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How to dress for the winter

Keep It Warm This Winter: Our Dos and Don’ts for Winter Dressing

Staying warm in the winter – a challenge that isn’t as challenging as you may think. This year, don’t let the cold keep you from making some wonderful outdoors memories. Learn the basics of how to dress properly for the winter so you can enjoy going outside in the chilly air (or at least not dread it quite as much).

Layering: The most effective way to dress

The number one tip for staying warm in the winter is layering. Dressing in layers is the best way to keep yourself comfortable when venturing outside in the cold. This is because multiple, thinner layers of clothing trap insulative air much better than one layer will, no matter how thick it may be.

When done properly, layering also offers benefits such as:

  • It allows for easy temperature adjustment when preference, exertion level, or weather conditions change.
  • It provides protection against winds and moisture, keeping you dry and warm.
  • It traps air closer to your body for better insulation and maintains your core body heat.
  • In extreme cold, it offers prevention against frostbite and hypothermia.
  • It’s a fashionable way to dress – even when it isn’t cold.

How to layer – the right way

Despite what you may think, it is possible to dress for cold weather without looking like a penguin. The key is not to use too many heavy or bulky items. Instead, follow the three-layer guide.

  1. Inner Layer. Your inner layer is worn closest to your body to help wick away moisture. This layer should be relatively thin – think silk, polyester, anything but cotton – and should be formfitting without being too tight.
  2. Mid Layer. This layer is all about the insulation and creating pockets of warm air between you and the cold outside. It can be anything that snug’s without being tight, from sweatshirts and sweaters to fleece vests and cardigans.
  3. Outer Shell. The outer shell is all about keeping the cold out and warmth in. A great shell is wind- and water-proof and offers extra insulation to keep you even warmer. Think puffer jackets, warm winter coats, and even heavy-duty snow gear.

When choosing your layers, it’s important to pay attention to the fabric. Flannel, wool, fleece, and polyester are all great choices for staying warm without feeling too bulky.

And, of course, be sure to protect your other core areas: your hands, feet, and head. Finish off your winter getup with thick, non-cotton socks, close-toed shoes, warm gloves, and a hat that covers your ears and forehead.

What to avoid wearing this winter

We’ve told you what to wear. Now here’s what not to wear in the colder months.

  • Tight clothing. Your base layer should be formfitting without being tight, and subsequent layers should allow you to move freely and stretch to your fullest capacity.
  • Cotton. Cotton traps moisture, especially when worn right against the skin. Save this fabric for summer.
  • Weather-sensitive shoes. Make sure your shoes are weather-appropriate. Unless you’re only stepping outside for a moment, it’s best to wear thick, close-toed shoes with good tread.
  • Leather clothes. Leather doesn’t offer great insulation. Layer with warmer materials such as flannel or wool, then use leather as an outer layer for wind and moisture protection.
  • Ripped jeans. Even a small hole in your jeans is enough to let cold air in. If you absolutely must wear ripped jeans, try layering with some leggings underneath.

Reminder from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: If you wear a scarf, wear your face mask beneath it. A scarf does not replace your mask.


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