British Columbia·PHOTOS

How to dress for winter weather in Vancouver

People in downtown Vancouver have various strategies when it comes to dressing for the wet snow. Here are some of the ways you can outfit yourself for just about the worst winter weather Vancouver can throw at you.

People in downtown Vancouver have various strategies when it comes to dressing for the wet snow

All photos by Rafferty Baker

Vancouver isn't like the rest of Canada. If you're stepping out in the weather, here are some ideas for how to handle, basically, the worst winter Vancouver can throw at you.

Narciso Maldonado, pictured above, decided a little bit of snow made for a great occasion to make a little snow person on Friday afternoon in Vancouver.

He described his fashion as "pretty casual-city," but when the snow came, he added a new element.

"The toque — I don't usually wear the beanie."


Umbrellas aren't usually an accessory you take out with you when the temperature begins to really drop. But then again, in Vancouver the temperature never really drops that far. Even if the snowflakes are falling, they often don't stick to the street, and they'll soak right into your clothing.

So, go ahead, use that umbrella year-round!

Avoid bright colours

Of course, when the days get shorter, dressing brightly will help pedestrians be seen in the dark. But if you want to blend in, probably go for a grimmer, monotone.

"My particular look is very simple, but at the same time upbeat," said Sal Shahin, assuring CBC News that she had colourful clothing in the multiple layers she was relying on to stay warm. 

"I have boots, leggings. I have a sweater dress, underneath it and scarf and my jacket," she said.

Express yourself

If blending in isn't your thing, why not throw something a little more interesting into the mix?

"The golden boots are Dr. Martens, so they make you feel happy on a drizzly day," said Tallulah as the drizzle stayed barely frozen.

"My coat, it's my favourite coat in the world," she said, adding that she wasn't sure if it was real fur or not.

Toronto visitors

If you're visiting Vancouver in the winter from elsewhere in the country, just do whatever comes naturally.

Aneel Waraich was in town on a business trip, so a custom suit, tie and dress shoes hit the mark.

His jacket? No point putting that on in Vancouver's snowfall.

"It's a cashmere topcoat from Mongolia," he said. "It's not cold enough, like Toronto, but yeah, it's an accessory at the moment."


What to put on your feet? That's always the biggest question when slogging through a Vancouver dump of snow.

"We just woke up and came here," said Ravinder Gandhi, who was dropping off a letter a the post office with his friend — both sporting sandals.

"It's OK. We're in cars."

Gym wear

If you're just popping out to hit the gym, you can go ahead and dress in your gym clothes on the street.

"We're on our way to a fitness class, just down the block," explained Olivia Brown. "My friends from out east are making fun of us."

She and her sister Karen Brown needed only light sneakers to blaze a path through the West Coast snow.

Full snow suit

Pretty much the only reason you may need a full snow suit in Vancouver is if you're leaving the city to go ski or snowboard.

Dominik Pulm fashions the latest in snowboard gear as he makes his way to North Vancouver to ride at Grouse Mountain.


You can always be sure you'll fit in the Vancouver fashion scene with some easy go-tos. Uggs may look like slippers, but you'll see them all over Vancouver in any weather.

If you're not sure whether your day will include kicking dirt around, splashing through slush, or you just don't like doing up shoelaces, Blundstones may be the shoe for you.

"I bought them three years ago … These ones are really good. They're not very warm but they don't get wet," said Giulia Cavalrei of her green-paneled shoes. "You can wear them with everything, so I like them."

Regardless of the season, rubber boots are sure to convince everyone you're a Vancouverite — and the annual snow day is no exception.

But when that mercury begins to drop, don't forget to accessorize them.

"These are the black socks — they're inserts. You can buy them in many colours, so once you buy the boots, and you want the socks, you go to the other side of the store," explained Jessica Lowe.


If you're sleeping rough throughout the winter like Tom Baker, a heavy, durable overcoat is definitely going to help you stay dry and warm.

"Some church people gave it to me last night. It's … one of the best gifts I've got out here," said Baker. "I feel like its warm inside and it's got waterproof. It's waterproof."

Shoveling snow

Finally, if you find yourself dusting off the old snow shovel and scraping a few centimetres of Vancouver snow off the sidewalk, you're going to want to wear something sensible and appropriate for the task.

Running shoes will still suffice, but perhaps consider a jacket that sheds the wet snow.

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker