Cold weather has come. And as many people know by now, I really don’t like cold weather. I know that there are women who prefer the cold because they figure that you can always add an extra layer whereas in warmer weather there’s only so much you can remove. But in cold weather, there’s only so much you can add before you start to lose movement. And I don’t like putting on several layers, removing them indoors, and then putting them back on for outdoors. It may be a necessary potchky, but I don’t like potchkying. I feel like an onion. And when exercising, it’s actually dangerous because if your muscles aren’t warm, you risk injury. A warm muscle is softer and more flexible.
That said, if we live in climates with cold weather, we have to get through it safely. And we can do that while still looking good.
First is outerwear. When it comes to coats and boots, I’m strictly practical. My readers know how much I emphasize looking good and I’m sure some will be surprised when I say that coats and boots need not be pretty or flattering. It’s true. I don’t think they necessarily need to be eyesores, but coats and boots are supposed to keep you warm and dry and if yours don’t do that, then you need outerwear that does do the job. If you have coats and boots that are pretty and flattering but that don’t keep you warm and dry, you should keep them and wear them. Just make sure you have a coat and boots that do keep you warm and dry and wear those outdoors for protection. Frostbite and hypothermia are ugly in more ways than one.
The coat’s fabric makes the biggest difference. I was told many times that down coats are warmer than wool coats, but I’ve worn both types and I’ve found no noticeable difference in warmth. However, the down coats that I’ve worn were not water-resistant while the wool coats are. If you have a down coat that’s water-resistant and keeps you warm and dry, then use it well. Be warned that waterproof coats are not a good idea because they don’t breathe well and they’ll trap moisture.
Your coat does have to fit you. If it’s too big, it will drag and it will leave too much room for cold to get inside. If it’s too small, you’ll need to leave it open and then you’re exposed. Always try on a coat while wearing layers so that you can get a good fit. While it shouldn’t be too loose, it should still allow you to move. Movement is necessary to prevent frostbite.
The best lengths for coats are either just below the derriere or to the knee. If the coat doesn’t cover the derriere, it’s really a jacket and it won’t protect you as well as a coat would. If it falls past the knee, it might get in the way. And if it’s too long, it will drag in puddles and snow and get stained easily.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to the coats that fit the above criteria, you may get back to aesthetics. It’s best to go with a sleeker shape as opposed to a puffy one- there’s no noticeable difference in warmth but the sleek shape will look much better. While classic neutrals are perfect, it’s OK to choose a pretty color. I had a wool coat with blocks of bright colors all over it that kept me warm for at least 5 years and brightened up the winter doldrums. Or you might prefer a classic neutral and add color for hats, scarves, and gloves.
Next is boots. If you live in a climate that features snowy and/or rainy winters, then you need waterproof boots. They need to fit well over socks and leave you with plenty of room to wiggle your toes. If you cannot wiggle your toes, there’s a risk of cutting the circulation and that can lead to frostbite. If your boots come to the knees, that’s best, but it’s OK if they don’t. Heels are not necessary here but good traction is necessary to prevent slipping. If you have trouble finding good waterproof boots, you may want to search in the men’s department- they usually have good boots. They’re not pretty but they do protect you and that’s the important part.
Smaller things do count. You do lose a lot of body heat through your head so you must make sure you wear a covering. Your ears are prone to frostbite so they need cover too. If you’re married and you cover your hair, a heavier-weight hat, beret, or mitpachat might be fine if it’s cold but not freezing. And you can adjust them to cover your ears as necessary. If it is freezing, your covering won’t be enough so you must add something like a winter scarf. If you wear hair, your own or a shaytl, leave it down to give your ears extra cover. Gloves might give you more dexterity but mittens keep your fingers warmer and protected from frostbite. A heavier weight winter scarf can protect your neck too so use that if you need it. If it’s seriously freezing, you may want to use that scarf to cover your mouth and nose. All of these smaller items can be in neutrals or in any flattering and fun color that you want.
Don’t forget skin care. The wind and cold can leave your skin chapped and uncomfortable. Make sure you use a gentle cleanser, lip balm, and light moisturizer. Remember that the sun doesn’t stop just because it’s cold out so you need sunscreen too.
Stay warm and safe.
To be continued…