MINI PENNY: Winter Essentials

Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter Essentials

I get lots of questions about dressing for winter — and with Chicago hitting a record of a 'feels like' temperature of nearly -40° this past week, I figure that this is as good of a time as any.

First of all, if it gets brutally cold like we had in this week's Polar Vortex, be careful. Frostbite is serious, real, and fast in extreme weather conditions. Use your best judgement on venturing outside! Here's how I deal with Midwest winters.

Hats — I always take a beanie with me in the winter. I have an array in fun colors to liven up otherwise drab outfits. I also have a fleece ear warmer headband that I wear under my beanie on very cold days for extra warmth. [Neon hat from Forever 21]

Moisturizer — This goes for lips and face. Blistex is a great option, but my personal favorite is Baby Lips by Maybelline. I've been using this stuff for years and literally have it in every color and scent. The standard mint is my go-to, but the Dr. Rescue line in Berry Soft is great if you want a little color. Get a deep moisturizing face cream to battle wind burn and dry climates. I use the day cream by Lulu Blossom. [You can read my review here]

Sunglasses — These aren't just for summer. The snow can be extremely bright and with the sun reflecting off of all of that glittery powder, you can really blind yourself. And my eyes water with cold temperatures, wind, and sun, so these help cut down on that. Cloudy day? Opt for a pair of clear frames to battle light winds. [Radio Sunglasses by Cheap Monday]

Scarf — I'm a big fan of huge, oversize knit scarves, as you've probably seen in many of my outfit posts. The one is this photo, though, is a super soft boucle infinity scarf. I can wrap it once over (shown) for mild days, or wrap it an extra time to shield my mouth and nose completely. [Poodle Boucle Scarf from Urban Outfitters]

Handkerchief — As I mentioned, my eyes water. So does my nose. Keep it old school and carry a handkerchief in your pocket or bag. It's a cool accessory and is functional!

Heavy Coat — This is an obvious key. I have a collection of coats — long ones like this mixed fabric Zara coat, the wollen wrap coat, a vintage Pendleton Wool, and more. If you can get wool, do it. It's super warm. Another option I love is a leather jacket layered over a denim jacket, depending on the temperatures. When shopping for coats, be sure to try it on with a big sweater to make sure you can still layer when needed! [Try this coat]

Layers — I have a few options for this. In this photo, I'm wearing an old (maybe 90s) heavy waffle-knit thermal button up from American Eagle... that I thrifted. It's really cute and VERY warm. I also have a few heavy flannels and denim jackets that are great for layering as well. Need a lot of extra warmth? Grab a lightweight shell from Champion or Northface.

Pocket Warmers — My parents used to get these for me when I was living in Ohio and would drive to Chicago during the winter. I put one in each pocket for some extra warmth throughout the day.

Thick Gloves — So far, I've had very little success finding texting gloves that are actually warm. And I've even purchased some mid-range "expensive" gloves that are somehow less insulating than these grey, heavy-knit Urban gloves. If you have no objections to fur, it's a good option, but I just can't bring myself to it. [Pinwheel Plush Lined Gloves from Urban Outfitters]

Base Layer — This winter, I learned the amazingness that is Nike Hyperwarm. Nike gifted me a pair of their leggings along with some athletic gear when I did an event with them back in December. The Hyperwarm leggings are super warm and I can wear them under my American Apparel Easy Jeans. See? Can't even tell. Game changer! [Nike Hyperwarm Pro Tights, c/o Nike]

Docs and Socks — I'm normally the first to express my dislike for socks. But in the winter, they're almost mandatory. I layer up with two pairs of socks — one of them being a nice, soft athletic sock. Not pretty, but totally comfy. My Dr Marten 1460 boots are the best winter investment I've made. They help keep your feet dry and warm and come in loads of colors and styles. [Dr Marten 1460]

At Home — I don't use my gas heat at home. I'm not joking. I am lucky enough to live on the third floor of a vintage building that gets direct sunlight. On extremely cold days, I shut my curtains to retain heat. I use a space heater (enough for my fairly open-plan one bedroom apartment) and layer up with a pair of fleece leggings, slippers, and a sweater. On my bed I have a heated blanket. Bam. Cozy and so much cheaper!

How do you stay warm in the winter?

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