Did you grab a coat before heading to work this morning? I bet not, since it was 66 degrees. One thing I love about Houston is that even at its coldest, if I forget to put on my coat, I will not die from cold. But here in St. Louis I just might.
Actually, dressing for extreme cold is not the real challenge of northern winters. Even many Houstonians know how to dress for skiing at Crested Butte, or Steamboat, for example. The problem is something else. How do we dress in winter when we go from a chilly outside to a warm, even overheated lab or office?
The northerners always say we should layer. So I put on long underwear, or tights under my jeans, or wear those nice flannel-lined ones. And then die of heat at the office. I guess all the layers should be removable.
Here’s my solution, a halfway one. Wear knee socks instead of tights or long underwear under those jeans. That way your legs will be half warm. Wear a camisole, or undershirt underneath a thin shirt. That’s it. You can add a sweater or a vest over the shirt as needed, but mostly it won’t be.
The other secret is a scarf. Don’t let your neck get cold. If you also have a hat and gloves, then maybe you can get away with a much lighter coat all the way down to freezing.
Or you can ignore all this advice, and just put on a huge down coat the minute it hits 50 degrees Fahrenheit (equal to 10 Celsius), as a Texan family member who moved north reportedly did. After all, you can leave it unzipped instead of layering.
We’re two days away from the winter solstice, and then these short, short days will start lengthening. And winter will set in for real.