The other day I looked out the window and saw one of our 20-something aged neighbors shoveling without a hat on. This happens all the time but not when the windchill is -31. That’s crazy cold. That’s even-teenagers-will-wear hats cold.
When I was young I often refused to wear a hat and even went outside with wet hair on mornings when the temperature was below zero. Today the teenage babysitters I hire arrive wearing hardly any outdoor gear. I often warn them ahead of time that they’re going to go outside with my kids. Not sure what’s up with teenagers–maybe they’re truly not cold.
As we all know, the whole country is in a deep freeze, many parts of the country truly aren’t used to these low temps. Before heading outside check out this NPR article called Frostbite Tips for Novices: Skip Whiskey and Shed Your Rings by Nancy Shute. Shute debunks some old wives tales about frostbite and shares a handy NOAA chart about wind chill. Essentially you want to cover all skin with thick layers of insulation. Face masks, scarves, or neck warmers drawn up over the nose will all do. On a -20 degree day I went for a brief cross country ski and thought I’d have to turn around after about 15 minutes because my thumbs were burning. I stopped, pulled my thumbs out of their private compartment, gently warmed them around my hand until they weren’t stinging anymore, and was able to continue on.
Check out this New York “functional fashion” video by Bill Cunningham called Wonderland featuring gorgeous women wearing hoods and hats–his videos are charming. Today, I’ll wear a full face mask underneath my pink faux fur hat and wonder if Bill Cunningham would approve.
I’ll close with a photo of one rugged Portland friend of mine. Tracie Reed is commuting to work on foot or bike all year long. Here’s a photo of her when the wind chill was -29. She’s rocking the faux fur and goggles.
As my grandmother Anne Morgan Beck always says, “There is no such thing as too cold, you just have to dress properly.”
What are you sporting as you get outside?