Warm Winters

Way back in my first winter in Massachusetts I commuted by car. It sorta went like this:

Warm Winters

It was easy to never be dressed for weather. And easy to misplace things like gloves.

Once I moved into the city that changed. Even before I started biking I found myself walking an average of 4 miles a day to get to public transit and everywhere in in between. It was horribly cold. Then I realized the weather wasn’t bad. My clothing was. All my disposable fashion was just that, disposable.

However, it’s not always easy to find good winter wear these days:

Warm Winters

I suspect many fashion designers are drivers. And live in Los Angeles. They’re not designing for my lifestyle.

I need functional fashion. And it doesn’t have to look like this:

Warm Winters

There are some warmer winter options out there if you really look. I still make sure to pay attention to the details:

Warm Winters

Because there is a difference between looking warm and being warm.

So after several winters in the city I have finally built up a quality winter wardrobe of quality winter items and approach that works for me:

Warm Winters

Winter is much warmer now. And I no longer lose my gloves.

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45 Responses to “Warm Winters”

  • traffic cyclist

    Interestingly, I’ve noticed that my winter street-wear have evolved over the years to mirror my winter bike-wear: now everything is sleek and form-fitting, with no bulk to restrict movement on the street or on the bike.

  • Charlie

    Old school wool knickers – and I don’t mean bike knickers. I mean knickerbockers, sometimes called plus 4s. I have several pair, matched with wool sweaters. The knickers can be hard to find but worth the money.

  • Kevin Love

    I live car-free in Toronto. Yes, it has been known to get a little bit cold in Canada.

    The amount of clothes that I have bought for winter cycling is exactly zero. I simply dress the same way that I would for any other outdoor activity. Activities such as going to the park, watching a hockey game or the Santa Claus parade with my kids or anything else that I am doing outside.

    Indeed, for going to work I require less clothing since cycling is mild exercise that generates some warmth.

    It seems to me that the same logic also applies to Boston or other milder climates. Why not just wear the exact same clothes as for any other outdoors activity?

    • dr2chase

      Ah, Kevin, did you not notice the first two panels at the top? Around here, people wear cars for their outdoors winter activities.

  • As someone who has been commuting in the Cambridge/Somerville area for the last 5 years, I’d add my vote for layers. Over time, I’ve converged on a way to decide roughly when I need the extra clothing. This would vary from person to person depending on the length of the commute and tolerance to cold and wind, but my thresholds tend to be:

    Above 50F: Normal work clothes.
    40-50F: add simple skullcap underneath helmet, put on one extra layer or sweater.
    30-40: add gloves, thermals and good windcheating jacket (balaclava when windy).
    20-30: add balaclava, and heavier gloves
    10-20: consider wimping out and taking the T :-)

  • Krista

    My transition to the cool north was very similar. Now that I figured out the clothing, it rarely feels cold (very windy days being the notable exception).

    I also found wool to be the solution for me. Some of my first choices were synthetic, and the moment I began to sweat, they stank something awful. I noticed my wool items did not so I purchased more of them.

    Uniqlo has many inexpensive 100% wool options. My favorite is a merino/cashmere blend ($30 midweight). I also wear my thin merino tops a lot ($20-30 lightweight) as middle layer in winter or outer layer in fall/spring.

    The odor resistance is nothing short of amazing. Even if I get quite sweaty, I drape it over the clothes rack to air out and the next day you wouldn’t even know it was worn. I wear them multiple times between washings. Then I hand wash in the sink, roll with a towel, and place on the drying rack. I don’t consider it high maintenance.

    And I would be really lost without the plush wool blend hiking socks that I wear throughout the cold months. They are the only ones I’ve tried that are comfy both outdoors and indoors.

  • Awesome, awesome, awesome. Definitely lovin’ this. I really have to get myself a better scarf! It’s so short I can only tie it in a knot around my neck and hope it doesn’t come undone. No extra slack hanging down like your giant.

  • Ethan Fleming

    Im feeling good. I just got a brand new neon orange jacket this year.

  • that picture is so true i get some really funny looks from the police.

  • Love this.

    I think I always felt colder during winter when I lived in North Carolina due to being underdressed/dressing for riding in a car. Shivering in 40 degrees – ha!

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