Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Some of you might be thinking…

Hah. Actually, they bother us ordinary humans quite a bit.  A little more like this:

Northern winters: Let me tell you, they don’t roll in with any less than 100%. They tend to arrive suddenly, and with brutal cold (not surprised there, I mean, it’s winter.). In Illinois this year, our first cold snap came in early November. Recently, with this polar vortex business, it’s been getting down to the -20s consistently.

The problem with these extremely low temperatures is that they’ll cut straight through a usually decent coat, and jeans are nothing against those winds. Being a victim of the Northern Winter myself, I’ve decided to make a guide for those who are in need of ways to not lose your extremities, while still looking semi-stylish.

Dressing for Northern Winters 101

Layer up. You are not immune to the cold, don’t act like it. And by layer up, I mean undershirt-shirt-sweater-jacket-coat. It can get hard to layer up under your favorite pair of jeans, especially for women, but I have found a solution. Ladies, let me introduce you to fleece-lined leggings (also available as tights.) Pull on a pair, and then your pants, and it’s basically another two layers on your legs. An added benefit: when indoors, your legs don’t roast in the leggings. They keep your legs at a comfortable temperature. Like blankets, but for your legs. Leg blankets. I like that.

As for the boys, you can just swing by a superstore and grab some long johns or long underwear or whatever they call ‘em where you live.  They’re designed to be a base layer for cold-as-an-eternal-winter weather, so they keep your body temperature at a healthy level. The shirt under-layer can usually be worn under a t-shirt and look just fine,  and that’s not just limited to boys.

Ladies, if you want to just wear your favorite t-shirt for one of your sports and not lose your arms, go ahead. You’ll look gorgeous either way. But if you want to wear a skater skirt and your most beloved sweater, don’t let the sub-zero temperatures kill your fashion sense. Pull on a pair of those fleece-lined leggings or tights, then a skirt, with that sweater tucked in (or left out, it’s up to you.)

 If you’re in the one of those lazy moods, just jeans and a shirt under a sweatshirt should do you just fine. Feet are very vulnerable during bitter winters, so keep ‘em wrapped up pretty good. Boots are my first pick, since I can wear super-thick socks and no one will notice, and they’re best for someone who has to walk a lot during the day, especially through snow and slush. Make sure to spray them with leather protectant, so the salt on the roads and sidewalks doesn’t corrode the exterior leather. Patterned scarves piled up around your neck keep you warm and look adorable. And if you like wearing beanies, just pull it down a little lower over your ears and your head will never get cold.

Northern winters are brutal, and anyone who has lived through one knows that. But just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to drown yourself in cloth in an attempt to stay warm. You can dress nicely and still retain your body heat. So go ahead, wear that skirt. Marvel at the looks of “how are her legs not completely frozen?” when your peers see that you’re wearing just a pair of leggings. They don’t need to know that those tights are fuzzy on the inside, let them be dumbstruck at your Elsa-like tolerance for sub-zero temperature.

Also, my sincere apologies to the male readers of this, I’m not a guy, and I’ve got a very limited knowledge of how you stay warm in winter, and what layering techniques work for you and what ones don’t. Just remember, there’s always an alternative to becoming a marshmallow like Randy in A Christmas Story.



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the author

Claire is a high school student, barely staying sane as she balances life and school. She loves preforming and listening to music, and paints and doodles when she finds the time.

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