Growing up here in the New Orleans area, you’d think I’m accustomed to mild winters. Fall down here is just a quaint notion, one that comes from a brain soaked with humidity in desperate need of some crisp cool air. I’m not one to obsess over the weather, but I get antsy in anticipation of consistently nippy days. Unfortunately, we all know drinking pumpkin spice lattes while wearing shorts is inevitable, but with a little careful planning you can make sure you are dressed for Mother Nature’s most erratic behavior by planning ahead on a daily basis.
Here’s my mitten-full of tips:
Unless you want to get stuck in a wooly jail when the sun comes out, stick to wearing clothes you can peel off. My test is if I take the dog out for a walk around the block and I come home sweating, then I’m overdressed. A solid color fitted t-shirt or tank top makes for a good base layer. I then add a blouse or thin sweater over it, and grab a jacket that I can leave at work or in the car should the temperature drop.
Wearing flip flops and a fleece jacket is sort of weird. Stick to close-toed shoes. If it rains, it’s going to get cold and nothing is worse than pinky toe frostbite.
When the weather is this nice, I take advantage and bike to work as much as I can. Jackets, gloves, and hats can really take the bite out of a cold ride home. If you don’t feel like lugging that much gear, think about getting a set of pannier bags. That way, you can stash your scarf and mittens and still have them handy when the sun goes down if you are planning on being out late. And it goes without saying to never leave any bike accoutrements unattended. Lock them up or bring them with you.
I love taking a hot shower when it’s nippy outside, but my skin tends to dry out from the lack of moisture and excessive heat. Splurge a little with a good lotion so you won’t have to deal with painfully cracked hands. Bonus points: Sweet Olive Soap Company makes a good body butter that lasts a long time. I also like Savannah Bee Company’s hand balm, available online.
I love hardwood floors, but every winter I suddenly realize why people get carpet. Invest in a good pair of fleece lined slippers, or thick wool socks as a good alternative.
Pack up anything overtly summer-y, such as a white cotton eyelet dress or seersucker pants, and store them away for next year. That said, I never quite send my entire warm weather wardrobe a bon voyage until March. We all know that it’s going to get hot again, so leave out lighter weight pieces in neutral fabrics. This way, you don’t have to sort through a sea of pastel ties or floral dresses that aren’t going to match your darker, cold weather clothes.
Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.