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8 Must-Have Accessories for Winter

Stay toasty with scarves, hats and boots that will meet cold weather head-on

spinner image A woman wearing a brown hat, scarf and coat outdoors during the winter
CentralITAlliance/Getty Images

Few people at age 50 plan the miscellaneous jumble of hats, scarves and boots that punctuate their winter clothes. Instead, they wear leftovers from seasons past, which often include gloves with holes, hats that don’t cover adequately and grungy boots suited to a trek in the wilderness, not a casual outing or business meeting. Usually we make do, cross our fingers and hope spring arrives early. Not good enough! These updates will keep you warm, dry and stylish, from slush to snowstorm.

1. Everyday knit beanies

spinner image Connectyle Classic Acrylic Knit Cuff Daily Beanie in Light Coffee; Uniqlo Heattech Watch Cap in 08 Dark Gray; Furtalk Women’s Winter Knitted Beanie With Faux Fur Pom Pom in 01 Black
(Left to right) Connectyle Classic Acrylic Knit Cuff Daily Beanie in Light Coffee; Uniqlo Heattech Watch Cap in 08 Dark Gray; Furtalk Women’s Winter Knitted Beanie With Faux Fur Pom Pom in 01 Black
Amazon; UNIQLO; Amazon

They’re genderless, keep heat in and cold out, and look cool with any coat or jacket — from down (feather) to double-breasted — no matter where you live and work. The best are no-frills ribbed and cuffed beanies — like the Uniqlo Heattech Watch Cap in 08 Dark Gray, 09 Black ($20, uniqlo.com) and Connectyle Classic Acrylic Knit Cuff Daily Beanie in Light Coffee, Charcoal Grey, Black or Navy Blue ($12, amazon.com) — that are easy to stow in pockets, stretch to hug all head shapes and sizes, and come in a wide range of neutrals. Mature women who want a shot of glam can even opt for a pom-pom-topped style, like the Furtalk Women’s Winter Knitted Beanie With Faux Fur Pom Pom in 01 Black ($16, amazon.com). Stick to neutrals here for a posh look.

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2. Chill-chasing trappers and balaclavas

spinner image Chok.Lids Waterproof Winter Trapper Hat Unisex in Putty; Ewaycom Women’s One-Piece Cable Knit Hood/Balaclava With Faux Fur Trim in Grey; Carhartt Fleece 2-in-1 Hat in Brite Orange; Stetson Men’s Nylon Trapper Hat in Black
(Left to right) Chok.Lids Waterproof Winter Trapper Hat Unisex in Putty; Ewaycom Women’s One-Piece Cable Knit Hood/Balaclava With Faux Fur Trim in Grey; Carhartt Fleece 2-in-1 Hat in Brite Orange; Stetson Men’s Nylon Trapper Hat in Black
Amazon (2); Carhartt; Macy's

Some people have a cheery attitude toward winter. They’ll choose a metallic silver parka, a cable-knit sweater in sunny orange or a statement hat that makes shoveling the walk and walking the dog an event. Two frost-fleeing hat styles, trappers and hood/balaclavas, are derived from practical hunting and ski hats. Trapper styles — like the Stetson Men’s Nylon Trapper Hat in Black ($79, macys.com) and Chok.Lids Waterproof Winter Trapper Hat Unisex in Putty, Army Green or White ($25, amazon.com) — provide extra coverage and warmth, thanks to the lining, ear flaps and chin strap. Or try a hood or balaclava with optional lower face panel — like the Ewaycom Women’s One-Piece Cable Knit Hood/Balaclava With Faux Fur Trim in Grey or Khaki ($18, amazon.com) and Carhartt Fleece 2-in-1 Hat in Brite Orange ($30, carhartt.com) — to fight biting winds that chap cheeks and lips.

3. Hair-happy ear warmers

spinner image Ikepod Classic Australian Sheepskin Earmuffs in Black; Dikoaina Women’s Faux Fur Headband Ear Warmer in Black; Simplicity Unisex Warm Faux Furry EarMuffs in Burgundy
(Left to right) Ikepod Classic Australian Sheepskin Earmuffs in Black; Dikoaina Women’s Faux Fur Headband Ear Warmer in Black; Simplicity Unisex Warm Faux Furry EarMuffs in Burgundy
Amazon (3)

Worried that a hat or hood will flatten your blowout, crush your curls or leave static flyaway hair in its wake? Hat hair is an issue for many women age 50-plus, though less so today, thanks to more casual styling. However, sophisticated faux fur and shearling ear muffs and headbands — like the Ikepod Classic Australian Sheepskin Earmuffs in Black ($25, amazon.com), Simplicity Unisex Warm Faux Furry EarMuffs in Burgundy ($18, amazon.com) and Dikoaina Women’s Faux Fur Headband Ear Warmer in Silver Grey or Black ($15, amazon.com) — are soft, fluffy and protective (won’t leave dents or crimps, and will float over hair rather than mash it down). Stick to neutrals and jewel tones.

4. Practical gloves

spinner image Ugg All Weather Touchscreen Compatible Quilted Gloves; Omechy Winter Knitted Convertible Glove/Mittens in Dark Grey; Lands’ End Women’s EZ Touch Screen Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves in Black
(Left to right) Ugg All Weather Touchscreen Compatible Quilted Gloves; Omechy Winter Knitted Convertible Glove/Mittens in Dark Grey; Lands’ End Women’s EZ Touch Screen Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves in Black
Nordstrom; Amazon; Lands' End

Nearly everyone has a pile of gloves (some missing a mate) and snowball-ready mittens (dirty and pilled) that are not compatible with our cellphone-at-all-times lifestyles. Technology-enabled lined leather gloves — like the Ugg All Weather Touchscreen Compatible Quilted Gloves ($78, nordstrom.com) and Lands’ End Women’s EZ Touch Screen Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves in Black, Cognac or Dark Cameo Gray ($56, landsend.com) — work with phone screens so that you can answer calls, browse, text and keep fingers toasty. Mittens are often sportier and warmer than gloves (thanks to the heat of a shared finger space), but they are bulky and more suited for the slopes. Instead, try a flip-top style like the Omechy Winter Knitted Convertible Glove/Mittens in Dark Grey ($17, amazon.com), which convert from tech-ready cropped gloves to toasty mittens in seconds, for a daily up-to-date solution.

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5. Cozy socks and tights

spinner image Wellow Knee High Compression Socks in Blue Steel Twist; Calzitaly Cashmere Wool Tights in Wine; Bombas Women’s Merino Wool Calf Socks in Olive
(Left to right) Wellow Knee High Compression Socks in Blue Steel Twist; Calzitaly Cashmere Wool Tights in Wine; Bombas Women’s Merino Wool Calf Socks in Olive
Wellow; Amazon; Bombas

Leg wear gets no thought until your toes feel like icicles and drafts are wafting up your midi dresses. Somehow the idea of buying seasonally warm socks and extra thick tights is never a priority. Do yourself a favor and try wool crews — like the Bombas Women’s Merino Wool Calf Socks in Olive, Black or Dark Charcoal ($20, bombas.com); knee-high socks like the Wellow Knee High Compression Socks in Blue Steel Twist or Plum Twist ($29, wearwellow.com) for inside boots; and a pair of sweater-y tights like the Calzitaly Cashmere Wool Tights in Black, Wine, Blue or Emerald Green ($28, amazon.com) under skirts and dresses.

6. Weatherproof ankle boots

spinner image Old Navy Water-Repellent Pull-On Chelsea Rain Boots for Women in Light Black Heather; Hunter Intrepid Snow Boot in Urban Grey; Blondo Hallie Waterproof Bootie in Black Leather
(Clockwise from left) Old Navy Water-Repellent Pull-On Chelsea Rain Boots for Women in Light Black Heather; Hunter Intrepid Snow Boot in Urban Grey; Blondo Hallie Waterproof Bootie in Black Leather
Old Navy; Nordstrom (2)

No need for tall galoshes unless you’re doing outdoor chores. Pull-on style Chelsea boots with an elasticized gore, sturdy lug sole and water-resistant or waterproof finish, and above-the ankle-fit to offer protection and traction for rain, slush and icy walkways. A pair like the Old Navy Water-Repellent Pull-On Chelsea Rain Boots for Women in Light Black Heather ($40, oldnavy.gap.com) or the Blondo Hallie Waterproof Bootie in Black Leather ($150, nordstrom.com) are versatile everyday choices and neatly fill the chilly gap between pants or jeans hem. They also look as stylish as their leather counterparts, so there’s no need to keep changing footwear to accommodate your schedule. For a more rugged option (for a long commute or errand hopping), try an insulated fleece-lined bootie like the Hunter Intrepid Snow Boot in Urban Grey or Black ($175, nordstrom.com). It is still ankle length, but with a chunky platform sole and elastic top line that’s impervious to puddles and drips.

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7. Seriously seasonal scarves

spinner image Ouniya Large Chunky Oversized Scarf for Women in Purple; Everlane The Felted Merino Waffle-Knit Scarf in Deep Camel; Mango Fringed Check Scarf in Black
(Left to right) Ouniya Large Chunky Oversized Scarf for Women in Purple; Everlane The Felted Merino Waffle-Knit Scarf in Deep Camel; Mango Fringed Check Scarf in Black
Amazon; Everlane; Mango

Though big “blanket” and circular infinity styles are still around, elongated scarves — like Everlane’s The Felted Merino Waffle-Knit Scarf in Deep Camel, Mid Heathered Grey or Black ($80, everlane.com) and Mango Fringed Check Scarf in Black ($50, mango.com/us) — offer the most style versatility. Just check out the current how-to videos on Instagram and Pinterest showing hundreds of ways to wrap, twist, knot and drape them for a cozier neck. For a chic monochromatic effect, match your scarf to your coat and bag and shoes or boots. Or choose a colorful scarf, like the Ouniya Large Chunky Oversized Scarf for Women in Purple, Denim Blue or Bright Green ($18, amazon.com), to make a statement, elevating boring old puffers and “winterizing” all-season trench coats and leather jackets.

8. Polarized sunglasses

spinner image Michael Kors MK5004 Polarized Aviators for Women in Gold/Brown; Foster Grant Grant Polarized Aviators; Lily Pulitzer 59mm Polarized Aviator Sunglasses in Shiny Gold/Gold Mirror
(Clockwise from top left) Michael Kors MK5004 Polarized Aviators for Women in Gold/Brown; Foster Grant Grant Polarized Aviators; Lily Pulitzer 59mm Polarized Aviator Sunglasses in Shiny Gold/Gold Mirror
Sunglass Hut; Foster Grant; Nordstrom

Bet you forgot this one! Sunglasses with 100 percent UVA or UVB protection are a winter essential that can help protect your eyes from ocular damage, wrinkling of the lids, skin cancer and even eye irritation (the latter a must on windy days!). Aviator styles are lightweight, and the arms slide easily under snug beanies and earmuffs … even when wearing behind-the-ear hearing aids and a face mask. Choose polarized lenses in green, gray or brown, like the Michael Kors MK5004 Polarized Aviators for Women in Gold/Brown ($139, sunglasshut.com). Or check out polarized mirrored lenses in blue, silver or gold — like the Lily Pulitzer 59mm Polarized Aviator Sunglasses in Shiny Gold/Gold Mirror ($48, nordstrom.com) and Foster Grant Grant Polarized Aviators ($31, fostergrant.com) — to decrease glare (snow and ice act as a reflector) and to sharpen contrast and depth perception, especially when driving.

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