton or wool, you will probably find them on the Negen Straatjes. By the way, the Dutchies love wearing funny socks; there are a few brands just dedicated to it, such as We Love Socks and Happy Socks.
The key to a fabulous winter style is to be comfortable
The winter season is full of a seemingly endless amount of traveling and eating. In the end, the key to a fabulous winter style is comfortable. Pack a pair of flared black leggings when heading the holidays. Cashmere or knit sweater has the power to make traveling and running errands look effortlessly chic. Simultaneously, colourful accessories can be both a stylish layering piece or a suitable option for morning walks.
And if you feel too cold, you can always stop at a charming café to have a cup of tea or hot chocolate before you continue exploring Amsterdam.
The addresses below are for the most central stores and authorized retailers, but some of the stores have also other locations.
Check their websites for updated information.
To know more about Amsterdam in winter, read my blog about the reasons to come to Amsterdam in winter!