At below -20F layering is key
January is the coldest month in the Interior. While on statistical average -40F only occur every 500 days, it doesn’t get that cold every year. We had it this year. Before that the Last time was winter 2016/17. No wonder that the -40F/C cause a traffic jam at the UAF temperature display each time it happens. Not everyone wants their pitcure taken in a bikini at 40 below, but just in indoor clothes looks also already scary. Yes, it’s biting cold.
Whenever the temperatures get below -20F (-28.9oC), layering clothes is key to feel comfortable when outside. It starts with the underwear. Bra is a must at any temperature. Then a long sleeve T-shirt under a cashmere or wool sweater. Sometimes I go for a cardigan under a cardigan. A blouse under the jacket would be just too chilly. I try to put the look together in such a way that I can pull the uppermost piece off and still are dressed work appropriate. Inside it can be too warm for the combination of long shirt, cardigan over cardigan or long T-shirt under a heavy, thick wool or chasmere knit sweater.
Wearing skirts in winter
I have to admit I am a skirt/dress kind of gal. I always was. To be comfortable when the air outside is less than -20F, I double my tights. Usually, I go for a flanel pair underneath a thiner pair. The flanel has little air pockets and a thin air layer provides good isolation. The second pair is usually a size larger than I would need. This way the knit doesn’t stretch so much. Consequently, the loops stay small. The air captured adds further isolation.
I go for a thick fabric skirt like this cable knit midi skirt. Underneath is a half slip.
Insoles are a must
When you are a regular reader, you may already know how I learned to avoid cold feet at frigid temperatures. Here the link to the post in case you missed it. While insoles provide isolation from the super cold ground, keeping your feet dry is as important. Such I take my boots off at work and wear pumps. Full disclosure, when you look under my desk, you may think it’s a shoe closet.
Dress as skirt
A shirt dress can be worn under a skirt and sweater as a blouse. My sheaths often do double duty as skirts as well. When it gets really, really cold, long Jones with pants and a knit dress are the last resort (before avoiding the cold weather by just staying inside).
Doubling the outerwear
When you are a regular reader you know that I am all in favor of styling outerwear. A blanket or Russian scarf over a coat not only looks incredibly stylish, it also adds some extra insolation – namely the scarf itself and the air between the scarf and coat. When it’s so cold that the blanket scarf fails to do the trick, I wear a cape over the coat like I did at -22F (-30oC).
Clothes provide isolation, but don’t warm
There is something to the saying “that coat keeps me warm.” It hints at the fact that all the clothing does is to “sabotage” the heat exchange between your body and the ambient air. Like the inside of a house quickly gets cold when the furnice fails at below freezing temperatures, there is a point that you will feel cold despite of all that fabric. In other words, layering only slows your loss of body heat down.
Avoid to sweat
The danger of layering is that you start to sweat. Avoid to sweat! Open the zipper when needed. Getting wet is the worst that can happen. The moisture will freeze eventually. A recipe to hypothermia. When you are visiting the Arctic in winter to see the aurora read this post on what to pack for Alaska aurora watching.
When you want dressing tips for all kind of situations in midlife, buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.
What do you wear when the Polar vortex is in town? What are your tricks to be comfortable? Just curious.
P.S. Like these outfit inspirations? Then please pin them to your own Pinterest board so your friends, family, and colleagues can see them too.
Top of the World Style linkup
Glad to see you at the 191th Top of the World Style linkup party. Welcome!
You clicked Martina Berg’s post the most, which means she is the Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. She is the style blogger at Lady 50 Plus. She wore a blush winter coat over jacquard pants with pumps. Gray, black and blush look fabulous together. Don’t you think so?
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Photos: G. Kramm
© 2013-2019 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved
This Post Has 14 Comments
Thanks for the feedback and compliment.
I find Ireland cold at the moment and we are not even near freezing, but there is a North wind that would cut you in half. I love your stylish outfits in such extreme temperatures. You rock them.
Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it!
I just love your style! You are rocking it at -40°! That snake skin skirt is just so awesome! And I love all the great information about layering and the importance of staying dry! Fantastic post!
Ich bin ein Fan vom Layering Look. So kann man seine Sommerkleidung fast das ganze Jahr über tragen.
Liebe Grüße Sabine
You look so cozy warm in that first picture!
You layer so well! I can’t imagine it ever being that cold, I don’t think I’d own enough layers to combat that cold, it never drops to freezing here in Brisbane, haha!
Thank you so much for joining the #weekdayWearLinkUp this week 🙂
Hope that your week is going well 🙂 Still so hot and humid here with the heatwave!
I can’t imagine those temperatures and the challenges. Very interesting reading about letting out swear and risk of hypothermia.
I can’t even fathom what -20F feels like! Not only are you brave, but I love that you still care about being stylish in those temperatures!
That’s a good idea to layer two pairs of tights under each other, especially one with fleece! Love that warm look with the purple top, the fur scarf & leather pants!
Ich finde es so schön, dass Du trotz der arktischen Temperaturen in Alaska gerne Kleider und Röcke trägst, liebe Nicole! Da ich ja selbst ein “Kleider- oder Rockmädchen” bin, gefallen mir die Outfits wieder unheimlich gut. Mein Favorit ist diesmal der Look mit dem snake print skirt.
Den Trick mit den doppelten Strumpfhosen wende ich übrigens auch immer wieder einmal an 😉
Liebe Grüße aus Wien, Nadine
Great tips on layering and staying warm! You look so pretty in the purple top. 🙂
Many great tips, Nicole! We have been hovering between -30 and -40 this past week with wind chills. I have no outfit photos as a result! Now today it is 41 and raining with a big old snow storm coming through this evening. Layering is key when you live where we do!
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