The Cold Weather Wardrobe Debate

Now that average days are in the 40s, nights dipping below 30 occasionally into the teens, even a few minutes of snow, the morning conversation becomes about Appropriate Cold Weather Wardrobe. "I'm going with long underwear, jeans, turtleneck, wool sweater, gloves and my Carhartt hat." "I'm going with jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt and my ball cap." I'm waiting until it warms up... Which I get to do because I'm taking care of my grandson.

Frank's philosophy is to dress so that you're somewhat cold when you first go outside, then as you work, you warm up and all is fine. Maddrey's philosophy is to dress so that you do not notice a change in temperature from indoors to outdoors. Now, you folks who have lived in cold weather may think it's obvious, but I've spent the last 30 years in California, so all I know is to have a light sweater in case it cools off in the evening or you end up at the beach somehow. So much to learn...


    I'm testing both theories and have to say that Maddrey's is more pleasant in the beginning and Frank's is more pleasant after you get moving quite a bit. So I end up shedding a layer or two as I go and then gather the jettisoned clothes after my chores are done. This will become a less great idea once the snows come and an extra trip around gathering clothes while wearing snowshoes will not be fun. I mostly worry about my fingers and toes, which are already getting cold. Maddrey says that if your extremities are cold, it's because your core isn't warm enough. Keep your torso really, really warm and the rest will take care of itself better. I'm testing that, too, but haven't yet found the appropriate core temperature to keep my toesies warm. I did shell out some cash at the nearby TJMax for some serious cold weather gloves. Best money ever spent. Also the wonderful local discount store, Marden's (buy it when you see it, because it won't be there next time), had some wool gloves lined with fleece and fleece-lined leggings - less than $5 each. Again, super good purchase.

I've become a huge fan of thrift store shopping as well. Noting that I have 14 sweaters - some cashmere, some 100% wool, 100% cotton turtlenecks - all purchased for less than the price of one good wool sweater. There's something wonderful about feeding chickens in cashmere or Merino wool.

Since the time I started making notes for this post and today, my experiments with the two philosophies has left me with this: I like Frank's start-out-cold for the morning chores and Maddrey's start-out-warm for evening chores. I did the opposite today and it wasn't as cozy. Also, one wool sweater is not as good as two wool sweaters.


My Chihuahua is also adjusting to the cold with his fancy DIY sweater. We found the idea online and Maddrey already had a sweater she had felted for repurposing. She cut off a sleeve and voila! Dog sweater. He thinks he looks terrific (the collar rolls back into a turtleneck).

What is YOUR Cold Weather Dress philosophy?