In certain states across the U.S., winter fashion means it’s 60 degrees out and time for ladies to don that cute new scarf and boot combo. Tis the season for those trendy UGGs, leggings, and Pea-coats to make a resurgence, and it’s time to dig out those favorite jeans that have been patiently waiting in the closet all through the summer months. For certain states, winter fashion is about staying comfortably warm will still managing to look good.

Montana is not one of those states.

Yes, you do see your fair share of women brave the winter months armed with a superhero-esque skill of dodging snowbanks while teetering on 6 inch heels. If you are not one of these women, do not fret, there are just a talented handful of ladies that are able to rock the heels while keeping their balance across swathes of black ice the rest of us probably slipped on two or three times earlier in the day.

Yes, there can be men spotted throughout the winter in Bozeman still wearing some sort of sweatshirt, shorts, and sneaker combo. In warmer states, this wouldn’t be as impressive, but in Montana, specifically Bozeman, where it is not uncommon to see temperatures drop below zero degrees for a couple of days at a time, this is quite a feat of fortitude.

For those who aren’t fortunate enough to have adapted to the freezing temperatures in such a way, winter fashion in Bozeman is not about looking trendy. There comes a temperature threshold when one must throw aside their favorite Forever 21 jacket that would be hard pressed to keep a person warm in 50 degree weather in favor of a goose-down puffball of a coat. When temperatures drop below 10 degrees and you have to be outside for a significant period of time, winter fashion in Bozeman is not about being trendy, it’s about survival.

If you are a local, you’ve already got it down, and this article is just reinforcing knowledge you’ve had for years.

If you are an out-of-state-er, listen up. Unless you just want to wear your ski clothes around every day, here are the top five things to wear to stay warm through the winter months.

1.          Waterproof Footwear

Many girls make the mistake of wearing UGGs around town right after it snows. If you are an out of state girl going to school in Bozeman, you have probably been guilty of it at one point or another.

MSU Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in November by Nicole
MSU Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in November by Nicole

While these wonderful sheepskin lined boots keep your feet toasty and warm, your typical UGG offers little to no traction. It is a known thing around the MSU campus that on the first day of snow, all the out of state students wearing UGGs will slip and fall. Usually, flat on their backs. This first-day-of-snow slipping epidemic happens every year. MSU students look forward to it, and will talk about it on social media the day of the first snow.f you would like to avoid this pitfall, save your UGGs for when the snow has melted off the sidewalks and you can trek around safely. If you could care less and have a good sense of balance, then just keep working the UGG look.

Guys, unless your shoes have some tread on the bottom, leave them at home when the snow arrives. Converse, and shoes of the like, are a no no. Not only will your feet get soaked with freezing cold melt off, you will also slip, and probably fall on your behind along with the UGG wearing hordes.

Now, if you want to keep your feet toasty while managing to avoid falling flat on your back every day, Sorel snow boots are awesome. They’ve got tall boots and little booties alike for a nice variety, and they aren’t so massive that you look flat out ridiculous wearing them casually, like some other boot options. The Northface has some great picks for guys, like waterproof sneakers or tall boots for deeper snow. Basically anything that’s waterproof with traction is ideal, so if you want to save a buck head to Walmart over on 7th for less costly versions of similar boots.

2.   Goose-down Jackets

As mentioned before, your cute little cotton jacket is probably not going to cut it when temperatures start falling into single digits. You’ll be fine if it’s around 30 degrees with no wind chill, but any colder and you are going to need some other, more serious options for warmth.

I cannot say enough good things about goose-down jackets. Ladies and gents alike, goose-down jackets are your saviors when the thermometer starts dropping. A lot of goose-down coats can be extremely puffy, but looking like a marshmallow is a small price to pay to stay warm.

When you’re buying a goose-down jacket, look for a fill count that is 550 plus. Basically, the higher the fill count, the warmer the jacket will keep

you, and the highest quality fill commercially available is 900. 900 fill is designed for mountaineering and alpine climbing, so if you are not looking to go that hardcore, a solid 600 or 700 fill will do wonders for your comfort level in single digit temperatures.

3.   Fleece-lined Leggings and Tights

In other states, wearing a skirt with tights underneath during the winter months is more than enough to keep a gal cozy. While it is not an uncommon sight in Bozeman to see a tights and skirt combo in 10 degree weather, some people out there would like a little more insulation.

Fleece lined tights and leggings are pretty awesome. Whether you’re wearing them under a pair of jeans for some extra warmth, or are pairing them up with a dress, fleece lined tights and leggings do a pretty solid job of keeping you comfortably warm.

Guys, you probably aren’t walking around wearing tights and legging on a regular basis, unless that’s your style, then by all means go for it. If it is extremely chilly out, and jeans just aren’t doing the trick by themselves, some thermal underwear will help. Patagonia and Jockey have some great selections.

4.          Scarves and Mittens

There are days when you walk outside, take one deep breath, and immediately feel your boogers freezing in your nose. These are the type of days where you’re going to want a scarf and mittens.

For some reason, a simple piece of extra cloth around your neck goes a long way when combatting winter chill. A knit scarf will keep you snug, and looks pretty fashionable too if you’re into that sort of thing.

Guys, some of you are not bold enough to flaunt a scarf around town. That’s understandable, but you shouldn’t have any issues with mittens or gloves.

Northface running gloves by Nicole
Northface running gloves by Nicole

These little bad boys are key come winter time. If you’d like feel your hands rather than spend the rest of your day rubbing the numbing redness out of them, gloves and mittens are a great choice. Some brands out there let you work your touch screen phone without taking your hands out of the glove, a nice touch for those who are tech obsessed.

These options seem like pretty obvious choices when it comes to heat retention, but a lot of people don’t realize how much warmer they would be if they actually wore them. Just do it, you’ll feel better when it’s freezing outside.

5.   Hats

We all know the stats on how much heat exits the body through the head. It’s a lot. So just swallow your pride, wear a hat, and give your ears a break from the cold.

Whether it’s a beanie, a baseball cap, a knit headband, or any of the other multifarious options for head covering, a good hat will keep your ears from freezing, and help retain heat.

Bonus Tip: If you are in a hat pinch, but have Beats by Dre or any of those other humongous headphones that cover your ears on you, wear them when you are walking around outside. Not only do they allow you to listen to music on the go, but they will simultaneously keep your ears warm and cozy.

So there you go reader, the top 5 things to wear to stay warm this winter. Of course, these are all pretty obvious choices, but if I can keep one less girl from falling on her behind while wearing UGGs in the snow, I will consider this article a success.

If worst comes to worst, just look into purchasing one of these numbers…

Photo by Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images

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