Best winter accessories to buy and wear now 2021: from balaclavas to ear muffs and leg warmers

Winter fashion: the accessories that will spice up all of your cold-weather outfits

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If your teeth are chattering and your cheeks are flushed red from the cold, then it may well be time to upgrade your winter accessory game.  

Now that temperatures have plummeted and our winter warmers have been whipped out of retirement, it seems high time that we considered the accessories we’ll be relying on to add a certain je ne sais quoi to our wardrobes this season.

Forget the aged beanie you’ve been wearing year in, year out, and the mittens that have warmed your paws since birth, for this winter it’s time to go bigger and harder than ever before with your accessorising. Don’t believe us? All it takes is one glimpse at the style set to see that this winter, things are different.  

Best winter accessories to buy and wear now 2021: from balaclavas to ear muffs and leg warmers
Winter accessories are back and kookier than ever.

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Hats have been knocked off the top spot by balaclavas (yes, really) and thick socks have been replaced by leg warmers (no, this isn’t a joke). This winter, it’s about time you swaddled yourself in the accessories that the fashion cognoscenti are similarly wrapping up in. This is the line-up of snuggly plus-ones we’re predicting big things for.


Best winter accessories to buy and wear now 2021: from balaclavas to ear muffs and leg warmers
Balaclavas are back and *actually* in fashion.

The winter accessory you thought you’d never have to see in a round-up has, unfortunately, made it into a round-up. According to recent data released by Depop, there’s been a 145% increase in searches for balaclavas in the past month, with the resale site now having been flooded with hand-knitted iterations.

Since Raf Simmons for Calvin Klein first purveyed the trend, souped-up snoods, as they were known in a former life, are back in a big way. All manner of brands, from Shrimps to Paloma Wool and Stella McCartney, have crafted their own takes on the balaclava, which deserves to be worn with your favourite knits and the ultimate winter warmer: a duvet coat

Winter sunglasses 

Winter accessories 2021: balaclavas, gloves and sunglasses
Winter sunglasses are an underrated style staple

For the otherwise uninitiated, winter sunglasses are not only a protective barrier for hungover faces post-festive bash (virtual or otherwise), but they’re also the ultimate way of keeping a face in the shade.

Of course, while shades are most synonymous with the beaming rays of summer, they remain virtuous throughout the colder months too. For the days when you want to look that little bit more put together without actually putting anything together, a pair of oversized, face-covering winter sunglasses will serve you well. 

Fingerless gloves

Best winter accessories to buy and wear now 2021: from balaclavas to ear muffs and leg warmers
Fingerless gloves have been resurrected from the 90s grave.

If you’re a smartphone user, you’ll be all too familiar with the struggle of trying to use said device while wearing gloves. Ever one step ahead of the rest of us, the style set has found a solution to the struggle in the form of fingerless gloves, the sort that were stationed firmly on every 80s kid’s hands during the era.

Since the start of September, searches for fingerless gloves have spiked by 106%, which will come as no surprise to TikTok users, given the ‘fairy-core’ aesthetic that whipped style-conscious users of the app into a fashion frenzy.

Snow boots

Best winter accessories to buy and wear now 2021: from balaclavas to ear muffs and leg warmers
Snow boots have never been bigger, quite literally, than they are now.

It will come as no surprise to eagle-eyed fashion fans that snow boots, in all of their chunky and stompy glory, are big news for winter. After all, if fashion’s love-in with Ugg and stomper boots wasn’t a signal of the way footwear things were going, I’m not sure what was.

Prada has its own padded snow boot, crafted from a creamy quilted leather, which Adidas’ sell-out collaboration with Stella McCartney also has, although theirs is a khaki-coloured stomper style. The purveyor of all things winter boot though is Moon Boot, which has even recently joined forces with Chloé and GCDS for two shearling-filled collaborations, fit for the feet of a princess.

Ear muffs 

Best winter accessories to buy and wear now 2021: from balaclavas to ear muffs and leg warmers
Ear muffs have had a designer upgrade and are back for winter.

When Fendi, Prada and Karl Lagerfeld collectively craft and release their own fluff-adorned ear muffs within a matter of weeks of each other, you know it’s time for the fashion world to pay attention. Indeed, according to Google, searches for ear muffs have spiked by 100% in the last month, proof that the beanies we once tugged down below our ears to keep them toasty are no longer welcome in the style sphere.

For high-end, haute muffs, Fendi and Prada’s iterations are as branded, logoed and flashy as you could imagine, while on the high street, fluffy ear muffs have similarly been crafted by Zara and Ugg, which begs the question: could the next winter warmer trend be matching your ear muffs to your boots? Watch this space.

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Images: courtesy of Moon Boots and Getty Images.