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Wondering what to wear in Moscow in winter? Follow these tips on clothing, shoes, and accessories to learn how to survive a cold Russian winter!
What to Wear in Moscow in Winter
Written By: Julia K
Going to Moscow for the holidays? You’re in luck!
Why? Because there are no lines to the major tourist spots, there are fewer people in general, and you get the best prices. You can also get bragging rights that you have visited Moscow, Russia during its famous winter.
Winter in Russia lasts about five months. It gets snowy and cold going into negative Celsius at the end of October beginning November. Spring begins in mid-March and lasts till mid-May. Summers are hot and sometimes humid.
The first thing to know as you plan what to wear in Moscow in winter is how to pack for the weather.
Read these guides to get started, then read the specific details below for outfit ideas for various activities in Moscow:
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- Extreme Cold Weather Clothing Strategies
- The Secret to Packing Light in Winter
Local women look their best anywhere and everywhere they go. Do pack nicer items and bring your makeup, too. The following suggestions are based on a two week itinerary and contain three to four looks for the following activities:
- museums, walking around,
- going to a theater or ballet,
- going out to a restaurant and club, or
- getting invited to a random dinner at someone’s apartment, because it can happen!
Traveling to other parts of the country? Read this guide on what to wear in Russia!
Walking around the downtown area
Going to Moscow is a very unique experience. Walking around Red Square, New and Old Arbat, and visiting the ice skating rink in VDNH or Gorky Park will require warm attire.
Bring a long, warm winter coat that goes to your knees and has an attached hood. Choose a down jacket like these for optimal warmth. Russian women love fur coats–not just as a fashion statement but due to their functionality in the cold.
Find out why thermal underwear for women is absolutely essential for cold weather travel!
As you plan what to wear in Moscow in winter be prepared for icy conditions; bring comfortable shoes with a thick sole that are appropriate for the snow and slush. Here are a few warm waterproof leather boots suggested by our readers. Don’t forget to wear them with warm wool socks!
General tip: wearing layers will give you more freedom in the outside-inside situation. It gets very warm in the subway underground and inside some buildings, compared to the cold outdoors.
The one easy way to tell a tourist from a local is if they’re wearing heels and makeup. Generally speaking, Moscow ladies take fashion, makeup, hair, and style very seriously. Bring your best attire and a splash of bling for a bit of glam.
A simple set of stud earrings can easily elevate an outfit from drab to chic. From outdoor adventures to city breaks, wear a set like this for any trip!
Going to a museum
When planning what to wear In Moscow in winter (or anytime), keep in mind that sloppy attire is frowned upon. While looking your best when traveling is always a given, you might be refused service or be simply ignored in certain places. People may treat you differently depending on how you dress.
To a museum, wear dark denim, boots or booties, a crossbody purse, jacket, and a shirt. Don’t forget to do your makeup and hair.
Many places may require you to check your coat so you should still have the appropriate layers to wear inside without feeling uncomfortably warm or cold. Checking your coat also allows you to stay warm when you’re outdoors but move freely indoors.
Learn how to layer clothes!
Places to visit are Diamond Fund, Red Square, the Gum department store (pronounced like goom), and Armoury Chamber, Tsentral’ny Dom Khudozhnika, Pushkin Museum and Tretyakov Gallery.
To a theater or ballet
Winter is the time to visit the world famous Bolshoi Theater. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets, then The Nutcracker is the one to see! I would advise getting there one hour early, order some champagne and sandwiches, and check out the crowd. There are plenty of other theaters that are not as famous but equally as good.
Floor length gowns aren’t necessary or practical, so bring a cocktail dress, shoes, evening clutch, jewelry, and do your makeup and hair. Tip: gorgeous jewelry can dress up a versatile LBD.
Do not wear denim to an opera or ballet!
If you are a guest in someone’s house
Russians do like to invite people into their homes. Dress modestly but with great attention to detail as a well dressed appearance is always appreciated. You can wear dark denim jeans, a sweater, jewelry, a nice bag, and boots.
Please remember to always take off your shoes when in someone’s house. It is considered rude to walk in street shoes at home. So pack your party socks or tights!
Moscow is a hub of amazing places to eat. One thing’s for sure–you’ll never be hungry. It caters to all budgets and styles. If you’re eating on a budget, then your daytime attire will suit you perfectly.
If you plan to dine at nice restaurants or visit clubs, wear a cocktail dress, black tights, heels, and a clutch. Alternatively, wear leather pants with a flattering long sleeve blouse and jewelry.
General tip: If you plan on dining out, do make a reservation on Fridays and weekends. Otherwise there are plenty of places to choose from. Local favorites include Chaihana, Valenok, Ludi Kak Ludi and any cafe in Kitai Gorod.
Moscow is a non-stop hub of an always-moving machine. You should definitely go and enjoy yourself even during winter! A post on what to wear in Moscow during summer is coming up soon. Stay tuned!
What are your tips on what to wear in Moscow in winter? Share in the comments!
Please note: Most of Europe’s budget airlines have this carryon bag allowance: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airline’s baggage rules in advance.
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For more tips, please read these Europe packing lists:
Suggested travel resources:
- Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring
- Lonely Planet Russia (Country Guide)
- Travel Shoes for Europe
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish outfits and travel tips for 9 countries.
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Author Bio: Julia K is a travel blogger who believes in utilizing every item in her luggage 101%. When at home, she likes to explore what’s new in the world of travel fashion, food, and travel gadgets. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and her blog.