Monday, 3 December 2012

About staying warm

I came across this men's shearling coat at one of my new favorite flea markets (I have quite a few of those these days - it turns out that flea markets in the Finnish countryside are fan-freakin'-tastic). So here's the thing: the coat is way too big for me, but it is warm. When I say warm, I mean the type of warmth one experiences in front of an open fire. The type that keeps not only your skin warm, but your bones also. The coat cost 6 euros (and for the record, if I had found it at a second hand store in Helsinki, it would have cost ten times as much). I would normally never tell people to buy clothes that are the wrong size, but when it comes to close-to-zero-degrees-Fahrenheit or colder, I'm all for it. When it's cold-cold-cold, one needs layers. And layers are no good if you don't have room for them under your coat. That means it's okay to oversize.

My other tips for staying warm in the winter:

1) Keep your head warm. Don't worry about your hair-do, wear a hat, preferably one with lining.
2) Keep your fingers and toes warm. Wool mittens (or felted ones) and wool socks are the best. Layer them if you need to. Don't forget legwarmers. Invest in a good pair of winter boots.
3) Don't let your bum freeze. Pick a coat that covers your buttocks.
4) About those layers: thermal underwear is key. Good ol' cotton works somewhat, bamboo is better. Wool, alpaca, angora... you might feel a little itchy, but you'll be warm for sure. For athletic purposes, choose wicking gear - it keeps you warm and dry.
5) This is more of a psychological tip: accept the fact that sometimes warmth and health must come before style. It's better to be sensible than to get sick.

Fur is always controversial, but I am going to say something about it anyway. I am including this in this post because there is no denying that fur is warm. It is, believe me. It is warmer than anything else out there - yes, down jackets and heavy-duty sports-gear included. But like we all know, fur comes with a lot of baggage. The animals that were made into coats and hats had a very rough life. Writing about the animals and their treatment in detail is a topic for another blog post altogether, but here's a tip: if you have no problem wearing fur and choose to buy a new fur piece, pay close attention to its country of origin. Don't buy Chinese or Russian fur - the animals are treated much, much worse, and the end product is of much lower quality in those countries than, for example, in the Scandinavian countries. Also, if you buy faux-fur, be warned that there is a chance that it might be real

Stay warm, my friends!


Zuba said...

cold weather has just come here. I'm trying to wear more layers to work, to not get frozen. It is always strange having so many layers on me, I'm slow and big and everything itches.
your countryside looks great!

Gracey at Fashion for Giants said...

Lovely photos. And I love your coat. One of my favorite, warmest coats is a shearling-lined vintage Pendleton coat and it's also a man's coat and too big, but it's great!

Also, regarding fur, I do wear it, but only vintage. I'm not sure that's better, but it really is so warm.

abby said...

beautiful pictures. stay warm!

Hippocampe said...

The temperature does not often drop below 0°C in Paris. Still, as I walk to the office, I have my winter kit ready : duffle-coat, fur hat, shearling gloves worn over silk gloves, knee-high wool socks, thick wool scarf. A pair of wellies to walk in the slush when it (rarely) snows. Won't need the kit till January, though.

I'm amazed by the trees in your last picture, they look like they're made of pinkish white feathers.

(and you're cute as a button with your blue socks&gloves).

The Waves said...

Zuba: I hear you! The weather got really cold here last week, and I'm having a tough time getting adjusted to the thought of months and months of cold from now on...

Gracey: Thanks! Shearling really is wonderful and oversizing is the way to go! :) I agree that vintage fur is better than buying new fur. I believe that if you buy things second hand, you stop creating demand for new manufacturing.

abby: Thank you, and you too! :)

Hippocampe: It was -20 degrees Celcius here today... I am envious of your Parisian temperatures, although winter here is very beautiful. The trees are all frosty, the snow squeaks under one's feet. It's quite something!

Jess said...

Just letting you know that this post has been hugely helpful for me in planning what I'll need to stay warm when I move overseas! I've never lived outside of Australia before, and even though I've holidayed in a few cold places (e.g. Toronto in the middle of winter) I am obviously quite clueless about the day-to-day necessities of staying properly warm in a cold climate.

I mean, I'm only moving to the UK, and I'll be in the south, so I won't really have to contend with temperatures much below zero much of the time. But I've got poor circulation and have never been good with cool temperatures anyway compared to most other people (most other Australians seem to just wear a sweater in winter whereas I'll be wearing a sweater with a cardigan over it and then a wool coat and cashmere scarf, and I'll still feel a bit cold), and with my current wardrobe and winter dressing approach I think it couldn't get much below 15°C before I would feel uncomfortably cold. So I will keep all your suggestions in mind for my overseas move, thank you! :)