Wardrobe 101

Staying Warm in the Cold

Happy day, reader dear!

Our Augusta temperatures are finding winter! Again. I’m beyond excited, but I know women (and men) about town who are freezing in the sub-60 degree daytime temperatures we are experiencing right now. They’ve not had the opportunity to learn the lessons you absorb growing up in the Midwest. (Or anywhere else you can count on sub-zero temps for days and weeks on end…) Or the cold, wet climate of England where we spent three lovely years! (Wet cold is brutal and settles in your bones… Even when the temps are well above freezing!) Some of our European friends experienced winter conditions long before the calendar met winter. Southern California had snow? Crazy! And I know there was quite a drop in Arizona recently, too.

My mother always used to say that February is the cruelest month. Bitter cold. Grey days. Holiday cheer long gone. Spring nowhere yet in sight. As that cruel month is just around the corner, it seemed time for a chat about dressing for the cold! I know you know the answer to staying warm is… Drumroll, please… Layers! But how to bundle up without looking like a snowman? Or at the very least the the toddler in a snowsuit who falls down and can’t get up! Well, it’s all about keeping those layers thin and effective.

If your weather (or nature) is warm and you don’t need thermal, but love the cozy look of layers, check out my Hygge Style post for some inspiration.

Layers

How to style all those layers? Here’s a post about layering over, under, and both! Now, what else do you need to know to stay toasty and warm?

Cozy Natural Fibers

Natural fibers feel extra cozy compared to their manmade counterparts. If you are highly kinaesthetic, this softness is extra important! You’re the one who can’t think or concentrate if anything is poking or itching. Look for soft wool, especially Merino, cashmere and silk. These natural fibers are both warm and breathable. Keep the natural fibers closest to your skin and save the manmade fibers for the outer layers. That way you get the best of both worlds!

Warm Feet = Warm Body

If there’s one thing you learn from standing waiting for a bus in Wisconsin (or Minnesota), warm feet (+ warm head) = warm body. Look for wool or cashmere socks. Wool tights are great with skirts, and as an insulating layer under jeans or lined trousers. Fleece lined tights are another option. I have a client who loves hers and swears they have changed her into a winter skirt wearer!

Boots

When I can’t wear cozy tights, I’ll wear boots over regular tights. My keep cozy trick is to pull on a pair of short, thin wool socks first, before I put on my tights. The tights help the boots slide on easily, and the wool underneath keeps my feet warm and dry! This is fabulous when you spend your day standing on cold floors. (Stone school floors, for example.) Note: Rubber boots keep your feet dry, but they are notoriously cold! And make your feet sweat, leaving you more chilled.

Scarves

We used to make fun of my grandmother because she always had a little scarf tied around her neck. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. Apparently, I’ve become my grandmother! She wore hers because she was trying to avoid drafts. Me? I’m not so practical, but admit that a scarf tied around my neck certainly does help keep we warm in the cooler months. Again, think natural fibers like wool, cashmere or silk. I know I couldn’t wear wool around my neck for years; my skin would break out in a rash. Now, I’m more able to tolerate it, and look for baby-bottom-smooth wools!

If you’re worried about bringing your outfit “down” with a cozy scarf, it’s all about finding one with the right Level of Refinement…

Hats

Go cozy with a beanie, or stylish with a brimmed hat. Wool hats are warming and breathable AND hide a bad hair day. A large brimmed hat can be an issue indoors, but the classic beret works indoors and out, flatters many face shapes since you can tug it to shape as you like AND it’s a great vehicle for a brooch! I know you probably have a brooch you never wear… Try it pinned to a beret! Berets come in oodles of colors and are a great way to get a color that makes you look fabulous near your face.

How About You?

What are your favorite cold-weather dressing tips? Please share them here. Let’s crowdsource this and make it work for all climates!

Stylishly (and cozily) yours,

4 Comments

  • NATALIE

    Liz, My only tip is from living in Germany where it’s cold for many months is wear cashmere socks, hat and scarf. That alone with the best wool coat you can buy. You are so right about thin layers! I am very sensitive how fabric feels against my skin. The first thing I do is feel a item that drew my attention in the store. My mother tells me stories of how I screamed as a baby if clothing was scatchy but it took her a little while to figure out what was wrong. It snowed it Tucson,AZ yesterday! So beautiful!

  • Meredith

    It is very cold because of the dampness and winter rain in Oregon. When an old cashmere sweater can’t be donated I cut circles out of it. One circle I place inside my wool hat’s crown. Two circles I stuff down my bra to keep warm. You can purchase silk glove liners that add warmth, not bulk.

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