Here are some winter tips from a Texan who was in Chicago that one time:
- Don’t layer. If it’s below 40 degrees F (4 degrees C), forget layers. Just wear a T-shirt and your good winter coat. That is seriously all you need. Don’t have a coat warm enough? Well, then you should probably layer. Would you rather put on and peel off a dozen layers as you transition from indoors to outdoors and back indoors; or just throw on a coat?
- Forget gloves. Put your hands in your pockets.
- I lied, get gloves.My point is: don’t depend on them (unless you’re biking, but that’s another story). Be prepared to lose your gloves. Ideally, the gloves you buy have clasps, hooks, and/or velcro so you don’t lose them. I actually have a glove/coat combo where I can peel off my gloves and stick them onto a velcro strip on the coat. Ski jackets usually have good glove storage.
- Learn how to put on and take off your gloves with your teeth. True story: If you’re walking down the street eating your ice cream and you need to answer your phone, you don’t want to have to put down your ice cream to mess with a glove.
- Your nose will run. Don’t use tissues. I always carry a washcloth for this. Bicyclist will know that winter gloves are designed to have a patch for wiping your nose.
- No hats. All you need are ear warmers. Even on bike. I got these foldable ear wamers on woot a loooong time ago: http://www.woot.com/offers/eargrips-behind-the-head-fleece-ear-warmer-2-pack-dec-15 You can fold them for easy storage, and you can also carry them by wrapping them on your arm, freeing up valuable pocket space. Besides, hats mess up your hair.
- Do use scarves and hoods. Hoods are useful for dealing with wind, and scarves can be equivalent to wearing a whole layer. Learn the different way of tying a scarf. You can tie a scarf different ways to deal with different degrees.
- Pants: it doesn’t matter, and you don’t need long underwear. You can wear the same pants you wore in summer. Same goes for socks and shoes. Your jacket will cut the wind and cover the important bits. I don’t know what magic girls use to walk around in leg warmers. Maybe it’s the Uggs.
And there you have it. With that wardrobe, I was biking around Chicago all winter in 5 degree F weather. The only modification I made for biking was I had to invest in some serious gloves. Another modification you might want is if you’re going to be standing still outdoors for a long time (why?), then you should add layers.