November 12, 2014

Tips & Tricks for Smart Winter Layering.

winter boots

Winter is on the way.

And that means one thing. Brr! I can’t stand being cold. But, I love to spend a lot of time outdoors, no matter what the season.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” ~ Norwegian proverb

Dressing right for the cold weather is an old trick. The solution is winter layering with natural fibers.

Silk. Wool. Silk. Wool.

1. Silk. Silk is a natural fiber. It lets the skin breathe. Because of the length of the fibers, it is a great temperature regulating fabric. Silk absorbs moisture and dries quickly. Silk can absorb 30% of it’s weight and not feel damp. Silk is a great base layer because it is not bulky. An added bonus is that silk is odor and soil resistant. Plus it’s luxurious!

2. Wool. Wool is designed by nature to regulate body temperature in all weather and climates. In cold temperatures wool wicks moisture away from the skin. At the same time wool insulates by trapping dry air for warmth. Wool is water resistant. Wool fibers are constructed in a unique way that prevents a buildup of body odors. Wool is easy to clean because the dirt sits on top of the fibers—simply wipe clean.

I love wool sweaters but wool coats are nice too.

3. Goose-down. Down is a material made from the soft feathers of a duck or goose. Their fluffy loft creates air pockets and provides good insulation. A good goose-down coat is warm, lightweight and durable.

4. Gather your warmth. Generally, we’re in a nice warm place before we head out to brave the cold. This is a perfect environment for getting bundled up. If we’re warm before we head out and are properly insulated with many layers, we will stay toasty—especially if we’re moving our body. I allow 10 extra minutes to get out the door in the winter. I make sure that I’m almost too hot before I depart.

5. Hat. We lose heat through anybody part that is not covered up. If we go outside without a hat on, we lose heat through our heads. We were all raised to think that we lose a significant percentage of body head through our head. The debate whether this is true or not rages on.

I, for one, am a firm believer in wearing a hat in the winter. When I was a kid my mom never enforced the winter hat rule.  I always froze all winter long. I was miserable four months of the year. When I went away to college, I hung out with the smart kids, who taught me the value of wearing a winter hat.

Voilà. Instant winter happiness. I was finally warm. And always wearing a super cute hat.

A coat with a hood provides the same benefits of a hat.

6. Mittens. Gloves work too. Whichever you choose, keeping our hands bundled up on a cold day will prevent a lot of misery. Mittens keep our fingers nestled together for warmth. For some people this becomes a problem if their fingers start sweating. Mittens inhibit mobility while gloves provide allow dexterity.

I prefer hand-knit wool mittens. Last winter I learned the trick of layering two pairs on those extra cold days. Toasty warm!

7. Scarf. A scarf keeps the cold wind from blowing down our shirts. A scarf is also handy for covering up our chin and nose if it’s frigid.

8. Good Snow Boots. Keeping our feet warm is key for outdoor fun. Snow boots are waterproof and insulated to keep our feet warm and dry. Some also have special soles that grip better on hard-packed snow and ice. Vintage Sorel’s, made in Canada, are my go-to boot all winter long.

They are a little clunky but my feet keep toasty warm and I’m always ready for fun outdoor winter action. They’re good for walking, hiking and biking.

They’re also long-lasting. I’ve had the same pair for a dozen years and they still have plenty of life in them.

9. Remove and replace layers as often as necessary. The beauty of dressing in layers is that we can easily regulate our heat simply by removing or adding layers, depending on our activity level.

10. Slippers. Stay cozy at home. We take our shoes off at our house and have hardwood floors. Slippers are a must for keeping our feet comfortable.

Another of my favorite tricks for keeping my feet warm in the winter is to wear knee-high socks. The difference that wearing knee-highs makes is surprising.

No one wants to be cold in the wintertime. Employing all or some of these tricks can warm you up during the cold season.



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Author: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: used with permission from Andrew Wyatt, courtesy of the author

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