8 Winter Fashion Tips You'll Actually Want to Try in 2021

From creative layering to dressing up leggings, here's how to combine comfort and style for the months ahead.

Munaiya Bilal
Miu Miu cardigan and leggings. Etro jacket. Dior blouse. Wolford turtleneck. Hermès scarf (worn as headscarf). Manner Market scarf. Photo: Alexander Saladriga

For the better part of 2020, our biggest fashion questions were ones of genuine confusion. Do we really need to get dressed while working from home? Where can we buy more sweatsuits? And, when will we finally get to wear the dresses, skirts, and slacks still sitting in our closet?

While we're unfortunately still navigating what, exactly, it means to have style during a global pandemic, we do know that for winter 2021, layering remains important, especially as the cold (and, ugh, snow) comes rolling on in. That's why it makes perfect sense that the season's top trends and tips have less to do with details like ruffles and sequins, and more do with layering, scarves, and finding fun outerwear.

To provide you with a bit of inspiration, model Munaiya Bilal took a few of the season's key pieces for a spin around N.Y.C., demonstrating a some unexpected and, yes, practical ways to wear them in the months ahead.

Play Peek-a-Boo

Munaiya Bilal
Chanel jacket, vest, and sweater. Chloé turtleneck. Hermès scarf. Hijab, her own. Beauty Beat: A swipe of sheer gloss, such as CoverGirl Exhibitionist Lip Gloss in Ghosted ($7; target.com), is the perfect subtle statement for any look. Alexander Saladriga

On freezing cold days, you might feel the need to pile on those sweaters and jackets. But dressing for warmth doesn't always equal boring. Let a layer with a print or eye-catching trim peek out from beneath your coat to add some spice to your outdoor ensemble.

Go Beyond the Basics

Munaiya Bilal
Prada coat, blouse, pants, sunglasses, and handbag. Who Shirt Company turtleneck. Manner Market scarf. Hermès shoes. Hijab, her own. Alexander Saladriga

We love our puffers and classic black coats, but if you're tired of blending in (or never getting show off your specific aesthetic, since you're always bundled up), choose to stand out. Instead of wearing solids and neutrals, find a trench or top coat with a playful print.

Swap Out Your Sweats

Munaiya Bilal
Michael Kors Collection coat and belt. Louis Vuitton sweater, shirt, and pants. Who Shirt Company turtleneck. Hermès shoes. Hijab, her own. Alexander Saladriga

We get it: loungewear is it right now. But if you're searching for a way to combine comfort and style for when you (safely) venture out, try a baggy pair of khaki pants. They'll be loose on your legs, allowing for movement, but are sleek and elevated at the same time.

Mix and Match

Munaiya Bilal
Martine Rose x Farah sweater (around shoulders). Max Mara coat and scarf (worn as headscarf). Alexander McQueen dress and belt. Monse turtleneck. Manner Market scarf. Hermès shoes. Alexander Saladriga

Instead of haphazardly throwing on shirts, sweaters, and scarves, dare yourself to mix prints while sticking with the same color scheme.

Invest in a Neckerchief

Munaiya Bilal
Martine Rose x Farah sweater (around shoulders). Brunello Cucinelli blazer and blouse. Who Shirt Company turtleneck. Hermès scarf. Hijab, her own. Hair: Naeemah LaFond for The Wall Group. Makeup: Marcelo Gutierrez for Jess Moloney Mgmt. Manicure: Nori for Artlist. Casting: Ricky Michiels. Model: Munaiya Bilal for Muse Model Management. Alexander Saladriga

We love the look of a turtleneck or collared shirt layered underneath button-downs and sweaters, but sometimes, piling on those pieces can make us feel a little too toasty. A small neck scarf tucked into your top will provide a similar pop, minus the risk of sweating.

Get Creative

Munaiya Bilal
Dior jacket, corset, blouse, scarf (worn as headscarf), and handbag. Who Shirt Company turtleneck. Monse pants. Hermès shoes. Alexander Saladriga

You don't have to stick with the traditional winter staples when layering this season. Add a vest, a corset top, a tee, or a crop top over your long-sleeved shirt or sweater, creating a combination that will keep the cold out, but, at the same time, is far from traditional or expected.

Add in Some Color

Munaiya Bilal
Bottega Veneta coat and bag. Thebe Magugu shirt. Who Shirt Company turtleneck. Miu Miu leggings. Market Manner scarf. Hijab, her own. Beauty Beat: Add a veil of coverage, hydration, and SPF with Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Makeup SPF 45 ($45; esteelauder.com). Alexander Saladriga

While winter is known for its neutrals and darker shades, it's worth it to add in a small splash of color, taking your look to the next level. You don't have to go all out, either. Blue stripes or even a vibrant, beaded bag is an easy way to add oomph to your outfit.

Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Munaiya Bilal
Louis Vuitton jacket, top, pants, and handbag. Who Shirt Company turtleneck. Hermès scarf (worn as headscarf) and shoes. Alexander Saladriga

We're still big supporters of wearing leggings as pants, and will forever be fans of pajama dressing. Combine comfort with fashion by dressing up your loungewear and stretchy pieces with structured jackets and shirts, or reach for prints and color over traditional black and gray.

For more stories like this, pick up the January 2021 issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Dec 18th.

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