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Getting winter orientated

If you are new to a cold climate, getting winter orientated is the first item on your agenda. Or it should be! After that, preparing your winter wardrobe for the winter season does take some work every year but by then, you'll be an old hand and know what to do but first...

What is your winter season like?

What you do to prepare depends on where you live and the kind of winter season that normally occurs.

The winter season varies all across North America. It ranges from mild winters to a rainy, damp ones to full-blown snowy and freezing temperatures all across North America.

Two key things to remember when getting winter orientated are:

  • Winter can last a very loooooong time.
  • Types of winter season varies quite a bit

Keep this in mind when buying any winter clothing or accessories. Fur and really cold temperatures go very well together in some areas but has become less popular and not everyone's cup of tea these days.

The cold-weather clothing you buy in New York or Toronto is going to be different than what you buy in Fairbanks, Alaska or in the NorthWest Territories in Canada so buy appropriate to the kind of winter climate you live in or plan to live in after you arrive.

In a rainy, damp or occasional snowy climates, more waterproof options such as leather, vinyl, oilskin or waxed materials are better on the outside and on the inside, fleece and wool will make you warm and toasty.

Quite often, the inner lining can be zipped out or in depending on what kind of weather you need it for. For colder temperatures, all these options can still be good choices but you'll need extra insulation because...

Insulation is key!

The main difference in feeling warm or cold is the degree of insulation you have in your clothing. The colder the temperatures, the more insulation you'll need in your outdoor clothing in particular. This type of clothing is definitely more functional and less on style as it deals with more extreme weather conditions. Keeping warm is the top priority, being stylish is less important.

Conversely, the warmer the winter, current fashions tends to have a stronger influence on styles, textures, fabrics and types of winter clothing you can buy as it offers more flexibility overall.

Changing seasons

Getting winter orientated actually includes the before and after seasons too in my opinion. You'll wear the same type of clothing in the fall as you'll also wear in the spring, as the temperatures will be similar within their respective season as they either rise or fall accordingly.

What to wear when:

Here's a rough guide to what to expect when the seasons change here in North America:


  • From late September to early November, you'll be easing into fall clothing by adding a lightweight jacket, scarf, and hat plus some leather gloves to complete your chic ensemble. Then from mid to late November to some time in March, you'll be in full winter gear.


  • Officially, it's December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. However, winter conditions can come early or late and given recent winters, expect the unexpected! The calendar may indicate one thing but outside it could be quite different altogether. Be prepared for cold temperatures, snow, wind, rain and ice or a combination of all of the above at any time! Remember, your goal is to stay warm!


  • Spring officially arrives on March 21 in this part of the world (or 21st of September in the Southern Hemisphere) so you'll move back into clothing that you wore in the fall - give or take a few weeks of course, since the warmer weather will arrive when it arrives!

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