Having never owned an umbrella or a coat until my freshman year of college, I've learned what the 'norms' are for winter attire on the east coast.
1. Timberlands are a must
In the south bay of Los Angeles, fashion is a big thing. However, with the beach weather all year round it's unlikely to see someone wearing "Tim's". In New Jersey, they're used as not only a fashion statement, but also a great footwear in the winter. The most popular colors are the classic 'wheat nubuck' for women and men. They're durable and warm, the perfect combo if you don't want to walk around with clunky boots.
2. Boots: More for show than for weather
Everywhere I look when I'm on campus I see different styles of boots. Coming from a place where people wear flip flops to dinner, I wasn't used to all the intricate buckles, zippers, and fur. But I can say they definitely add a little bit to an outfit that's plain and are definitely a statement especially if they are thigh high boots.
4. Gloves: More for weather than for show
It's rare that I see people wearing gloves unless it's below 35° which leaves me to believe that they're seen more as an essential than an accessory. Bulky gloves are only used when people are in the snow, but if it's simply chilly out thinly lined gloves are more of a go to. There's no specific color that is the most popular, but mine are grey because they go with every outfit.
3. Winter Coats: an art to not looking like marshmallow but staying warm
The biggest challenge that winter brings as far as attire goes is how to look fashionable and not like a little kid who's mom bought him a coat three sizes too big. You want it to be thick so you aren't cold but still provide arm mobility which is a tougher find than you would think. Too many layers and you can't put your arms down at your sides. Most people wear trench style coat with a fur trim. There are a lot of expensive brands out there but Madden Girl is my personal favorite because it's warm, has a nice waist cut, and it didn't break my bank.
5. Dark Colors
Overall the east coast tends to wear more darker hues than the west, especially in winter. All jackets are either dark blue, burgundy, black, grey, or olive green. I'm not sure if this is due to the change in weather with fall and winter (where I live we don't have actual seasons), but it is noticeable around this time of year. Pants are usually black sports pants/leggings or blue jeans. There isn't much variation in acceptable winter colors, so I'll have to get used to getting weird stares when I break out my yellow California jacket.