While the calendar clearly marks us as in the dead of winter, something about the weather just doesn’t add up. Where are the biting winds we usually associate with winter? Since when did winter consist of me seeing 70s and 80s on my weather app? I even heard from Riverside residents that there was snow on top of the “C” at one point, but the only snow I’m seeing is in pictures of my friends that went snowboarding over break.

The thing I relish most about the colder weather is being able to put together layered outfits that scream warmth and comfort. I love being able to mix and match jackets, flannels and scarves; however, with this weather, I can’t seem to wear much outdoors besides tees. So how does one go about creating a winter lookbook with Riverside weather in mind? Layering doesn’t always have to mean wearing thick jackets on warm sweaters and gloves. You can still create layered looks with lighter clothing options that give you a nice winter feel, but still stay cool underneath it all.

My first look consists of a short-sleeved hoodie from the Zara Dark Collection over chinos and a tee that are also from Zara. As much as people prefer to keep their bank accounts from hemorrhaging after shopping at Zara, I was able to buy these pieces for highly discounted prices through end-of-season sales. They’re incredibly well-designed, are comfortable and the perfect way to look put-together without actually having to put in much thought. My tee is made of a light and airy fabric and the short-sleeved hoodie keeps me perfectly cool even while providing that layered look that I want in a winter outfit.

The second look is edgy and inspired by Asian fashion blogs that I’ve been scouring in the past few weeks. This outfit is versatile and perfect for days when you’re not entirely sure how chilly it might get. Another Zara tee underneath a Forever 21 asymmetrical moto jacket with a Forever 21 button-up wrapped around the waist allows me to add on an extra layer if I get cold, or an interesting draped element if I don’t need it. Black is also a quintessential winter color, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Breaking it up with simple white patterns or mixing different textures can help you create edgy outfits that are effortlessly cool. I paired them with jeans and shoes that I thrifted from my favorite store in Pasadena called Crossroads Trading Company.

Finally, finishing off my lookbook is a more dressy option in lighter colors, consisting of an oversized cardigan from Forever 21, a button-up shirt from H&M, thrifted denim (again, from Crossroads), shoes from Aldo and accessories from a combination of H&M, Forever 21 and Crossroads. Warm cardigans are a winter staple, but this comfortable (and surprisingly airy) cardigan can easily keep me warm in the mornings and relatively cool in the afternoon. I barely break a sweat in them when walking to and from classes around campus. It’s a classy look that plays on all of the aspects you expect from a dapper winter outfit, but light and airy enough to keep you cool in Riverside’s warm winters.

This time of the year is tricky for UCR students because many of us want to dress up a little more to have that winter look, but the heat can leave us in a sweaty mess by the time we reach our 11 a.m. lecture. Keeping an eye out for thinner fabrics, breathable jackets and a little planning can help you get that look, but stay comfortable enough to go about your day without breaking a sweat.