It’s that time of year again: exams! But fuck that shit, more exciting things are happening! The first snowfalls are touching down all across this fine nation (disregarding the poor bastards up north who don’t have the privilege of traditional seasons) and actually sticking around, so it’s time again to put aside your final exam cramming long enough to pull the snow gear out of storage! Or, at least, go shopping for some new stuff that doesn’t smell like mothballs and dried rock salt. Yay, shopping!
But be wary; the landscape of Canadian winter fashion is difficult to navigate (and not just because of the patches of black ice). There are endless choices, so many ways to express your individuality, and yet, let’s face it, winter gear is ridiculously expensive…you’re gonna be stuck with this outfit for the next 3 to 4 months, so you better choose wisely! So to guide you through the minefield and help you make it through the harsh Canadian winter with your dignity intact, here is: The Ultimate Female Fashion Guide for Winters at Canadian Universities.
What is it your mom always said? Something like 80% of your body heat escapes through your head? Well better bundle that shit up then!
The knit headband
You’re prim, proper, pretty, preppy, and cute as a button to boot! Why not shove that in everyone’s face with the most refined winter headgear this season, the knit headband! Now with subtle variations like the cute little twist, so you can show off your quirky side too!
Pairs best with long hair that’s been painstakingly straightened, and then meticulously re-curled for just the right amount (but god forbid, not too much!) boho-chic waves. The illusion of easy-going looseness takes time, you know!
The slouchy beanie
For those who think that those who wear knit headbands are just too uptight, embrace your inner slacker with a slouchy beanie!
Those knit headband-wearers just can’t handle your free spirit! You’re unpredictable! You’re up for literally anything! But omg, not that, what kind of a weirdo freak do they think you are?? You know what, it’s been a long night, you’re just gonna go hang out with your friends who wear knit headbands because at the end of the day you’re essentially just like them but you just like the tiny bit your slouchy beanie sets you apart from them (also you just look better in hats).
Express this and so much more (but not too much more) with a slouchy beanie. Pairs best with a Bounce dryer sheet in your bag so you can smooth down your staticky hat hair in the washroom.
Anything with fur
Trapper hats, earmuffs, headbands, whatever! What matters is the fur! PETA, schmee-TA! Grr, you’re a wild one, ain’t cha?
ProTip: headgear with fur pretty much limits you to boots with equally showy and extravagant fur, because if you go fur you better go fur all the way; chickening out now will just make you look weak.
Sidenote: At least in Greater Montreal Area, please note that all of these options are just amature hour placeholders until Igloofest rolls around.
You didn’t spend a small fortune on lavender-scented hand lotion made from organic ingredients just to have your hands end up all wind-chapped anyway!
Canada Olympic mittens
Weep. Weep because you don’t have your own pair of Olympic mittens. Weep because all the Zellers’ have closed and you’re going to have to go all the way to The Bay to get your own pair of Olympic mittens. Weep because the new design isn’t as uniformly red as the models from 2010 and 2012.
Oh well, at least you can use your iPhone without risking losing your entire hand to frostbite. Hah, suckers.
You’re a busy university student! You’ve got shit to do, readings to read, essays to BS! And even if you’re skipping classes, your phone, wallet, and laptop aren’t going to carry themselves to the Starbucks!
The Longchamp bag
Quiet, simple, unassuming. Plus it folds away for storage, so you can actually carry multiple Longchamp bags inside your Longchamp bag! And nothing says elegance and class like paying a hundred dollars for dyed canvas and some leather straps.
The Jansport backpack
You were a true 90s kid. You wore the scrunchies, you danced the Macarena at birthday parties, and you understand nearly 90% of those Buzzfeed lists! And now you’re all grown up, strutting your way into adulthood through the icy Canadian winter, and you need something bright and colourful to offset your black winter jacket (pay no attention to those other coloured jackets…they’re lies! All lies!). Enter the Jansport backpack, a true blast from the past, but now with a handy internal sleeve to protect your MacBook Air when you inevitable slip on a patch of ice and fall on your ass!
The Herschel backpack
You’re not really down for the showy bright colours of the Jansport bags, but you’ve still got that pesky MacBook Air to haul around! So many problems, so little time! And that’s why you go for the clean lines and understated tones of the Herschel backpack (you especially like the funky prints on the lining, for that subtle but oh-so-necessary touch of quirk) (but not too quirky, that’s important too).
You’re in the North, and you’ve got a Face. Perfect fit! (And people say it’s a true winter sports-person’s jacket and the down lining will keep you warm, blah blah blah. What’s important is that you look fucking stunning in it!)
For those not in Montreal: You don’t belong in this podunk university town. You’re clearly too good for all these immature frat parties and keggers. Clearly, the universe has wronged you somehow, because by all rights you should be partying it up in Montreal, wowing everybody with your French Immersion mastery of la langue d’amour. And nothing screams this better than a jacket that’s essentially identical to those North Face jackets your plebeian peers are wearing, except with an eye-catching patch on the sleeve!
For those in Montreal: Woohoo.
Whoa there, look at little Miss Fancy-pants here! What are you, better than everyone else or somethin’?
Non-optional. No substitutions, no excuses.
You may be able to get away with skinny jeans or jeggings, but make sure to walk fast so no one gets a good look at your legs.
No one likes frostbitten toes, or wet socks!
Around these parts, the snow drifts tend to pile up mighty high. Well good news! Those furry tufts sticking out of your legs aren’t just fashionable, they’re functional too! Enjoy tromping through the unshovelled pathways at your campus on your way to class, while your lower legs stay snow-free!
ProTip: Invest in some thick socks so that you can transition into flip-flop season as easily and quickly as possible, while everyone else is still nursing their mangled and callused feet back into shape.
Short Sorel boots
You like the general clunky aesthetic of the Sorel boots, but you feel like the fur cuff on the hood of your coat is all the fur you really need. Thank goodness you don’t have to compromise! Plus, the short length of these boots means that you can draw more attention to the funky knit socks you wear over your mandatory black tights!
Hunter rainboots with felt insert
You’ve already paid an arm and a leg for a pair of boots to keep your feet dry during the warmer seasons, why should you have to do it all over again for the winter!? Who needs two pairs of overpriced boots when you can just buy a set of overpriced felt booties to make one overpriced pair of multi-season boots! Besides, come hell or high water, your socks will stay dry as a bone, even if it kills you! Which, considering the grip on those rainboots, it just might…
Oh, sweetie. Look, 2008 called…
The Final Word
There you go! Follow this guide to help you go forth and pick out the winter look that best expresses you. But a word of caution: don’t get too nuts with the individual style here…we’re not fucking around; the temperatures and weather aren’t the only things harsh about Canadian winters, and outliers will be punished. You have been warned.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are intended to be humourous in nature, whether or not they actually are. I in no way assert that these views are factual, right, or even mine, seeing as I have the fashion sense of a colour-blind frog. I implore you not to take any fashion advice from this post, as it lead you nowhere. If you are offended by this post, then I am sorry, that was not my intention. If you write a long-ass post detailing how the various microaggressions contained in this post are harmful to society, please keep in mind that this was written for the sake of (probably poorly-executed) comedy, which tends to rely on generalisations, stereotypes, and exaggerations, and also that I am sorry (for both the microaggressions and the poorly-executed attempt at comedy). That said, please send me the link to your long-ass post, I would be very interested in reading it.