Winter is a great time to go to Russia—tickets are cheap, the snowy cities are mesmerizing, the holiday celebrations are in full swing, and the museum lines are at their shortest. It's going to be extremely cold in most Russian cities. Yet Russian people manage to stay warm during the winter and knowing how they dress, will help you with your packing list.
Russian Winter Clothing for Women
In Russia, a fur coat (even a faux fur) is one of the most common kinds of overcoats that women wear in the winter. Form-fitting wool or leather coats lined with something warm also are prevalent. Russian women are very fashionable, and even the extreme Russian winters can't stop them from looking their best.
In the cities, expect to see (the already tall) Russian women wearing heeled boots even in the snow and ice. Russian women wear high-heels almost 365 days a year. And in the summer, you'll likely see women in stylish graphic t's, tight ankle-length jeans and strappy high-heeled sandals.
You might also be surprised to see Russian women wearing hose and short skirts in the winter while being bundled up on top. This is probably due to the fact that they do have extremely warm coats. Also common are fur hats, nice warm scarves, and gloves because keeping the head and upper body warm is of utmost importance.
Russian womenswear designers study in well-known fashion institutes in cities like Paris and Rome and then return home to modify design concepts to work for the extreme weather in Russia and the tastes of the fashion-conscious woman. Russian designers show their work to the world representing their country in a surprising way.
In the countryside, you may see more casual, practical, less-stylish clothing, except on special occasions. And, as is everywhere, older women choose to dress for comfort and may ditch the stilettos for everyday wear.
Russian Winter Clothing for Men
Fashion standards are not nearly as strict for Russian men as for Russian women. In the cities, Russian men mostly wear dark colors and jeans with warm expensive-looking boots for winter. You may see all-purpose sports coats like ski jackets. Most Russian men stick to wool and shearling-lined leather coats, and warm gloves and scarves.
Men’s shoes in the cities are usually black or dark brown. You may see sports shoes but they will most likely be name-brand dark leather and all shoes are worn with socks, of course.
Layers for Warmth
As in any cold climate, layers are essential for Russian winters. Warm sweaters as well as warm coats, and cotton shirts are important to wear underneath. If you're going to be in the Russian North or if you're just not used to the cold, it might be a good idea to even wear thermal underwear under your jeans. Don't forget your scarves and hats, and most importantly warm socks and waterproof, slip-proof boots because there's no guarantee that the sidewalks will be cleared.
But in the cities, both men and women will be wearing their most fashionable winter attire and staying warm, too.