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How to dress for winter

How to dress for winter involves developing some key winter clothing strategies to cope with cold winter temperatures.

Yes? Makes complete sense, doesn't it? You just have to dress properly for it - simple!

In fact, like most Canadians, we have several different types of outdoor winter clothes to match the different weather conditions and the activities that we do. You will too, depending on your budget, location and circumstances. What you wear to the local grocery store is way different to what you'd wear to go ice fishing for a week to Lake Superior in January!

Strategy 1: Buy where you live

Buying winter clothes in the place where you live or are going to live is the best strategy. If you buy what is claimed to be 'winter clothes' anywhere else just won't be as effective as buying them where the cold temperatures and snowy conditions are a fact of life. So, if you are relocating, wait until you arrive to start assembling your winter wardrobe.

So, how do you dress for winter?

Strategy 2: Wear layers

Without a doubt, the very best way of how to dress for winter conerns the right number of layers to keep you warm. What this means is you end up wearing a combination of different layers of clothes. It varies too.

What you wear during the day going from home to your job or shopping is different from doing any prolonged activity outdoors like snow shovelling or skating. It's still the same of idea of layering but you are doing it for a different purpose and so the type of clothing that you'll be wearing is different as well.

There are three different layers:

  • Inside thin base layer i.e. closest to your skin layer
  • Middle layer i.e. warm bulky layer like a wool sweater or fleece jacket
  • Outer layer i.e. waterproof or windproof layer.

Each layer is important and has a specific purpose. Together, all your layers of clothing are essential on how best to dress for winter; it's the secret to winter comfort.

Of course, if it's really cold, then you'll add another thin layer if necessary. It's just up to you and how you deal with the cold temperatures but layering your clothing is the way to go.

The result? If you get too hot, then take of a layer off or if you are cold, then add another layer. It works every time.

Strategy 3: Winter accessories for your extremities!

Wearing winter accessories is a critcal part of how to dress in winter. You'll feel the cold most if your head, hands and your feet are not warm and toasty. Making sure your hands and feet are properly covered is very important. The kind of activity you are doing and the kind of weather you'll be in may also have some bearing on what type of hat and gloves to buy.

Chances are you will end up having several hats, gloves, scarves and lots of socks for sure. It's also quite likely you'll have several coats or jackets for the different types of winter weather and activities that you'll do.

You'll also definitely want a second pair of boots, one for everyday wear and for 'good' wear. There is also another common reason for having more than one pair of winter boots. That's getting your boots wet. You'll need an alternative pair while the others dry out before you can wear them again.

Having spare pairs of gloves is necessary as well. Nothing is more annoying than loosing a glove (or both). Again, you may have a pair for work, evening events, and general everyday wear. I have several leather pairs for work and going out to match my winter coats. I also have an everyday pair of well-insulated gloves that I use when I'm shovelling snow or any outdoor work.

Strategy 4: Essential Winter clothing recommendations

Dressing warmly in winter needs to cover everything between the tips of your toes to the top of your head.

For your outwear layer: You'll need at least one of each such as a winter coat, mid-length jacket, sweaters or fleece jackets.

For your inner layer i.e. closest to your skin: You'll need thermal or silk long underwear, leggings or tights plus neck-high turtlenecks to prevent drafts around your neck.

For your extremities: In fact, you'll need multiples of most items in your winter wardrobe like socks, innerwear, gloves, scarves, hats, turtlenecks, long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts and winter-weight pants and trousers.

There are other things you need to know about how to dress for winter when buying winter clothing such as getting winter orientated first. If you are new to snow and cold temperatures, being winter aware is important and necessary.

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