For Native Texans with little experience in cold climates, we’ve detailed strategies for staying warm in these rare conditions.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance Texas is going through one of those expected, but so unexpected, cold front weeks that we never seem to get used to despite their annual occurrence.
After the shocking realization that winter storms are indeed possible, it’s time to better prepare for these conditions by starting with our wardrobe!
Look, five layers of shirts, a hoodie, pajama pants over jeans, tubular sock gloves, and Crocs aren’t ideal for cold winter conditions. Not to say anything bad about the outfit that was our rare universal snowpocalypse from childhood for those rare snowy days, it’s just that we have to rethink our fashion as a utility medium.
Yes, putting away proper outfits for a snowy day is just as important as having baking soda and a basic tool kit in the house.
Knowing how to dress well for winter conditions is essential to keeping you warm more effectively so you can handle the cold well wherever it is. The secret is not extremely expensive clothing, although quality heated clothing can be expensive.
The secret lies in the layers and their purpose.
Your winter outfits should consist of three layers: a base, an insulating layer and a shell.
While our first instinct is to throw in the thickest sweater we have, your base layer should be thin, tight and form-fitting. The purpose of this layer is to wick away moisture and keep you dry – a major part of fighting cold or worse, hypothermia.
Ideally, this diaper is made from a material like polyester, spandex, or merino wool.
Stay away from cotton blends as the cotton will absorb moisture and stick it to you, making your base counter-effective.
There are different types of weight classes for the base: light, medium and heavy. While thicker fabrics will keep you warm, it’s important to remember that the base layer is about keeping you dry, not warm.
On top of your base layer is your insulation layer – the layer designed to retain heat in your body. This layer is meant to keep you warm.
Design-wise, this diaper is looser and made from materials such as polyester fleece, down, wool, and wool blends.
You’re much less likely to overheat in polyester fleece, which makes this breathable Patagonia sweater in the back of your closet a great option. However, breathability comes at the expense of warmth, which is why a third layer may be necessary.
Your outer layer is designed to protect you from wind, rain and snow while keeping everything else dry and warm.
Unless your mountains are climbing, a simple windbreaker jacket is a great option for this, as shell jackets can be very expensive. Ideally, you want something loose, windproof, and waterproof.
The shell layers are also divided into their own subcategories:
- waterproof / breathable shells
- water resistant hulls
- affordable non-breathable nylon shells
Remember that if you sweat while wearing a shell, you risk saturating your first two layers which will be ineffective.
Again, the secret to staying warm is to stay dry, so don’t use cotton blends for this.
Hats, shoes, accessories
Everyone should have a beanie or five in their collection. It is not negotiable, and they are excellent. Opt for acrylic, synthetic fibers or wool for maximum warmth. Ribbed cups are also important and contribute to durability and longevity by giving your cup movement and shape.
If there is snow on the ground, Crocs and Vans just won’t cut it. (Remember drought is the key!) You can get by with the 1460 Doc Martins in the rain, but only for a limited time. Ideally, real waterproof shoes are best in these cases. Unless you are working outside, rain boots with 75% waterproofing will work just fine, as most of the time our interaction with rain is limited to walking in parking lots and around the corner.
Accessories like scarves, gloves and mittens should follow the anti-cotton rule.
Remember that, at the end of the day, dressing usefully can also be fashionable! As long as you follow some of the tips here, you are limitless in the possibilities of self-expression while staying warm.
The good thing about this weather in Texas? This is all temporary.
Then comes summer.
Photos courtesy of George cars.
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