Well, I had a post scheduled for today that was about summer to fall transitions, but it just didn’t feel right given that Winnipeg just got it’s second heaping of snow (that didn’t melt immediately) within 2 weeks. While the Christmas and winter loving dork in me loves snow (and it seems fitting given that I have been watching Hallmark movies for weeks now), I had not quite prepped my wardrobe for appropriate winter clothing. So, this is my guide to emergency cold weather style and what you should have on hand when the winter turns!
1) Utilitarian Winter Boots
It is near impossible to find a pair of boots that looks stylish AND keeps you warm and dry from sopping wet snow, so I am a fan of fully utilitarian winter boots that are all about function. This pair is actually from Walmart- they are my dog walk boots, and they are warm and comfortable! (I also plan on buying a new pair of Sorels in the next month but I need to make a decision on what pair I want.) These aren’t the most stylish of boots by any stretch of the imagination, buuuuuuuut they are functional and my feet stay incredibly dry.
I hate to break it to you, but suede boots are incredibly impractical for wet, snowy winters- that water-proofing spray only goes so far-, and leather boots are nowhere close to warm enough. You can try and buy “fashion boots” for winter, but if you have any sort of inclement winter, you will appreciate having functional boots on hand! This isn’t to say that everything has to be ugly but don’t make style your priority.
TIP: Hunter boots are NOT made for snow, and it can actually be dangerous to wear them in the snow and ice. They have little to no grip, and once the boot gets cold, it will STAY cold. If you don’t want to experience the “joy” of frostbite, put them away once the snow falls!
2) A Heat-Rated Parka
Climate change is real, folks, and people who thought that they would only see snow for a day or two of the year 15 years ago are now getting fairly sizeable dumpings. If you live in the southern hemisphere, this may be less relevant, but northern hemisphere dwellers- invest in a heat-rated parka. The heat rating doesn’t have to far exceed your regular temperatures, but peacoats and jackets are fairly useless when they are soaking and the snow is still falling down.
Most sport companies like Columbia provide a temperature rating on their winter jackets, and it is a good idea to pay attention to them! My own parka is rated to -60°C. The coldest I’ve ever been in was -53°, but that was an extreme case- we normally see a month to a month and a half of -35 to -45°C, so I’ve got a bit room to play there if I need. The other benefit of a parka over a wool coat is that they are typically waterproof. No, you don’t look as Pinterest cute as a princess-cut peacoat, but at a point, your warmth and well-being needs to come first.
TIP: Barbour jackets are also not made for snow, not even with the snap-in linings….
3) Warm, Loose Clothing
The key to warming up once you are cold is having warm but loose clothing to change into. While I am not a fan of living in pyjamas, loose-fitting cotton pyjama pants can be heaven-sent when you have come in from the cold and are frozen to the bone. Tight clothing stops the heat from getting to you, so those “I have to always be wearing my leggings and will wear nothing else” leggings are working against you. None of us are comfortable when we stay cold, so make your life easier and grab those comfy lounge clothes!
My recommendation is to have a few pieces that you can throw in the dryer- if you are super cold, throwing your pyjamas or sweats in the dryer for five minutes before you put them on can make all the difference in the world. You don’t need to wear them for hours and hours if you don’t want to, but half an hour in warm, dry clothing is the best way to warm up. (Hot chocolate also helps, but that isn’t a piece of clothing…)
TIP: Keep sweatpants and a loose fitting long-sleeved shirt in your car; you never know when an extra set of clothing will come in handy.