3 winter outfit formulas we’re stealing from Instagram

Written by Harriet Davey

More time scrolling on Instagram has led to finding outfit combinations to try – these are the easy looks to give a go this winter.

It turns out we all like loungewear, a lot. According to shopping platform Liketoknow.it, loungewear searches are up by 1000% since lockdown 1.0 began, proving comfort wins at the moment. The thing is though, there’s only so many times you can wear the same – potentially coffee-stained – grey sweatshirt and joggers, right? We’re not forgetting about them entirely (how could we when they’ve stuck by us for so long) but sometimes it’s good to put on an everyday outfit that doesn’t involve an elasticated waist and a drawstring. 

Not only have we been spending more time searching online for loungewear, we’re sure most people will agree that screen time has rocketed. If you have an iPhone, it will be giving you updates on how long you’ve been staring at your screen – we bet a large percentage is on social media. We’re all guilty of it, but we can feel less guilt if it’s for ‘research’. 

Instagram is a go-to for outfit inspiration – along with food, homeware and cute pets – and we want to show you some winter looks that are easy to try out. Just follow these simple outfit formulas below.

1. Knit vest + shirt 

Unless you’ve been taking a hiatus from browsing social media apps, you will most likely have noticed the knit vest that’s been making it’s way into the wardrobes of stylist women everywhere. Spotted on the autumn/winter catwalks at the likes of Prada and Dior, they soon filtered through to high street and independent brands. 

The ‘grandpa’ knit has gained has reached new sartorial heights this year – not only is the pull-over style still going strong, the knitted waistcoat with buttons is now joining the cosy gang. So, how do you wear the vest? Of course winter calls for layers so rely on the shirt to give you the sleeves cold days ask for. We’ll let some of Instagram’s residents show you how it’s done.

The knit vest was big news in the ‘70s and fashion influencer Hodan shows how to keep it slightly retro by teaming with a vintage printed shirt. Giving pre-loved items another lease of life by mixing with new trending items the vest) is a great way to style an outfit at all times. 

Going for a tight, cropped vest instead of some of the oversized styles doing the rounds is a way to make it look more polished. We love how the high/low outfit is a combination of fitted and oversized shapes with chunky shoes and timeless accessories. 

If you’re not ready for a skirt during winter, just yet, try this top combination with straight-leg jeans and white trainers. Trust us, it works. 

Embracing the full preppy nostalgic vibe of the knit vest, creative consultant Trine pairs a deep V-neck style with a Ganni printed shirt. On paper, this doesn’t sound like it would work, but IRL (you can see for yourself) it somehow does. It’s all about embracing the fact your outfit is going to make a statement. 

Mixing clashing colours, prints and weaving in mini trends such as oversized ruffles is never going to be a wallflower moment. In full Scandi style, Trine adds more elements to the outfit with leather trousers. If you want to take it one step at a time, tone it down and go for a neutral knit over a soft printed shirt instead. Either way, adding a knit vest to a shirt is the winter layered look you’re bound to see more of. 

Get the look

  • Blake LDN vest

    Blake LDN vest

    The go-to for sustainable knitwear, this Blake LDN vest also comes in cream. 

    Shop The Rose vest at Blake LDN, £125


  • Wales Bonner shirt

    Wales Bonner shirt

    Poke the fancy embroidered collar out of the top of the layered vest and pair with wide-leg trousers. 

    Shop Wales Bonner Palms blouse at Net-a-Porter, £395


2. Shorts + knee-high boots

Baring your legs after months (possibly working from home) indoors doesn’t sound too appealing, but shorts for winter are a thing. The autumn/winter catwalk saw Vera Wang put shorts with thigh high socks and platforms shoes, while Marc Jacobs went for longer Bermuda iterations worn as a sleek suit. 

Take inspiration from the catwalk but tweak the trend with the Instagram way to wear the usually summer-only item: tailored shorts + knee-high boots. Making the combination even more wearable, the knee-high boots of interest are flat, chunky and comfortable. 

Fashion influencer Emmanuelle shows exactly how to make shorts winter-ready. Items can work hard in your wardrobe across all seasons as long as you get layering right. Of course in summer you could wear these tailored neutral shorts with a cami top and sandals but for winter, they need more thought. 

A roll neck knit should already be in your capsule wardrobe and you can see why. Adding a cosy feel to short shorts, when added with a maxi coat they take on a whole new vibe. To finesse the look, it’s all about the boots. The thick tread knee-high boot is part of the stomper gang and they’ve been given the full seal of approval for both practically, style and comfort. 

For the Marc Jacobs way of wearing shorts, look to the Bermuda. A slightly longer length short, this style will show less leg so it’ll be more weather-appropriate for extra cold days. The trick is to make sure they’re tailored and smart – like Renia, above – instead of basketball player-esque jersey pairs. 

Keep the look polished by wearing with a flat knee high boot and take them straight into winter territory with a chunky knit. Tights are also an option – designer slogan pairs from Chanel and Burberry have become key this season. Of course a pair of black tights will also do the job. 

Get the look

  • & Other Stories shorts

    & Other Stories shorts

    Shorts may be typically summery but when they’re in a neutral hue – and cleverly layered – they can be a winter staple.

    Shop paperbag waist shorts at & Other Stories, £65


  • Zara boots

    Zara boots

    A track sole boot in rubber is the 2021 version of the classic Wellington boot. Get them in black or khaki at Zara. 

    Shop rubberised flat boots at Zara, £55.99


3. Collared jumper + leather trousers

It may be because we’ve become accustomed to dressing from the waist up for video calls and meetings, but detailed collars have made a mark. Focusing on the neckline, they’ve been added to everything from dresses and blouses to knitwear. That’s right, the collared jumper is the stylish update on the polo top this season. 

Adding a new edge to classic knitwear styles, when teamed with luxe leather (real or faux) trousers they become elevated to new dreamy heights. Take note from Instagram’s finest on how to wear one of the simplest – yet most effective – winter outfit formulas. 

Model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has recently dubbed @abimarvel as one of the best Instagram accounts to follow, and rightly so. 

The account by creative director Abisola Omole is a destination for both fashion and interiors. And of course Abi was quick to try out the collared knit and leather trousers trend in top-to-toe Violeta at Mango. 

Proving a simple style often wins, you could also try out the collared knit over a roll neck top with track sole stomper boots for outside of the house. 

Backing up our point with the stomper boots, fashion influencer Eva is effortless in a French Connection collared jumper and faux leather trousers. An easy way to wear this look is by keeping the jumper out or sizing up for an oversized laid-back vibe. 

When it gets to spring, switch to leather or suede shorts with sandals for a way to wear knitwear across all seasons. All hail the new collared knits, we predict they’ll stick around for the long haul. 

Shop the look

  • Cos jumper

    Cos collared jumper

    For extra cold days, layer with V-neck knit over a cream high neck top. Add layered golden chains to complete the look. 

    Shop knitted lambswool to at Cos, £69


  • Arket leather trousers

    Arket leather trousers

    For wardrobe separates and minimal classics, Arket is also a go-to when it comes to leather trousers that’ll go the distance. 

    Shop leather trousers at Arket, £250


Opening image: Getty

Other images: Instagram from women featured

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