How to dress right for the winter weather?

A man with proper cloth for the winter.

Eels, eagles and elephants representatives of sea, air and land animals have no need for clothing.

Their bodies are adequately provided with protective covering against the elements of their respective environments.

And well it is for them that they have no need of clothing; they certainly would be unable to provide it for themselves.

We humans, however, are different. We have the capacity for designing and making clothes for many purposes, and for the great variety of conditions under which we live.

Yes, we need clothing for more than one good reason.

Even in the hottest weather we need clothing for the sake of modesty—to pacify our sense of shame.

Another purpose served by clothing—it gives us confidence by enhancing our appearance.

But a principal reason why people in many parts of the earth need clothing right now is to protect their bodies from the cold.

The big question for them is, how to dress right for the cold weather?

What kind of underwear?


Let us start with the clothing closest to the body. It is reasonable to wear warmer undergarments in the winter than in the summer even if you do not feel the need for it. Why?

Because the heart must work harder to keep the body warm in winter, and warmer clothing saves it added work.

Of course, if you work in a heated room or office all day you will not want to wear the same kind of underwear that the postman spending his whole day outside wears.

But what kind should it be if you must be out in the cold? Simply wearing heavier underwear may not be the best solution.

For example, it is better to wear two light cotton-and-wool garments than one very heavy all-wool garment. Why?

Because of the air between the garments. Dead air is a poor conductor of heat.

That is the advantage of what is called “thermal underwear.” It has a waffle knit that traps air within its layers.

Still another type of garment that employs this principle is that with the “Brynje mesh.”

However, instead of trapping the dead air within its layers, it traps the air next to the skin. How does it do this? By its fishnet design; it is something like mesh hosiery.

For very cold winter weather there is also quilted underwear, but it is rather bulky.

What about Outer Clothing?


Among the things to remember about outer clothing, when dressing for cold weather, is that dark-colored clothing is warmer than light-colored clothing.

Dark colors absorb the heat of the sun; white or light colors repel it. Wear light colors in the summer to keep cool; but wear dark colors in the winter to keep warm.

Soft-finished clothing, such as flannels, cheviots and tweeds, have much to recommend them if you are faced with a dry, calm cold.

But when it comes to protecting yourself from sleet and snow and a driving wind, then clothing with a hard finish, such as a worsted or a sharkskin, will serve you best.

It will not only keep the wind from blowing through but also make it less likely that wet snow will cling to your clothes.

With outer garments also the principle applies that two thin garments are better than one heavy one. Not necessarily two separate garments, but perhaps garments that are lined.

Some topcoats have a removable lining—ideal for comfort, convenience and warmth, and also for economy.

A lining can be plain or quilted, depending upon the degree of cold with which you must contend. Or you might find that as an added garment a thin sweater or a knitted vest will keep you warm.

A cashmere sweater for this purpose—if you can afford one—is tops for warmth and has a minimum of bulk. Otherwise, a thin or medium-thick woolen sweater will do.

Dressing right for cold weather also includes giving thought to collars and cuffs of coats and jackets.

They should fit rather snugly to keep the warm air from escaping. Wearing a shawl or scarf around the neck is also the course of prudence.

But, remember, you defeat your purpose if your clothing fits too tightly.

The Head, Hands and Feet


Many neglect to wear a head covering in cold weather, but that is a mistake. The blood does not recede from the skull because of the cold, so much blood is chilled when the head is exposed.

The knitted stocking type of cap has much to recommend it, and so does the cap with a provision for protecting the ears.

Smart, popular and very practical are the Russian types of fur or imitation-fur hats.

When the winter is very severe, it is also wise to protect the mouth and nose with a shawl, or a face mask that has openings for the eyes and nose.

What about the hands?

While some unlined gloves may look stylish, in cold weather they may cause the hands to be colder than if one wore no gloves at all; especially would that be the case if the gloves fit tightly.

For keeping the hands warm, lined gloves are best—lined with either wool, fur or imitation fur. But here again, get gloves that are large enough. 

If your gloves fit too tightly they will interfere with the circulation in your hands and so you will have cold hands in spite of your wearing lined gloves.

Mittens, of course, are the warmest of all. If you wish, you may be able to get some that have not only the thumb but also the index finger in separate sheaths.

The big problem with gloves or mittens is to have them as warm as needed and yet let them permit you to do things with your hands.

There is also the very important matter of keeping the feet warm.

The feet, being the farthest away from the heart, are the most likely to get cold.

Here again it must be noted that two pairs of thin socks or hose will be warmer than one heavy pair.

And in wearing more than one pair, let the first pair, next to the skin, be of cotton, and the next or outer pair be of wool.

But bear in mind that if your wearing heavy or added socks unduly squeezes your feet you are no better off.

If need be, get a pair of shoes just a little large, for use with the added hose in the winter. It need not be an added expense. Your shoes will simply last longer.

If there is much snow on the ground, be sure to keep your feet dry. In some places, rubbers or overshoes are used.

Elsewhere, certain shoes are specially made for such weather. To help protect your shoes, keep them well polished.

In fact, it would be well to put on several layers of shoe polish as a kind of waterproofing measure.

And if you do get your shoes wet, stuff them with crumpled-up paper and let them dry out gradually. Do not keep them close to the heat.

Avoid over heating yourself


Do not overdo in the matter of keeping warm. This is a point that mothers need to watch in connection with young children.

Authorities agree that it is best to keep oneself a little on the cool side.

Overheating can cause as much harm as too much cold.

When you find yourself getting rather warm, loosen your outer garments or remove some of them.

In this regard it is a good habit to listen to the weather forecast on radio or TV so as to learn what the temperature is outside; then dress accordingly.

From the foregoing it is apparent that dressing right for cold weather is largely a matter of using good judgment based on your own and others’ experiences.

Other Factors


The body itself does what it can to meet the challenge of cold weather both by shivering and by stepping up the metabolic processes.

This the body does by pouring more adrenaline into the blood.

Interestingly, women show a greater increase in metabolic activity and lose 10 percent less heat when exposed to the cold than do men.

Obviously, a well-nourished body can withstand the cold better than can a poorly nourished one. So choose wholesome, nourishing food, being sure to get enough vitamins and minerals.

Another factor to consider is that activity can help you to keep warm. The more you keep active the less urgent will be your need for very warm clothing. To keep warm in cold weather walk briskly, but do not overdo.

Yes, how you dress, what you take into your body and your physical activity all have a bearing on the success of your efforts to keep warm when the weather is cold.

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