Cold Weather & Finnish Winter Clothing Guide

Table of Contents

What to know about what to wear in Finnish winters

Temperatures in winter in Finland

  • Finland is a large country, and hence temperatures depend a lot on where you are and what you do. 
  • Around the coast, it can be more windy, but not necessarily more humid in winter when it gets cold – the further inland you go, the drier the climate is, and of course – the more North you are, the colder it gets
  • That being said, also Southern Finnish winters can be very crisp and cold
  • January, February and March are the coldest months, with February being the prime time for winter in most of the country. 
  • Bright blue skies and sunshine usually go along with colder temperatures, but it also makes them much more bearable. The worst are the temperatures between 0 and +5°C actually – these temperatures tend to be really clammy and uncomfortable and grey – the only place to deal with these is in the sauna. 

    Mainly
    : don’t be afraid of the winter and the temperatures! Learn how to dress properly and find joy in the winter times, and maybe you will be a winter fan soon too!

What to look in Finnish winter clothing

  • Materials: wear good quality, natural fabrics: check the fabric tags before buying and look for wool, merino wool, alpaca, yak, mohair
    • synthetic fibres will not keep you warm and instead make you smelly and sweaty and nobody wants that. Make sure your wool items are mulesing-free, or check second hand options if you are concerned about using animal-products
    • STAY AWAY FROM polyester, polyamid, polypropylene, nylon, acrylic – they can be used as a mix in materials, but make sure the main fabric is neither of these.

  • Sizing: leave some space for layers! Layering properly will keep warm air close to you, and insulates you well for all your winter adventures.
    • Especially when buying trousers or coats, make sure you can comfortably wear your favourite layering pieces underneath.
    • For shoes, I recommend sizing up at least one, even two sizes. Thick socks are essential for warm feet in Finnish winters and there’s nothing worse than cold and tight feet.

  •  Quality: I’m all for a bargain and quality items don’t have to be expensive. Second hand can be a great option here, probably 80% of my winter gear is second hand. However, low-quality garments made out of cheap and bad materials will not only not keep you warm but also not last. Invest once, and keep forever – this is especially true for coats.

Quick Guide to Layering in Finnish winter clothing

  • Base layer: this is the layer closest to your skin. In winter, this should be a thin wool or natural fabric layer – but not cotton. Cotton is notorious for retaining moisture, does not insulate and that will make you feel cold. It should be snug but not tight on the body. Merino wool layers are most recommended
  • Mid layer: this is what keeps you warm and cozy, this can be anything from a fleece to a wool jumper, depending on temperature and activity
  • Outer or shell layer: breaking the elements, such as your jacket or coat. You can consider anything from a down jacket to a parka coat, to a windbreaker jacket.
Layering does not have to make you look like a bulky Michelin man. High-quality layers are thin and soft and will only add comfort, but not bulk. 

Top tips for Finnish winter clothing

  • Always keep your hands, head and feet warm
  • Remember to wear sunscreen and bring sunglasses – the sun is strong and bright, and the bright snow can be blinding, and is easily underestimated
  • Don’t forget to look after your skin: keep lip balm and hand lotion with you – I have some in every coat pocket and it’s a regular life-saver

    My must have list:

  • A good coat
  • thin woollen base layers
  • the right fabrics
  • protective skincare

The ultimate Finnish Winter Clothing Edit

This is my 2022 selection of options for great Finnish winter clothing and accessories, and all you might need. I put a focus on Finnish brands, but that’s not possible for everything, and I also try to cover different budgets. 

When shopping Finnish brands, you can support local businesses and ensure a certain quality, as well as good resale value if you ever want to pass the item on. I shop a lot of things used, Finnish brands and specific keywords can be a great asset in making a bargain for many of these items. 

You can read my Guide to Second Hand shopping in Finland here

Coats & Jackets

A good coat is the key to surviving Finnish winters! Here are some tips: 

  • Longer coats are great for every day, for outdoor trips and trekking, I recommend something shorter so you can move more freely
  • A wool coat is a classic and elegant choice, but not the right one for very cold days. A down- or synthetic down puffer coat is the better choice here
  • I get my coats dry-cleaned before each new winter season so you can start fresh! But definitely not necessary. 

Trousers & Pants

Lined trousers are great, but layering works just as well. A light woollen base-layer and trousers on top will keep you warm. When spending a lot of time outdoors, I recommend windproof trousers (like the Anorak ones below) or investing in proper outdoor winter sports equipment. Even layering a wool layer under seemingly summery items (like linen) can keep you warm. 

Dresses, Jumpers & Cardigans

Knitwear <3 a dangerous season for me because in addition to a bazillion beanies I also have an abundance of sweaters and knitwear and just while picking these options I might have ordered a bunch. 

Woollen sweaters and other knitwear don’t have to be high maintenance either:

  • Quality knitwear does not need a lot of washing: air it out over night, give it a steam or a spritz of water
  • I use a fabric shaver to remove any piling (it’s a very meditative thing to do for me!)
  • wash it in the cold cycle with a wool detergent, drying flat. Good as new!

R-Collection Flannel Dress

This is so soft and pretty, the perfect length and what a picturebook winter dress! I have this model in olive green, but I am keeping my eye on this one. Love it!

Nanso striped wool-mix jumper

I love their quality fabrics and seasonally versatile designs - I think I need this striped sweater in my life.

Nanso wool-mix dress

Beautiful wool-cotton mix dress, from one of my favourite Finnish brands. A great piece for date night, work days or a cozy walk outside.

Alpa wool dress

Alpaca wool is the softest ever and this Finnish brand has a wide selection of dresses, sweaters and accessories. One of the dresses is on the top of my list!

Marimekko Knitwear

Every winter, Marimekko releases some beautiful knits, that stand the test of time so well. The designs vary, I have their classic Unikko pattern sweater in several colours, but this year's design has me intrigued too.

Lindex wool-mix cardigan

A cozy cardigan is a must for the colder months, great to throw on when it gets more chilly, and to have an extra layer. Love this one!

Lundhags Fleece

Lundhags is a great outdoor brand, but many of their pieces - like this - are super versatile for everyday as well. This fleece is cozy and pretty!

Astrid Wild Minna Fleece

This Swedish female-owned brand specifically designs for women - and I love all the pieces that I have! I tried on this fleece from a friend, it's been on my wishlist since.

North Outdoor Kuohu Sweater

My favourite Finnish brand for woollen sweaters! I can't wait to get my hands on this piece.

North Outdoor Kaski Merino wool Sweater

Perfectly soft and warm, a great length to wear outdoors - I have the Kaski sweater in 4 colours by now, and obviously I'll probably add more this winter. A fave!

R-Collection Mohair sweater

R-Collection is a great brand for quality garments and great fabrics. This Mohair sweater is high on my wishlist!

Layering pieces

I’ve come to love my base layers, if you find the ones that work for you, they will be a game changer!

Again a reminder:

  • material is everything when it comes to Finnish winter clothing.
  • There are different options, from thin and silky layers for everyday, to thick and warm wool layers. Choose what fits your lifestyle best

Shoes & Socks

Warm feet make all the difference! 

  • Double layering socks is great to stay warm. I opt for two thin wool layers usually!
  • Proper winter shoes are an investment, but one that will last you for a long time. Second hand options are plenty out there!
  • Stay away from Ugg boots, Timberlands and Doc Martens. They look warm and sturdy but are not made for icy temperatures and surfaces. Go-to brands for winter are for example, Sorel boots. 

Headwear & Accessories

My favourite category! I have an abundance of beanies and headbands and I love each and every single one, and I’m sure this year will bring some lovely additions.

  • Keep your head warm, as you lose the most heat from your head. I love a chunky beanie! Make sure you opt for wool or wool-mix here.
  • Hands! Gloves and mittens are essential too, as the cold will probably damage your hands fastest. On super cold days I like a silk liner in some chunky fun cute mittens, finger gloves are good on windier days but not when it’s super cold. 

Myssyfarmi Balaclava

My favourite new addition is this granny-knitted Balaclava, which also doubles as a beanie if folded up. The lingonberry colour is just gorgeous and I just love a multi-use accessory.

Wool mittens

Nothing like a cozy pair of woollen mittens! I they are lovely on their own but extra warm and comfortable with a silk liner glove underneath.

Silk liner gloves

These are great to wear under mittens for extra warmth. I love these on a cold days walk or when skating.

Merino wool beanie lining

A thin merino wool layer inside your beanie makes it extra warm and windproof. For outdoor activities or super cold days, these are a life-saver. You can sew them in your favourite, or just layer up.

Alpa wool scarf

If you don't have any alpaca wool items in your wardrobe yet, you should fix that! So super soft and comfortable, this scarf is a great thing to add. Check out all the colours!

Myssyfarmi Headband

Myssyfarmi products are knitted by Finnish grannies, so you can only love it! I love all their products, this headband is great for when you have your hair up, or when it's not a super cold day! And many great colour options.

KN Sansa Beanie

Another great beanie option, I wore my green one a ton last season, and can't wait to get it out again! Lovely Finnish design brand for headwear!

A+More Knitted Hood

Everyone needs a knitted hood in their winter drawer, not only very cute but also cozy and practical.

Samuji chunky beanie

A staple amongst Finnish locals, this beautiful chunky beanie does not only keep you warm but also makes you a cute mushroom.

Woollen Balaclava

Great for outdoor activities or very cold days, for an extra layer under your beanie. A must-have for me!

Moiko Reflective gloves

Delightfully cozy mittens with a variety of different reflective images, to make sure you're also visible when it's dark.

Gloves

Gloves are a must-have for Finnish winter. Your skin on hands and fingers is very sensitive.

Kaiko Headband

My favourite piece of this winter is this cashmere headband by sustainable brand, Kaiko. Super soft and lovely, and with being one-size, a lovely gift option. Many colours available, too!

Merino buff

A buff is a thin fabric tube that is super versatile, you can fold it up to use as a beanie, as a tube scarf, pull it up to protect your face from cold winds, wrap it up to a headband and much more. A must-have for me!

Kaiko cashmere scarf

Cashmere is super soft, light and luxurious - get one of these scarves and thank me later.

Myssy Muffi beanie

Hands-down my favourite winter hat. I have these in several colours, they are thick and chunky and super warm.

Health & Winter Skincare

Staying healthy also includes skin health, which can be easily forgotten until it’s too late. Important to keep in mind: 

  • Water vs. Oil & Wax: water-based moisturisers feel great but can crack your skin in sub-zero temperatures. Make sure to add a drop of a face oil to your day cream or SPF to prevent that from happening. Oils offer extra protection and nurture your skin, so it’s really important to incorporate that. Oils don’t mean you look greasy and shiny, don’t worry!

    A wax-based scream is also a good choice but can feel really thick. Make sure you clean your face properly in the evening. 

  • Exfoliate: to make sure all your skincare penetrates the skin and doesn’t get stuck on top of it!

  • Lips and hands: these are the most sensitive and can easily get damaged in the cold. Keep some kind of multi-purpose balm around at all times, thank me later

  • SUNSCREEN EVERY SINGLE DAY! Yes, also in in winter and also when the sun is not out. Radiation is not visible and even on shorter days, the sun is strong. 

Hydrating face mask

The hydrating facemask is fragrance-free and perfect as an overnight mask after a long day outside to help your skin recuperate.

Laponie Face oil

Adding a soothing face-oil is my top tip for the winter. This minimal and fragrance-free oil from beautiful Finnish brand Laponie is just wonderful.

Lumene Arctic Hydra Care SPF30

Sun protection is essential year-round, even in the depth of winter, it's a must. The sun in the North is strong, especially when you spend a lot of time outdoors. This product is protecting you both from the rays and the elements.

Laponie all-around-balm

A beautiful product that you can use for pretty much anything (even for your pets paws!). It has a subtle smell, a wonderfully smooth consistency and your skin will love it.

Mossa Vitamin Face Oil

Adding face oil to your daily skincare is essential in winter, to keep your skin protected from frost. This is a great option!

The Ordinary Peeling solution

Dry winter skin can get flakey, and it's important to help your skin stay clear so your moisturizer, oil and SPF can be absorbed, and makeup doesn't look dry and crusty. Exfoliating is underrated - especially in winter!

Burt’s Bees wax Lipbalm

A waxy texture offers great protection for your lips. These products have been a favourite for years. Comes in tinted versions, too!

Atopik Tinted Cream SPF 30

SPF every day! This tinted sun protection is great to cover up a bit of cold-induced redness, while keeping your skin safe.

Garnier sunscreen SPF 50

A great budget option for a cruelty-free sunscreen, it smells lovely and absorbs well. Comes in a tinted version as well.

Avène Cold Cream

For the really cold days, this is important to have! It's super thick and heavy and a proper layer of protection for your skin, both hands and face.

Lumene Vitamin-C Oil-cocktail

This has been my staple for years, I love the texture and smell. It's nourishing and gives a beautiful glow. I use it as a serum overnight or add a drop of the oil to my SPF in the morning.

Carmex lip balm

Probably my go-to lipbalm, it has SPF 15 which is a nice add on. I like the texture, refreshing scent and it lasts well on the lips. I have one of these in most of my coat pockets!

Weleda Skin Food

The Weleda Skinfood line is a favourite for many, the thick texture is great at protecting your skin and helps healing when it's too late. They did everything right with this one! The handlotion is also great.

Hetkinen Lip Balm

Another staple for me is this pine-geranium tinted lip balm by Hetkinen cosmetics - all-natural, both the product and the wooden packaging. Beautiful texture and it's just what your skin needs in the cold.
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