Essentials ... in a cooler climate

Started 11 years ago. There are 9 replies by 8 different members. The latest reply was from kungfumom2002.
  1. For me, the most useful part of MSP is the list of essential wardrobe pieces. I'm one of those who tends to buy pretty things that I like, but without a plan for how they'll go together. And since I don't like spending money on clothes, I tend to just buy fun stuff, and not the "boring" essentials. My trouble is this: the MSP list of basics is GREAT for WARM weather... but I'm wondering if anyone has ideas of a good list for climates where you need a (warmish) sweater for more than half the year. Tshirts and all-seasons sweaters are useless for much of the year (I'm in Seattle, where it's always damp). I literally break out the long-underwear and cashmere in October. It's also much harder to feel attractively dressed through those cold months, where I keep reaching for whatever is coziest every morning.

  1. This will be my first fall and winter with finding my style, so my advice isn't worth much, I'm sure... but I'm planning to wear thin layers. I'm hoping to buy a long sleeve undershirt. I saw one that has a v-neck and then velcros at the crotch, so it's easy to go to the bathroom in. Then I plan to wear what I am wearing in the summer, with a long sleeve cardigan. I'm hoping that will be warm enough and not be big and puffy. Also, I tend to wear dresses and skirts most of the time, so I'm plannig to wear leggings and knee high boots mostly. I'm trying to find boots on ebay at a reasonable price and leggings in my neutral colors. I also made myself scarves that are just the bottom of skirts and tops that were too long for me and I cut them off and hemmed them. They are in complete circles and are not very wide. They should help keep me warm. Any other ideas?

  2. I'm from Western Canada and also have to dress for cool to cold weather for more than half of the year. I don't know how formal your workplace is, nor what your off hours activities might be so I can't tell you specifically what you need. The difference between my summer wardrobe and my winter wardrobe is primarily the weight of the fabrics as well as some changes in color, deeper richer colours for the darker colder months. My fall/winter basic wardrobe is two pair of dress pants in each of my two favorite neutrals in heavier weight fabric for warmth, wool blends are best for both warmth and look. two pair of jeans in heavier weight denim. two straight or a-line skirts in each of my fave neutrals, one each in a dressy wool fabric and one each in a more casual fabric, but still with some weight to them. Long sleeved fine knit layering tops. I like them v necked and cut close to the body to layer smoothly under other things like cardigans in a variety of weights to deal with the variety of temperatures. Tailored jackets add warmth and a professional look. Boiled wool jackets are a cross between a cardigan and a jacket and are wonderful for warmth. Blouses, shirts, shells, all need to co-ordinate with your jackets and sweaters and should fit close enough to the body to lie smoothly underneath other layers. For casual weekend activities I wear polyester fleece sweaters and hoodies rather than more formal wool cardigans. The most important thing about dressing for winter is the base layer. Yes, I mean long underwear. You can get long underwear in silk and in miracle high tech polyester microfibers. Look on LLBean.com, Landsend.com or Wintersilks.com. Smooth, soft, invisible and oh so helpful. Leggings and tights too. Boots and coats, scarves, gloves and toques and you are good to go.

  3. I live on the Washington state coast, by the rain-forest, so I can relate. My wardrobe really doesn't change that much throughout the year as our summers are cool not hot. I only need a hand-full of short-sleeve shirts for the few truly warm days we get in the summer. In the winter, I just layer my clothes more. I wear a lot of v-neck or scoop-neck layering tees and will double-up with them during the winter and, yes, wear long-underwear underneath. If needed, I will throw a cardigan or some other light sweater over the top for more warmth. I wear either tights or long-underwear under my jeans/pants and tights/boots with skirts dresses. So, I guess I'm just agreeing with suzer1 by saying that long-underwear will really get you a long way towards extending your wardrobe. Most of mine are CuddleDuds or UnderArmour (like these best).

  4. I live in Vancouver Canada, affectionately known as "Rain City". My basics include water-resistant outer wear and boots. The rain has been so bad that I've actually worn my felt-lined green rubber boots (with the tie string at the top) to work and put on my nicer shoes once I got there. Wearing warm, waterproof boots and bringing your shoes with you is very common in Canada. I tend to go for darker colours to hide the dirt. If you have a favourite pair of boots, i.e. a heeled fashion boot with a thin, smooth sole, you can wintersize them by going to a shoe repair shop and having them "tobied". Topy is a brand of thicker, grippy rubber sole that can be put on your boots and shoes. You can then get the thermal felt insoles for your boots to warm them up! Peacoats, brushed wool, camel hair, suede and fabric jackets are to be avoided at all costs. In about 10 minutes you'll be a huge, wet, unhappy soaking wet sponge, your coat will weigh a ton and take forever to dry out. Even if you drive or use the best umbrella, you'll still be vaugely damp all day. Suede boots and shoes, like Uggs, are also useless in the rain. I honestly have no idea why I still see young gals running around in soggy Uggs every year, it baffles me. I love the fashion trend of wearing leg warmers over your tall boots! I find this keeps my legs warmer as well as keeping the salt and dirt off my boots while looking really cute. Again, I go for darker colours and match the leg warmers to my gloves, scarf and hat. A few years ago, I got tired of toques and started buying more stylish winter tams and woolen caps. You can get some really nice hat, glove and scarf sets for reasonable prices. They really are an instant way to look more fashionable in the winter. My other winter basic is the turtle neck. I have a long neck and it gets cold in the winter. I find that turtle necks never go out of style and are a good base for a lot of the layered looks. They can look great by themselves with just a pair of jeans or dress pants. Incidentally, for warmer weather readers, we having a saying for winter hiking clothes here in Canada, "Cotton Kills" If you are planning on coming up for a visit and want to hike in cooler weather, don't wear cotton pants, jackets or jeans out in the woods. Google the phrase to find out why. :) Okay, I'm starting to wander away on tangents here so I'd better call it a night!

  5. Good advice all around. Yes, I am a huge huge fan of silk under-layers. But for me, that and a shirt is still never enough. So, I wind up living in a few cashmere sweaters for months on end. Cosy, lightweight, and pretty, but becomes very boring after awhile! Oh heck, I even wore them for most of the summer, at least in the morning. What I really wish I could find (at non-extortionate prices) are tops in thin, draping knits: but wool! I found wool baby-doll dress last year, that's thinner than many of my tshirts -- and i love it to death! I want more of that, but it's so hard to find clothes in this country that aren't cotton or (much worse) poly. Jackets for warmth? Doesn't cut it. Must be a sweater (wool, etc) I need more good cardigans. With interesting detail and structure. Suzer1: thanks for the reminder on boiled wool jackets. Yes! And bouclé -- so much lighter in weight. HelenChristine: something tells me you life somewhere MUCH warmer. Your last month of pictures is testament to that, too. Fashion-wise = lucky you!

  6. I live just outside Boston. When I hit perimenopause, rather than hot flashes I started feeling cold a lot. (Had my thyroid checked and it's fine, I just run cold.) I spend many months of the year in long underwear. At the height of winter, I'm wearing long underpants and wool socks with yoga pants over, and a cami AND a turtleneck AND a thin fleece sweater AND a faux shearling vest in my living room. Plus often a knit hat and wrist warmers. (Hats and wrist warmers help more than I ever expected!) I can often do with a bit less clothing when I'm out of the house; it seems many businesses here heat and air condition more than I do. :-) If I don't want to look like a mummy, it helps to have each layer be not-bulky, and the next to skin layers snug. Once I get up to the vest, I've thrown silhouette to the wind, I'm afraid. Still not wearing chunky sweaters or jackets indoors as I'm about a size 4 petite and they overwhelm me. I'm toying with wearing more long sleeve tees with neck scarves instead of turtlenecks this winter. I love the coziness of the turtlenecks, but I'm not as flat as I was when I was twenty years old and they can fit a bit oddly. Thank you to my SYSters in cold places - you give me hope!

  7. I think today's article on layering is perfect for this!

  8. Chiming in to say that RareGemma's remarks about footwear are absolutely spot on. Find and wear outdoor shoes and boots that will keep you warm and dry. Change into "indoor shoes" when you arrive at your destination. For decades this has been the norm wherever there are four distinct seasons, ever since the advent of boots over stockings rather than rubber overshoes protecting regular indoor shoes. Taking your boots off and changing into shoes keeps your feet from overheating and your boots from getting soggy inside with perpiration, which in turn keeps your feet warm when you put your boots back on to go outside again. Lots of people carry shoes every day, others keep shoes in their neutral colours at work ready to be worn on boot weather days. My locker at work has three or four pairs of shoes in it at all times, I need shoes that are safe to wear in a chemistry lab (flat, supportive, non slip soles, solvent resistant ... not elegant by any means) and also prefer to have others available when I am doing office work or going to meetings and I want to look more polished.

  9. I live in the northeastern corner of California and we often have a 60 degree change during the day in summer and as much as 40 degree change in winter. Some winters get very cold and are below zero - others average temperature during the day is over 50 degrees. We have our last snow in June and our first snow in October. So everyone here layers year round. We barely have summer wardrobes. Therefore I agree that this weeks article is a real winner for this topic. I really liked the suggestions for making layering look fashionable instead of just warm. I have lots of sweaters of differing weights and sleeve lengths. Shawls for fall and spring which I fasten with nice brooches. I wear long underwear some days in the winter under my slacks. And I do indeed wear snowboots to church with a pair of ballet flats in my bag. Oh yes I also wear lots of scarves in the winter to protect my singing voice and I have had good luck finding silk scarves in my color family on ebay. I also have a variety of coats: a great jacket with a hood, a wool dress coat, and for the inbetween weather a cape. It doesn't rain here much; most of our precipitation is snow so I don't have a raincoat. I have crocheted outdoor scarves in various colors so I don't get bored. My spring scarf which I wear from March to June is my favorite bright green. One thing I really miss is a spring wardrove. It often snows on Easter here even if Easter is in late April. So I try to lighten up the colors of my accessories in those months to make up for having to wear such heavy weight clothes.

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