"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Simple Living Ideas: Get Outside!: Dressing for Cold Weather.


snowy road
Snowy Road Copyright 2012

Det gäller att smida medan järnet är varmt.
Translation: "There is no bad weather only bad clothing." 
This old Swedish saying couldn’t be more true. If you know how to dress properly you can be outside in any kind of weather. I really learned that this can be a fine art while working at Paragon Sporting Goods in NYC. This store had specialized gear for being out in the desert to being on an Arctic expedition. However, this was Manhattan and very stylish women would come into my department wanting a cute ski outfit for their first ski weekend. They usually would pick out a furry trimmed lightweight parka and some skin tight ski pants. Then I would ask them, “Were are you going skiing?” “Vermont.” What you picked out if for Spring skiing out West.” I would try to redirect them to insulated waterproof pants and down parkas, that their fashion sense did not approve of... “I’ll stick with what I already picked out.” “You’re going to freeze.” “I don’t care.” So, after the first time they fell and got wet I’m sure they spent the rest of their trip hanging out in the ski lounge looking quite fashionable. Too bad, they may have really enjoyed skiing. 
Since the time that I worked at Paragon, in the late 1980’s, prices for synthetic wicking clothing has gone down tremendously. Back then you had to pay top dollar and buy expedition level gear from companies like Patagonia or Marmont to guarantee you’d be warm. LL bean always had moderately priced clothing and jackets but now - fleece from Target will keep you considerably warm for a minimum about of money, thought the product probably won’t last you very long. You would be better off investing in at least mid-range outerwear from LL Bean or Land’s End.
Why am I going on about getting good gear? Because I want you to get outside this winter. You will feel so much better about the cold weather if you spend some time in it daily. At lunch take a brisk walk outside, or if you can take a walk in the morning before your commute. The sun exposure will help prevent SADD, the depression caused by lack of light, and the chill is actually good for stimulating your mind and your immune system. People get sick more in the winter because they are indoors with dry heat that is bad for the functioning of their sinuses. Outside is were the air is germ free.
So, if you ask me specifically what should you wear outside on a cold day I would recommend:
Head: A fleece hat that is not skin tight. When there is about 1/2 inch between your head and the hat this creates insulation. It is very import to keep your head covered because you loss a large percentage of your body heat through your head.
Face: If it happens to be a particularly windy day you might want a scarf (fleece is the warmest and the most itchless) around your neck that is larger enough that you can cover the bottom of your face with it. You can also invest in a Gortex face mask if you live in a really windy area. They are nice because they stay put and they wick away the moisture from your mouth. 
Upper Body: Layers: undershirt, turtleneck (holds in body heat and keeps your neck warm) and a top sweater (a light weight fleece is a very comfortable layer for walking) Parka: waterproof, with a hood, that covers your butt. I wouldn’t recommend down for exercising.  Down tends to get too warm. A Polartec fleece lining would be best.
Hands: This depends on how your body distributes heat. I am definitely a cold hands warm heart kinda person. If you are like me the warmest gloves you can wear are waterproof outer, fleece lined or down MITTENS. If your hands don’t get very cold you can might be able to get away with cotton gloves.
Lower Body: I recommend sweat pants or corduroys.  Denim get’s too cold. If it is windy you can cover your pants with a shell pant or insulated snow pants.
Feet: Socks, wicking wool socks are the warmest. Waterproof lightweight hiking boots are great for cold weather. They will give you good support for walking and keep you warm.
These are my recommendation. I guarantee if you wear all of these items you will be cosy and warm. You’ll be able to get outside, clear your head and get your heart pumping in any snowy, blustery weather that may come your way. 
copyright 2012 

2 comments:

  1. Or you could move to South Florida and wonder whether to wear a t-shirt with or without sleeves... :-D

    ReplyDelete

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