It’s sweater season! Here is how to upgrade your Harmattan wardrobe

Harmattan wardrobe FI

I have a love-hate relationship with Harmattan weather. On one hand, I can’t stand the dust, smoke, and pollution that accompany the season – the sinus issues, sore throat, and dry eyes are not pleasant either. On the flip side, I like the coolness it comes with. The usual intense heat we endure in Nigeria is not fun, so the cool Harmattan weather is a welcome change. Above all, what I truly relish about this season is the fashion; it’s sweater weather, Hello Harmattan wardrobe!

As someone who typically opts for breezy tops throughout the year, the Harmattan season allows me to show off my collection of cosy sweaters and sweatshirts. While the Nigerian weather tends to be quite unpredictable, one thing is constant: Harmattan will always make its presence felt during the December holidays. Although it might be short-lived, I live for those cold days.

This year, the cold might be hitting harder than in previous years. I have woken up with a dry throat and the need for warm socks in the past few days. If you are unprepared, here’s how to upgrade your Harmattan wardrobe.  

Go for Knits

Harmattan wardrobe- Knitwear
Nife Akingbe via Instagram

Knitwear balances comfort and style during Harmattan. After being on so many trend lists this year, a cosy knit sweater or cardigan in neutral tones and fun prints is a must-have. They are also easy to style, and with the right accessories, you’re ready for various activities. 

For a relaxed chic look, layer your knit sweater over a crisp white shirt, or wear it solo on high-waisted linen pants. Also, consider stylish knit dresses for date nights or casual brunch with friends and family. 

Classic sweatshirt

Harmattan wardrobe- Sweatshirt
Jariatu Danita via Instagram

What’s a Harmattan wardrobe without cool sweatshirts? I love those character & inscription sweatshirts that spark up conversations. To compliment the season’s palette, opt for warm, earthy tones like burgundy, olive green, or mustard, or take the monochrome route with white, navy blue, grey, and black options. Pair your sweatshirt with high-waisted jeans or corduroy pants for a casual chic look. Finish the look with cool sneakers and a baseball hat for that college aesthetic. Sweatshirts with pretty mini skirts, festive socks, and stylish loafers also look good.

Sweater weather 

Cold weather sweater- Marie Claire Nigeria
Tenicka via Instagram

Although I love sweaters, the humid weather in Nigeria rarely lets me enjoy wearing them. However, this is their time to shine. Elevate your Harmattan wardrobe with a collection of cosy sweaters, and experiment with textures like cable knit or chunky wool for extra warmth. Turtleneck sweaters are trendy and provide additional protection against the chilly Harmattan wind. Style them with a midi skirt and high-top sneakers or bold-coloured high-heeled boots for a classic look.

Wool shirts 

Wool shirts for harmattan
Charlie Kamale via Instagram

Wool shirts are a versatile addition to your Harmattan wardrobe. Choose neutral shades like grey or camel and layer them over a basic tee for a relaxed look. You can also choose flannel and checkered patterns. Pair with mom jeans and loafers for a casual office outfit. Another classic way of styling them is to tie the shirt around your waist for extra layering and finish with a statement belt for a relaxed look.

Statement jackets 

Harmattan wardrobe- Marie Claire Nigeria
OlarSlim via Instagram

Invest in statement jackets to combat the Harmattan chill with flair. A tailored wool jacket can instantly elevate your outfit. Layer it over a chic dress and high-heeled pumps for a sophisticated look. On casual days, style the jacket with baggy jeans and chunky sandals. Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns and textures to make a bold fashion statement.


Denim during harmattan
Prissy Savvy via Instagram

Denim is an evergreen style staple perfect for Harmattan. Throwing one over a lightweight knit blouse or a casual t-shirt is always an excellent choice. Style this with any bottoms you choose, and you’re ready for a casual day out. Alternatively, pair your distressed denim pants with a crisp white shirt and accessorise with a wide-brimmed hat for an elevated casual touch. As usual, the styling possibilities are endless with denim.

Details- Ruffles & frills


How to add frills to your harmattan wardrobe
Monroe Steele via Instagram

Ruffles and frills add a touch of playfulness to your Harmattan wardrobe. Consider a long-sleeved ruffled blouse paired with fitted pants and high-heeled sandals for an afternoon outing. To elevate this look, accessorise with statement earrings or bracelets. For an evening event, a frill-adorned midi dress in a pastel colour paired with elegant heels will give you a whimsical, sophisticated look. 


Linen set for cold weather
NikkiandTees via Instagram

The minimalist fashion babes love their co-ords, and we get it. They offer instant style with minimal effort, and with their variety in styling, it is an all-year staple, too. To upgrade your Harmattan wardrobe with this, wear a linen or silk set for a relaxed daytime outfit. Silk balances the moisture levels of your skin and will keep you warm during harmattan, while linen has a natural resistance to dust. You can get creative by combining both textures to maximise the styling options of your co-ord set. For instance, linen culottes with a chic silk blouse and classic mules will serve a stylish, laid-back look.


Scarves for cold weather
Clara Fernandes via Pinterest

Scarves are functional during the Harmattan season and add style to your wardrobe. Experiment with oversized wool or patterned silk scarves to upgrade your outfit. Try draping a colourful scarf over a neutral coat for a vibrant touch, or tie a silk scarf in a relaxed bow around your neck for a sophisticated and cosy feel. You can also use it to accessorise your handbags – there’s so much to do with scarves!


How to layer up during harmattan
Aissatat Diallo via Instagram

During other seasons, we are mainly focused on wearing the breeziest pieces every other day, but the Harmattan season is for layering. Try the combination of a beige turtleneck sweater with a tailored red blazer for a sophisticated office look. For a more dressy event, layer a sheer blouse over a slip dress or a knit camisole paired with linen shorts for a breezy daytime look. Also, experiment with your style by mixing and matching textures like leather and wool in different lengths and structures to create a balanced, stylish, layered look.

These trends will elevate your Harmattan wardrobe to a fresh and stylish level while keeping you warm. As you participate in festive celebrations, experiment with different textures, colours, and layering techniques to create fashion-forward looks. With these, you will stay cosy and trendy throughout the season. Harmattan lovers, what are the best ways you stay stylish and warm during the season? Share with us!


  • Omotola Saba

    Hi, Omotola here, the human form of the 100 Emoji and the fashion and beauty writer at Marie Claire Nigeria. She started writing for fun and merged it with her love for fashion, and beauty. She's mostly at home, picking up yet another new hobby, scrolling through pinterest, laughing with her family or at dad jokes, or sleeping.

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