BBAC 2015, Day Twelve: Bundle up!

Posted on Friday, at bought • 287 views

Winter in the Pacific Northwest is colder than in Phoenix Arizona, where I spent my early childhood; and colder than the San Francisco Bay Area, where I spent the rest of my growing-up years. I still had winter clothing, it just wasn't as extreme as folks who live in, say, Fargo. Or Alaska. So while I routinely had longer sleeves, thicker socks, and sweaters, I have never in my life owned a pair of snow pants. And just about every pair of mittens I have ever owned ended up being purely decorative.

When I moved up to this state, with snows-in-winter, I started needing to wear more layers. Even indoors! (Well, I could just crank the heat up. But the heating bills get pretty ridiculous pretty quickly.) I also, for the first time in my life, needed to own more than two sweaters…and needed to wear them regularly. I actually have a summer wardrobe and a winter wardrobe. (What the actual peeping blue hell, when did I become one of Those People?!??) I do like winter approaching, though, because I get to pull out some shoes and some tops that I can wear in late autumn, and early to mid-spring, but not really in summer.

BBAC 2015, Day Twelve: Bundle up!

<h3>Lightweight silk long underwear</h3> <p>Wintersilks sells silk long underwear in multiple styles, and in three weights: light, medium, and heaviest. None are super-bulky, and the lightweight (the ones that I get) are less detectable than many of the slips I wear with skirts. They do a great job of keeping my body heat rather than just letting it dissipate. It's what lets me wear my Tienda Ho cotton skirts and pants in January, even though they are definitely "summer-weight" items. I have several 3/4-sleeve V-neck tops, and several mid-calf-length pants, and come winter I wear them daily as my first/insulating layer.</p> <h3>Lots of medium-weight sweaters</h3> <p>I start wearing my sweaters in mid-autumn. Usually at that point, the daytime temps are routinely in the high 50s to bottom of the 60s, so I need a little extra weight and the longer sleeves. I have lots of the house-brand sweaters from a department store. They're not The Height Of Fashion, but they're nice looking, they're easy enough to dress up or down, and they don't require extraordinary measures to launder them. Plus I can get a few different styles, then get several colors in each of those styles.</p> <h3>Columbia coat</h3> <p>For years when colder weather hit, I wore a thick winter jacket by North Face. It was black on the outside, and bright purple inside. It was a legacy of a tech company I'd worked for: one year they gave out these winter-weight coats with the company logo embroidered on the breast. I spent hours carefully pulling out that embroidery - I wanted to be able to use the jacket without advertising to people where I worked (or where I used to work, as tech workers have long been something of a gypsy workforce.) I wore that jacket almost every day every winter for nearly 30 years. It washed well, it wore well, I still have it. But I kind of got tired of the vivid Barney-purple lining. So one year when I had a little extra money, I went looking for a winter-weight coat that was also weatherproofed. I finally got one, but in the men's department. Women with large busts and wide shoulders apparently aren't allowed to easily find winter-weight jackets that they like the style of, that are actually stocked in their size, and that are not almost twice what men pay. (I see no reason to be forced to pay the Pink Tax when shopping for a good-looking, solid-performing winter coat that doesn't cost a quarter of a mortgage payment...and not be able to comfortably close the damn thing.)</p> <h3>Fingerless mittens</h3> <p>My first pair of mittens that I bought myself were "convertible" mittens. The tops unbuttoned so that you could use your fingers (to easily use keys, to type in phone messages, et cetera) but then quickly put your fingers back into/under something that would keep them warm and dry. I loved them because it gave me a great way to give my occasionally-too-warm mittened hands some cooling off without having to pull off the entire mitten. As well as using keys and other detailed things that really can't be done when wearing mittens. For whatever reason, Wintersilks stopped selling these. Maybe they'll make a reappearance in five or so years. Until then, I have my teal blue ones.</p> <p>The other mittens that I have are the freebies that a nail supply company gave away in their winter holiday packs. By standards of places like Minnesota or the Dakotas I'm sure these are cute enough, but not really very useful. For places like the Pacific Northwest, where we get more rain than snow, and the cold in the daytime is often in the mid to high 40s, they're perfect. Again: keep the palms and core of the hands warm, keep the fingers free and not smothered. I have two pairs of these. They're decent quality - not itchy, not unravelling, not bulky. More than adequate, considering I got them free with several bottles of nail polish.</p> <h3>Thick wool socks and Yaktrax</h3> <p>If you've ever shopped at Costco, you've probably seen these: sold in packs of three, they're grey (or heathered blue, or heathered brown) socks. They're wonderfully warm! They are bulky, though, so while I can wear these when I'm wearing my trainers, they won't fit in most of my boots. If you live - or are visiting - anyplace where you get very cold, I recommend picking up a pack of these socks.</p> <p>I hadn't ever heard of Yaktrax until I moved up here. My first winter here, it snowed often enough and long enough for the snow to stick on the ground, and make walking problematic (which it doesn't do every winter.) A friend of mine taught me about these wonderful things that fit on right over whatever shoes you happen to be wearing, to give you much better traction when walking on snow. Even the packed-down, super-slick stuff. They look weird, but they really do work! If your winter walking is all pretty urban, spend the USD$30 and get yourself a pair for those days when there's more than "picturesque" snowfall (snow that's about 1/4 inch, and is all melted away by about 8am.)</p>

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