The human body is not designed for cold weather. Our lack of body hair compared to our fellow primates is a testament to that fact.
The good news is we had the smarts to devise a clever solution: clothes to keep us warm. Clothes allow us to thrive in climates where we’d otherwise freeze to death.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, then the warmest days of the year are behind you. It’s chilly weather and freezing temperatures from now until next spring.
In order to make it through winter without turning into an ice statue, you need the right attire. With this in mind, let’s take a look at six wardrobe essentials for cold weather:
Remember when your mom told you to wear your winter hat because the bulk of your body’s heat would otherwise escape through your head? It turns out that’s a falsehood. However, if your scalp is bare while the rest of you is covered in clothes, it’s a given that most of your body heat will be lost through your head. Many people hate wearing hats for many reasons, but chances are you’ll find yourself wanting one at some point this winter. With this in mind, make a point to have one or two hats ready to put on when you need them.
Cold hands are a huge drag. You wind up keeping them in your coat pockets, which inhibits your ability to maintain balance when slipping on ice. While traditional gloves make it impossible to use your phone when wearing them, modern-day touchscreen gloves are available for purchase in most clothing stores as well as online. They keep your hands warm without impeding your social media scrolling. We recommend opting for a snug fit in order to preserve your dexterity. However, if temperatures plummet below zero degrees Fahrenheit, you may need to swap them for a thicker pair providing additional insulation.
Assuming your typical day involves a mix of time spent outside and time spent indoors, the rule of thumb is to dress in layers. That way, you’re able to adjust to the change in temperature (assuming there’s a place to hang your coat!) With this in mind, we recommend having several long-sleeve flannel button ups in your closet as the middle layer between your undershirt and overcoat. These shirts will keep you warm while giving you the option to shed layers if necessary, all the while looking your best.
It goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: you need a good winter coat! Not a jacket, not a sweater, not a puffy vest, but a coat! While jackets, sweaters, and vests are ideal for slightly warmer days, they’re no substitute for a coat designed to keep you warm in subzero temperatures. It might seem like a hefty investment, considering most winter coats are expertly designed using various fabrics and other materials, but a good coat will last you years, if not decades. With this in mind, we recommend going with a timeless style in order to remain fashion-forward for the foreseeable future.
Sneakers and other lighter forms of footwear are okay to wear in winter if you’re just running to the drugstore on a chilly day. But for the times when the streets are covered in snow and ice or when temperatures are well below freezing, do your feet a favor by wearing insulated winter boots. The good news is that boots are a perennially fashionable form of footwear, meaning you don’t have to compromise the look of your outfit by strapping them on before stepping out.
Anyone who has ever stepped out into the freezing cold with nothing between their pants and their legs knows it’s almost like you’re wearing nothing below the waist. That’s because most pants are made with thin fabric and do a lousy job of keeping your body’s warmth from escaping. The solution – without compromising your style – is to wear thermal underwear beneath your pants. Thin but insulative, thermals are the ideal undergarment for winter weather.
From an anatomical and evolutionary point-of-view, humans are not designed for cold weather. We’re forced to adapt with the help of warm clothes. With this in mind, don’t make the mistake of neglecting your cold-weather wardrobe this winter. The right clothes, shoes, and undergarments make all the difference!
Alex Farina is a freelance writer from Ohio. He enjoys writing about design, fashion, nature, and technology.
Last modified: December 4, 2022