7 Instagram-Approved Tips For Dining Outside In The Winter

by nyljaouadi1
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As someone who has successfully — and not so successfully — dined outside on several occasions since New York City’s indoor dining ban, I can say one thing for certain: staying warm is a struggle. Despite the efforts of many establishments to make customers comfortable, by building wooden infrastructures where the sidewalk used to be and placing heating lamps at every table, without proper sartorial preparations, no level of artificial heat will protect you from the winter elements. 

All to say: It’s important to be prepared. That involves thick, wool socks and, if you’re anything like us, a lot of Uniqlo Heattech. (And a face mask, of course.) Because while an oversized puffer seems obvious, ask anyone who’s tried to successfully eat ramen in a bulky down coat, and they’ll likely caution against it. Instead, thin, but effective, layers are key. 

Ahead, seven outfit tips to make wintertime outdoor dining more enjoyable. With a little inspiration and a lot of cold weather accessories, you’ll be slurping up carbonara in the snow in no time.

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Invest In Heat-Retaining Fabric

My rule of thumb for outdoor dressing is this: You should have a layer for every course you plan to order. Just drinks and an appetizer? You should be fine with a sweater and a coat. Drinks, apps, salad, entree, and dessert? Prepare to pack on more layers.

I like one (or more) of mine to be made up of Uniqlo’s Heattech line, which now ranges from leggings to T-shirts and accessories like gloves. You can also opt for something that is similarly designed to retain heat or fleece-lined leggings/shirt.

Uniqlo Heattech Ultra Warm Crew Neck T-Shirt, $, available at Uniqlo

Plush Fleece Lined Stirrup Leggings, $, available at Shopbop

32 Degrees Lightweight Baselayer Scoop Tee, $, available at 32 Degrees

Add A Turtleneck Layer

Feel like you’re almost there, but won’t quite be warm enough for two hours spent outside in January? Toss a ribbed turtleneck — perhaps even one with the aforementioned heat-retaining technology — underneath the matching sweatsuit or a sweater you’re wearing. It might seem unnecessary when you’re wearing long sleeves, but, when you’re between courses one and two and the chill starts to set in, you’ll appreciate the added layer of protection. 

Everlane Organic Cotton Turtleneck, $, available at Everlane

Eloquii Turtleneck Shoulder Pad Sweater, $, available at Eloquii

Giu Giu Blue Nonna Half Zip Polo Sweater, $, available at SSENSE

Don’t Underestimate Utility Boots

No longer are outdoor, waterproof boots only appropriate for hiking and fishing. The durable footwear option has become a popular alternative to heeled, leather booties in recent years in cities, with brands like Ganni and Acne Studios designing fashion-forward styles on the outdoor shoe staple. But the benefit of wearing waterproof, often thickly lined utility footwear doesn’t just have to do with their new-and-improved look. They’re also warmer than traditional footwear — even more so if you add a thick pair of wool socks underneath.

Hunter Refined Stitch Detail Short Rain Boots, $, available at Hunter

Everlane The Rain Boot, $, available at Everlane

Ganni Leather And Linen Snow Boots, $, available at Matches Fashion

Opt For A Longer Coat

A tiny, cropped coat is cute for photos, but when you’re planning to sit outside for a prolonged period of time, it may not be enough. That said, wearing a maxi coat does, in no way, equate to a lesser-than ‘fit. In fact, a lot of 2021’s chicest coats are ankle-length rather than cropped. Plus, as an added bonus, by opting for longer outerwear for dinner, you open up the possibility of hiding something more comfortable underneath (read: baggy sweatpants). Just make sure the coat isn’t too bulky or constricting or heavy, so you’re still comfortable eating/drinking.

Aritzia The Super Puff Long Goose-Down Puffer Jacket, $, available at Aritzia

Zara Faux Fur Wrap Coat, $, available at Zara

ASOS Curve Belted Longline Leather-Look Coat, $, available at ASOS

Throw On A Statement Beanie

We know, we know: Winter hats are the downfall of every good hair day. But, when you’re planning to spend over an hour in the cold, there’s really no accessory more capable of keeping you toasty than a beanie. Luckily, this season, designers have crafted winter headwear so cute, it’s actually worth the flat hair. (Think: colorful, knit beanies and fuzzy, shearling bucket hats that you won’t want to take off.) Don’t believe us? Just ask Zendaya. 

Urban Outfitters Super Chunky Knit PomPom Beanie, $, available at Urban Outfitters

Zara Ribbed Beanie, $, available at Zara

The Elder Statesman Watchman Tie-Dyed Ribbed Cashmere Beanie, $, available at Net-A-Porter

Wear An Oversized Scarf

The great thing about blanket-like scarves is just what you’d expect: They double as a throw that you can throw over your shoulders or cover your legs with while you’re eating.

Loewe Striped Brushed Mohair-Blend Scarf, $, available at Matches Fashion

COS Unisex Knitted Cashmere Scarf, $, available at COS

Free People Prep Brushed Plaid Blanket Scarf, $, available at Free People

Bring Reinforcements

Now that big bags have replaced tiny ones in fashion, it’s easier than ever to stylishly carry around extra warm layers wherever you go. That way, when appetizers and cocktails turn into a full-blown dinner, you won’t have to run to a nearby store to pick up a beanie or a pair of gloves. You’ll simply have to dig through everything else in your bag to find them. 

Nanushka Jo Pleated Tote Bag, $, available at Farfetch

Sandro , $, available at Farfetch

Autumn Cashmere Cashmere Fingerless Gloves, $, available at Revolve

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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