- Your body is naturally very warm (98.6 degrees), and on a chilly winter day, you are the warmest thing around. When the temperature drops to freezing (or colder), you need to keep your body insulated. Luckily, cold-weather clothing companies tailor their wares to be practical and fashionable.
The best technique is to layer: Dress in normal trousers and long-sleeved shirts, then wear a sweater or fleece over this. Sweaters are beneficial because they're form-fitting. But these days, polar fleeces are considered more fashionable and their synthetic wool is very dense, which preserves warmth.
Cold air is usually moist, which makes you feel colder as the temperature drops. Also, falling snow and icy conditions will make you very wet, very quickly. The fleece alone will not prevent you from feeling cold, so dress in a water-resistant outer shell; this usually takes the form of a winter coat. They are usually bulky and unattractive, but you can peel them off as soon as you come back indoors.
Thermal socks and water-resistant Gore-Tex boots with good treads are the smartest way to trudge through the ice, as they will keep you warm, dry and stable on your feet.
Finally, wear a warm hat and gloves. Most of the heat in your body is released through your head. Winter hats come in all varieties, but make sure they cover your ears. If you have sensitive skin or get cold easily, a scarf or balaclava will keep your face warm, especially on blustery days. Mittens are often warmer than gloves, but they make it nearly impossible to use your fingers. A minor tend is to wear special glove-and-mitten hybrids, whose mitten-flap flips over to expose the fingers.
For really cold days (sub-zero), consider investing in some long johns. Silk and woolen coveralls might feel anachronistic, but they'll keep you snug and warm.
You'll see the true value of layering when temperatures fluctuate: As the temperature rises throughout the day, especially in early spring and late autumn, you can just remove the shell or fleece and still feel comfortable.
- Of course not everybody is dressing for ski lifts or long periods outdoors. Sometimes you just want to throw something on to get to the supermarket and back. Layering is still essential, but many folks prefer to wear a sweatshirt (hooded or collared) and a basic winter coat. Still, a pair of solid boots will do wonders on slick ice and wet slush. Hats and gloves remain essential.
- For urban fashionistas, a bulky ski-jacket and hooded sweatshirt won't cut it. For people dressing for court or business, a wool greatcoat is your best option. Coats are designed for women and men, and they are usually collared, buttoned and specially tailored to suit your form.
Since urban life is better heated and more indoors than country and suburban living, you will have more opportunities to duck into climate-controlled rooms. What you wear underneath doesn't matter as much, although sweaters and scarves are still recommended (and they can look great). Upscale winter fashions tend to be simple; solid colors or basic patterns are the norm. Women tend to express their winter fashions through their boots; heeled and zippered leather boots can make an outfit appear sleek and elegant. Women may also choose from a variety of hats, from wide woolen berets to form-fitting caps.