A frequently asked question by my readers is what to wear in Interior Alaska in December. This December Lookbook provides outfit inspirations for various weather and dressing situations that you can easily recreate from your own closet with similar items.
- What to pack when you visit Fairbanks in December
- What to wear on a day with Chinook in Central Alaska
- Work outfits for cold weather
- What to wear below 30 below?
- Christmas outfit
- Top of the World Style linkup party No. 235
What to pack when you visit Fairbanks in December
In Interior Alaska, temperatures can change easily 20F (11oC) within a day in December, which makes planning outfits, packing and dressing a challenge. You go to work and your outfit is providing the right insulation. You even don’t bother to chat with someone in the parking lot outside. Then after work, it may be so cold that you can’t wait for your car to heat up. In this post, I show you what I wore and how to create weather appropriate looks. When your visit isn’t a business trip, but to see the aurora check the post at the link to pack for aurora watching.
When you plan to visit the Interior in December, packing for the climate (i.e. the 30-years statistical mean of the weather) may not be the right thing. Instead you have to plan outfits in terms of chic layering so you can cover the full range of temperatures between just below freezing to 40 below or so. When you are lucky to be in Fairbanks at 40 below it’s great for a bikini photo.
Even though 40 below occurs only every 500 days. Since you know that the year has only 365, you see that you can’t build your decisions on statistics. This December, we had 40 below freezing on the 28th in the morning. Thus, 500 days later would be May 12 in the year after next year. Unlikely, right?
What to wear on a day with Chinook in Central Alaska
Fairbanks is located in a horseshoe like huge valley between the White Mountains Range to the north and the Alaska Range to the south. When the wind comes from these directions, the Interior gets a Chinook (Föhn) which means the air will warm up. See this post for an explanation of Chinook.
On such days, temperatures may be around the freezing point. The air is dry. Pantyhose and a loden, pea or duffel coat are just fine. The next photos illustrate what to wear on such a day.
Work outfits for cold weather
Living in the Interior for nearly 20 years, I am certainly adapted to the environment. What Alaskans call “cold” may be extremely cold for someone used to living and dressing in Southeast of the US, for instance. Here I am talking temperatures from -4F to 10F (-20oC to -12.2oC). The outfit below bases on wearing long underwear under the sweater and tights plus a light downcoat or shearling when going outside (not shown).
In the look below, I show an example of a dress as skirt outfit. Looking beyond a pieces original purpose permits you to get more wear out of your wardrobe. This time, I picked a blue sweater to match with the red, blue, black and yellowgreen geometric print dress. I grounded the print with blue suede boots and tights. Since the dress has elbow long sleeves, I skipped long underwear. I wore a half slip underneath the dress for two reasons:
- to avoid the skirt to ride up from friction, which also leads to sparks. See this post for an explanation why clothes release sparks.
What to wear below -30F (-34.4C)?
The following outfits show how to dress when clear long nights lead to radiative cooling and hence trong loss of heat. This happens when the Canadian semi-permanent high pressure systems reaches into Alaska. Under these conditions, a polar air mass forms over the Interior, Yukon Territory, and the Northwest Territories.
Thermal severe cold stress occurs even when you wear long underwear, a shirt plus sweater, double tights and a midi skirt like in the look below.
The cat in the above photos is Celestina. She is 18 and a half years old. She doesn’t like at all that we opened the door to make photos. In the Arctic, taking outfit photos is a great challenge in winter.
In the following winter work outfit, I layered a sweater and denim jacket, two pairs of tights, long sleeve v-neck
Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.
When going outside, a thick down coat that is best for this climate zone is a must. I found this floral beauty a couple of years ago.
No matter whether it is “just cold” or below -30F or so, the right footwear is key to avoid cold feet at frigid temperatures. These shearling booties with insole work fine when I only have to walk from the parking lot to the building and don’t have to wait longer than 10 minutes for the campus shuttle.
The business casual work look below shows another inspiration how to layer with a jacket.
I hope it is cold enough for you today. - Alaska saying #quote Click To Tweet
The next December look features another business casual winter outfit. The combination of red and brown is not as stark a contrast as red and black. The latter color combination can have some sultry vibe. Red and brown looks more professional, may be even a bit European.
Red plus brown is the new red plus black. #fashiontrends Click To Tweet
Like these outfit ideas? If so, please feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.
The outerwear look in the next photo keeps the red-brown color theme enhanced with a red tote. Tan is added as a third color with the headband. In December, covering the ears is an urgent need in Interior Alaska. Always try to also cover the earrings. They get cold fast and once you take your outerwear off, long, cold earrings hurt when they touch your neck. 😉 Think of it as a similar pain to that caused by earrings that got hot in the sauna and touch your skin.
Now what I wore Christmas: Black long sleeve Tee (not visible, a leather dress, half slip, double tights, and a sequin front jacket for some festive glam. My husband gave me the black and white necklace as a gift for Christmas. A real statement piece.
For a guide on making nice Christmas outfits see the post at the link.
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239th Top of the World Style linkup party
Welcome to the Top of the Worldstyle linkup party.
Here are the featured posts from last week’s party.
Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav
Rebecca became the Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. She blogs at Rebecca Tries Trousers. Don’t her legs look great in these faux leather pants? Stunning!
Photos of me: G. Kramm
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