Gentle Adventure is a project that aims to encourage a beautiful, ethical and sustainable lifestyle.

Dressing Vegan in the Winter

It’s the coldest month of the year as I’m writing this, temperatures as low as minus 10 to minus 20 Celsius degrees (14 to -4 F). This year I’ve been dressing almost vegan for the first time (previously I had leather shoes, second hand wool coats, now there’s just the second hand hats of nonvegan materials) and I feel like I’ve finally learned to dress warm in the cold.

I’ve learned layering is more important than the materials. Layer layer layer. Layering is key. I wear black leggings under my jeans, t-shirt or long sleeved thin knit under a shirt and a thicker sweater or knit on top.

My coat is a cotton-polyester blend, vintage (made in Finland!), with a detachable artificial fur collar and thin polyester padding. The outer fabric has been effective against wind, and the length keeps my legs warm too. I looked for a vegan winter coat for some time, as I wanted to buy one second hand. There are some new vegan wool coats available, like the classics from Vautecouture and Brave Gentlemen, but they are quite large investments. Puffer coats are available with polyester padding (often also second hand!), check the labels to avoid down or fur trims. Consider layering coats as well, jean jackets can help wrap the warmth around you when buttoned up properly.

Ears and head
My second hand acrylic balaclava has been wonderful. It’s quite thin, but it has kept my ears, neck and forehead toasty. I usually wear a knit beanie on top for extra warmth and looks (the balaclava is somehow less peculiar with the beanie, I look slightly less like an angry seal who’s pissed of for being dragged out of the ocean for no good reason whatsoever). Hoods on coats are also great for protecting ears from the wind and frost. Scarves can be worn over ears as well and as additional warmth over shoulders, neck and face.

I use second hand padded gloves in nylon and polyester. Thick nylon or canvas mittens would probably be even warmer. Look for a thick, wind-proof outer fabric. I’d recommend purchasing thinner, touch screen compatible gloves to wear under thicker gloves, layers again.

Combine regular cotton socks with thicker polyester/acrylic/cotton socks. I’ve been loving my Vegetarian Shoes Chelsea boots. Winter boots should generally be roomy to wear with thick socks, and have some height in the ankle, otherwise all the snow will get to your feet. Textured soles are usually less slippery.

Many people might feel like they need to wear wool, down or fur in the winter, but these materials are in no way necessary. Layer up smartly, and you’ll stay warm. Cover up extremities like fingers, toes and ears in multiple layers of fabrics. Button up coats and shirts, and add extra padded clothes on top when needed and you’re good even in arctic Finland.

We’re really looking forward to the Fashion Animals book by the amazing Joshua Katcher. It’s about the animals exloited in the fashion industry, a subject that hasn’t been discussed in a book like this ever before. Go pre-order or contribute to the publishing on Indiegogo!


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