How do women keep their legs warm in Baltic cities?

My first instinct is to wear long johns or leggings under ski trousers but is this acceptable if you wanted to go to a restaurant or bar? Does fashion just go out of the window in winter months?

Edit: I'm going for a few days' holiday so will be outside a fair bit for sightseeing.

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    Good quality thermal long johns are VERY effective, my understanding in Sweden is that pretty much anything over these (so, normal clothes) will usually be enough unless you're doing outdoor activities etc. I wore normal trousers over thermals and thermal socks in the Swedish arctic in Winter and was mostly fine – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 10 '16 at 23:46

The key is not magical trousers, but long winter coats. You can get these long and parka-style down to the knees (random example), and they let you keep warm while wearing basically normal office/home wear underneath.

Alternatively, many women opt to just wear a "normal" parka, leggings and warm boots and minimize the time they spend outside, since all offices, public transport etc is well heated anyway. Nobody wears ski trousers unless they're a) skiing or b) work in a job that involves spending hours on end outside.

Update: Live from Helsinki, Daughter of the Baltic, it's TSE's intrepid fashion reporter jpatokal!

It's a nippy -15°C January day in Helsinki, and here are the results of a highly non-scientific survey of what Finnish women are wearing in 2016:

  • Around 25% are wearing long coats that go down to the knees or below. Included in this is a small but notable subset (<5%) of mostly older ladies who wear fur coats, some right down to the ankles.
  • The remaining 75% are wearing short coats that go down to the hips but not far below. These are most commonly coupled with above-knee dresses/skirts and leggings, and the mode du jour appears to be leggings ripped at the knees. This can't possibly be very warm, but fashion > being cold.
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    It's all relative isn't it ? -15 isn't very cold if they routinely get -40, but it's colder than -20 if it's windy. Layering is almost useless when it's humid and cold (combination from hell) – blackbird Jan 15 '16 at 15:05
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    Fabulous answer - thanks for the on-the-spot report! – Abbie Jan 15 '16 at 16:00
  • @blackbird57 Helsinki is by the sea and wind chill regularly drops the apparent temp by a good 5-10 degrees. There were a few -36°C days the last full winter I spent here, and yeah, it doesn't much matter what you wear at that point, you'll be cold anyway... – lambshaanxy Jan 16 '16 at 3:55

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