It’s time for a rethink when it comes to winter dressing. Stephanie Smith has advice on finding the perfect outdoor style.
There’s a cold spell on its way, make no mistake. Maybe not this week, maybe not next, but one thing’s for sure – sooner or later, the weather’s going to get you.
This year, however, will be very different, I say. When the snow falls and the ice bites, we will not find ourselves in the same chaotic mess that we were in last year, with schools closed and traffic at a standstill. Or, if we do, we will at least not look like a down-and-out as we dig out our cars and attempt bracing walks through the chilled and weather-beaten countryside.
Part of the problem of dressing for cold conditions lies in those layers we are always being told about. A thermal vest, a long-sleeve top, a cardigan – and that’s before we even step out of the front door. Finding a coat that looks good over all that lot can be a challenge. It’s all very well to look at pictures of models in studios, looking all stream-lined and elegant as they show off the latest coat ranges, but what happens to the lines when you try to get a woolly knit under there?
I am really struggling this winter, as I have two coats, neither of which does the job properly.
I have one padded longer coat, quite slim-fitting and with a belt – warm in itself, but not for arctic conditions and not roomy enough to accommodate chunky knits underneath. Plus there is no hood.
Then I have a lighter, water-proof, hooded parka style, which is fine for tramping the fields on breezy days, but not for when it’s really freezing. I can get knits under it, as it is loose-fitting, but not long ones, and I like my long cardis on a chilly day.
So, this year, I have decided to have a bit of a rethink and am casting my winter eye over what the more outdoorsy companies, such as Rohan, have to offer.
Rohan started in Skipton, North Yorkshire, in the 1970s and soon started kitting out mountaineers and polar explorers, so it knows its stuff when it comes to dressing for extreme conditions.
It’s well worth a look, even for those of us who don’t feel the need to take on landscape and elements every weekend and holiday. There are coats and jackets that look just as good in the town as they do in the country, while offering benefits such as proper weather protection and lots of useful pockets and gadget holders.
Don’t forget your legs when you go out into the cold. Both polyester trousers and denim jeans are less than ideal when it’s cold and wet, sticking to your legs and offering little warmth. Far better to wear woolly or thick cotton leggings with tights underneath. Mint Velvet has cotton leggings with ruched ankles (so smart enough for work on cold days) for £15 a pair).
Finally, footwear. Forget shoes and boots without grip (I have learned my lesson).Look for ones with a thick tread and buy large enough to wear thermal socks under.