How to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures
Canadians know how to stay warm. Mind you, not like the Russians who are serious about their winter (I hear they drink vodka to stay warm.. or is that a myth?).
In Russia I always see them wear fur-lined things and fur coats, but if you aren’t into that, here’s how you can stay warm (or rather, here is how I stay warm!):
- Goose Down Parka (Don’t cheap out on this item, buy one that is rated for subzero weather)
- Fleece Lined Leggings (worn underneath dresses or skirts) / Pantyhose (underneath pants)*
- Cashmere sweater (I buy cashmere sweaters secondhand)
- Cashmere hat (I like The Cashmere Shop in Yorkville)
- Cashmere pashmina / travel wrap / scarf (I like White & Warren)
- Shearling Mittens (I bought a pair from that Etsy seller)
- Thick Wool Hiking Socks (I like Wigwam but any brand will do)
- Insulated Rubber Boots (Sorel is popular, so is UGG, but I bought Kamik Boy’s Hunting Boots instead)
*You can wear fleece lined tights for under skirts and dresses, but if your pants are very thin, the best trick I have found to stay warm is to wear pantyhose underneath my pants. It blocks out the wind quite effectively.
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR SKIN EXPOSED FOR VERY LONG
Frost bite is very real. Within 10 minutes your skin is bright red and exposed to some serious frostbite especially if there are high winds.
TRY NOT TO SWEAT AND STAY AS DRY AS POSSIBLE
I know this is hard but trying not to sweat or get any kind of moisture on you is key.
I once washed my hands in a bathroom, didn’t dry them off properly (until they were BONE DRY), and put on gloves.
I didn’t feel a thing because my fingers were so numb from the cold when I was outside but when I got home within an hour or so and after my hands warmed up a bit, my fingers had a lasting, painful tingle that signaled the beginning of frostbite.
This can happen if you wrap your scarf around your face and your breath creates moisture on your face, or your feet start sweating in your boots from walking.
At work, I like to bring an extra pair of wool socks that I can change into if need be, or at least wear on the way back home so that I don’t have to put on the wool socks I went out with that might be a little damp.
WHY CASHMERE EVERYTHING?
I love cashmere. Good cashmere that is.
Good cashmere is thick, it is not thin, it does not feel scratchy and it’s super warm.
Other fabrics I can settle for in lieu of cashmere if need be:
- High quality camel hair (there’s cheap and quality camel hair, it should feel like cashmere if it’s high quality)
That’s about it. I’m pretty picky when it comes to what I’ll wear.
WEAR MITTENS NOT GLOVES
Mittens keep your hands warmer because your fingers touch each other. Gloves separate your fingers and are easier to wear around and about, but also disperse heat a lot quicker.
DRINK WARM LIQUIDS AND USE THE CUP TO WARM YOUR HANDS
Hot drinks are your saviour. Keeping your body warm on the inside is key!!
I also like using the mug or cup to warm my hands..
DON’T TRY AND BE STYLISH — STAY WARM
When it is cold.. it is COLD. There is no point in trying to look cute in a thin wool coat without a scarf, while slipping on ice, salt, and slush because you didn’t want to wear winter boots and opted for heels instead.
Frostbite is not chic.