A Love Letter To Winter & The Uniqlo ULD Collection
“The cold never bothered me anyway!”
Disclosure: This feature was created in partnership with Uniqlo. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Style Girlfriend going!
Of all the reasons I love New York—walking everywhere, bars that open at 8am, The Temple of Dendur at The Met— one of my favorites is our seasons. Some are longer than others, I know. Fall feels like a dream that was just about to get really good and suddenly your alarm goes off. Spring is a pretty photo on your phone of some cherry blossoms in Madison Square Park that you don’t remember taking. Summer is a travel-fueled fever dream of swampy days and perfect nights.
Winter is everything else.
And believe it or not, I don’t exactly mean that in a bad way. It can be bright and crisp to the point that your eyes are tearing for no reason, and it can be so despairingly dark and gloomy you wonder if it will ever end. But then it snows. Or you take a ski trip with friends. Or you find a bar in your neighborhood that makes the best spiked apple cider you’ve ever had.
I can say with 100 percent certainty that every person I know who “doesn’t like winter” does not own good outerwear. Because when you’re cold, you complain. One January day a couple of years ago it snowed two feet in a single day. One day! People were freaking out. But not me. I zipped up my Uniqlo Ultra Light Down jacket, laced up my snow boots, and grinned like an idiot as I stepped off my stoop onto a sidewalk covered in fresh powder.
To be fair, I also love freakish amounts of snowfall and didn’t have anywhere important to be that day—but still. The jacket was the difference between venturing out to find a cozy restaurant to nurse a hot toddy while watching out the window as people skied down Second Avenue (that really happened) versus moping around my apartment binging The Office.
And that’s why I’m a devotee of Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down Collection. I first bought the women’s Ultra Light Down Jacket (here’s the men’s version) before jetting off to Sun Valley for the holidays three years ago, and so began an outerwear obsession. I’m here today because I want you to be obsessed, too.
Below, why the Uniqlo Ultra Light Down collection rocks my Christmas socks:
The jacket packs into its own stuff bag.
I can roll the ULD jacket into its very own little stuff bag and then stuff that bag into a tiny corner of my suitcase. When flying, it all but disappears, and takes so little space I can even bring a bunch of extra sweaters, bandanas and hair styling tools that I definitely don’t need. You wanna bring that third pair of dark wash jeans home for the holidays just in case? Go for it, you’ve got room.
Most recently, on my trip home to Sun Valley for Thanksgiving, instead of packing my ULD jacket into my suitcase, I tossed the stuff bag into my carry-on. That move turned out to be the ultimate travel game-changer. I had an extra layer at the ready without feeling weighed down, sloppy, or disorganized from TSA to takeoff.
Think about it. You’ve got a pillow for resting your head against the window in-flight. It’s also a blanket for when you inevitably get a chill flying somewhere over the Dakotas. (No? Just me?) And most importantly, easy access to a jacket you can throw on as soon as you touch down to colder temperatures.
The whole collection layers like a dream.
Over, under, around and through—that’s maybe instructions for tying your shoes but it’s also a list of the ways you can wear your ULD. Over a shirt or a sweater. Under a denim jacket or a big coat. Tied around your waist if you get hot. With the sleeves through the armholes of a vest. That sounds weird maybe, but you get what I’m going for here. These pieces truly deliver when it comes to versatility.
Because the jackets and vests are so lightweight and thin and have that simple standing collar, my favorite way to layer them is also my greatest hot tip for you. Try wearing the jacket or the vest under your “nice” fall coats to extend their wear all the way through winter. Need some examples? I thought you’d never ask.
- The black ULD jacket under your favorite leather jacket.
- The navy ULD vest under an olive green waxed canvas field jacket.
- The green ULD seamless parka under a wool camel-colored topcoat.
- The red ULD jacket under a shearling-lined denim jacket.
It does fitness and fashion equally well.
The absolute best thing about Uniqlo’s ULD jackets and vests is that they’re like soft, warm outfit chameleons: They adapt to whatever you wear with them! As I mentioned above, the solid colors and standing collars look really sharp layered with the jackets and coats you already own for everyday wear around town.
Since all the ULD products are lightweight (duh), made with water-repellent nylon (nice), and designed for movement (sweet), they’re also really great for doing fitness-y things. Me? I wear them snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the regular. You can rock it as your to-the-gym jacket or pack one into your backpack when you go hiking!
Everything is affordable AF.
These vests, jackets and parkas all range from $40 to $150. And while you might be able to find a jacket at a similar price point from a fast fashion brand, you’re not going to get the quality and fit that makes the ULD collection such a slam dunk across the board. If you’re me, this accessible price point means that not only are you *enjoying* winter in your appropriate outerwear, but you’re doing it in multiple colors and styles like a true beacon of cold weather dressing inspiration!
Affordable puffer jackets for men? Yes, please.
Your ULD will truly become some of the most agile pieces in your wardrobe. One minute you’re layered up for a mid-winter’s date night and the next you’re keeping warm on hike to the top of some snowy peak.
Remember: winter doesn’t have to be miserable, even if everyone around you is. Dress for the season you want, my friends.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST WINTER TRAVEL TIP?