How to dress for a UAE 'winter': five style hacks and tips to know

How to dress for chilly mornings and evenings without overheating at lunchtime

Layering is key if you want to dress for chilly mornings and balmy days. Getty Images
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Living in the UAE, we spend most of our time trying to stay cool. Opting for light and loose silhouettes and sandals for nine months of the year leaves us eager to don oversized sweaters and leather trousers the moment the mercury dips below 25°C. Visitors arriving from much colder climes may laugh at residents sitting by the beach in boots.

It’s not only about a longing to show off our winter investments. It’s also about being acclimatised. Who hasn’t stepped out on their balcony in 18°C, shivered and thrown on an outfit more befitting of a crisp autumn day in Europe? But, post-morning commute, as the weather heats up, that turtleneck more often than not begins to feel like a bad idea.

The key to functionality and winter fashion lies in some clever styling hacks. These tips below will show you how you can embrace your turtlenecks, outerwear and knee-high boots.

It’s all about that base

When dressing in freezing climates, it’s all about the base layers. Anyone who has been to snowy climes knows the importance of thermals. However, the base takes on a different significance in warmer environs such as the UAE, where the temperature doesn’t drop too low.

To give yourself a sense of ease when styling up your look at the beginning of the day, always ensure your base is a key part of your ensemble. So, if you’re out and about and things start to heat up, you don’t mind showing off your sleek white tee or silky chemise.

Love your layers

A layer or two is a fun way to experiment and can help to elevate any outfit, especially in the cooler months. From clashing prints to textures and even piling on accessories, you can dress up even the simplest of looks.

Always work from the base up. If it’s set to be a warmer day, look at adding a shirt underneath a slip dress, or opt for materials such as chiffon, mesh and lace. Another tip is to look for sleeveless outwear such as a long blazer or trench-style jacket.

Boss the boots

When it comes to wearing boots, it’s all about forward planning. If you’re going from home to an air-conditioned office or venturing out for the night, you can embrace this season’s knee-high boot trend.

Unlike street style stars in New York and London, who are donning shearling and thigh-high styles, look for slouchy silhouettes or boots that open at the top, allowing a little air to circulate. A cowboy boot is another great option to try, teamed with a lace white dress fit for the prairie.

Chunky Chelsea boots and combat-style lace-ups are also having a moment. Ending at the ankle, they are perfect for wearing out and about during the day, as long as the rest of your look isn’t too heavy and hot. This means if you’re planning on lunching al fresco, steer clear of heavy jeans or knit dresses. Always wear with a pair of thin cotton socks for added comfort. They can prevent moisture and sweating.

Time for tights

We still wear trousers when it's warm outside, so why not style up your look with some tights? Forget those 40 denier multipacks and look at opaque pieces that feature patterns or embellishments. Even the most renowned design houses have embraced the trend, offering up logo-splattered looks that are ready to make a statement at any time of the day. Work them into a monochrome look before braving a colour or two for an easy way to update your wardrobe. Team with a chunky boot for extra style points this season.

Lady and the turtleneck

A turtleneck is a minimalist must-have. Whether you opt for a shirt or a sweater, the problem is it's always a gamble if, a few hours in, your neck is drenched in sweat. If you still want to make this style statement, there are three ways to do it.

Firstly, opt for a design where the neck is loose. This allows your body to breathe, meaning with any luck, you won't be standing under the air-conditioning unit, flapping about wishing you could take it off.

The next is obvious, but wear your turtleneck as a layer so you are able to remove it at midday and pull it back on as the sun is setting. This means your outfit won't quite be complete for most of the day, but it does give you options if your plans suddenly change.

Thirdly, embrace the turtleneck, but not as you know it. Look to the turtleneck bib, also known as a collar. Evolved to be worn on top of your outfit, it looks sleek layered with a crisp white shirt.

Updated: January 15, 2022, 4:13 AM