Dressing for Success in Frigid Temps

Did you know that you can actually get brain freeze from walking outside?

Did you know that it can get so cold outside it hurts to breath? Or that your boogers can freeze in your nose?

These are some painful lessons I’ve learned my first real winter in over a decade. I feel like I should get a lollipop when if I survive my first Michigan winter without crying.

If you had asked me to stereotype what a Michigander looks like before I moved here I would’ve said flannel shirt and boots. Now I know there is good reason for that stereotype, although I am lacking in the flannel shirt department… I’ll have to work on that. I’ve learned that fashion takes a back to practicality. Since I commute via bus, I pretty much dress to the nines in winter clothes in case the bus is running late. Here’s how I do…

1 – Under-roos, long johns, thermals, you know, long underwear. If it’s less than 10, I wear my long underwear top; less than 5, the bottoms go on too. Because at that point it’s worth the hassle of either taking it off later or wearing it all day. Santa got me a soft, new pair of thermals from Costco, but I still reach for my 15 year old CuddlDuds when its real cold because they’re the best and warmest.

2 – Protect the tootsies. After a few weeks of cold toes, I stocked up on enough wool socks (from Costco) to last me a week. However, Santa brought me my favorite socks, which are not actually wool, but are a cotton/acrylic blend from Carhartt – warmth, dryness, and coverage up to your knees. Get some. And then come dem boots. Right after we moved last March, we stumbled upon an REI Garage Sale (steeply discounted returned items) and snagged some awesome-sauce boots. Mine are actually Asolo hiking boots, but I they’re my go-to boot because they are water-proof, wind-proof, breathable, light, and have good arch support (important for us old people who would otherwise need orthotics…). I can run up and down snow banks all day long, which I do actually need to do to get to the bus stop, muy adventurous!


Functional, not fashionable. Note the gratuitous salty rug backdrop, you’re welcome.

3 – Fight-off frostbitten fingers. For awhile I had this dandy system of rechargeable hand warmers from my dear husband and mitten/gloves. That was the best. Since I took the picture below, I lost those lovely hand warmers :-/ I’ve switched to a cheap, touch-screen-sensitive glove underneath the mitten/gloves and that’s OK, my fingers still get cold if I’m outside too long and I have to sneak my fingers out of their little cocoons so I can make a secret fist in my gloves to warm up my fingers. But I haven’t lost an extremity yet, so I think this will do. And for now I’m eyeing rechargeable hand warmers that store energy from electricity rather than hot water, I envision this being less messy.


4 – Over-the-top head gear. I think people liked my ridiculous instagram picture of me bundled up and here’s how I achieve that most fashionable look. Chris gifted me the black balaclava, which I use almost every day, and the high-tech earmuffs, which I use to listen to audiobooks and podcasts on my commute. Clutch.

Keepingmy head warm

5 – Outerwear – And then I top it all off with my toasty knee-length down coat. Voilà!

And when it’s -14*F and your husband tells you that if you’re ready in 20 minutes he’ll give you a ride, you take the fastest shower ever and brush your teeth while blow drying your hair to catch that ride. Stay warm!


One thought on “Dressing for Success in Frigid Temps

  1. Pingback: February Rewind | Keeping Up With the Mikes

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