January 20, 2012

A crash course in layering for those who moved from mild winters to NYC with no idea what the hell they were getting into...

Fall and winter have always been my favorite seasons.  I love the foliage, walking through piles of leaves, and eventually peeing in the snow (only guys can understand how much fun it is).  That being said, I've only ever experienced a North Carolina winter.  For instance, right now in my hometown (Magnolia, NC - Google it, you'll find nothing) it's 53° F, and it "feels like" 53°.  Here in New York it's 30° F, and "feels like" 21°.  Last week there was a day when the high was 17°.

I'm okay with cold!  In fact, I'm quite fond of it.  The problem is, I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK TO WEAR.  A two-piece bikini could probably do a better job at retaining body heat than my "heavy winter coats".  I would love to run to UNIQLO like everyone and their mother and their dog to grab some HeatTech, but that is for people who make more than nine not-so-big-ones an hour.

My only solution was to put on everything I own!  Here's what happened:

It was 28° when I took these pictures on the roof (which I obviously still suck at... DEAL WITH IT!) and by the end I lost three pounds in sweat.  Conclusion: layering really does keep you warm and you don't have to worry about that extra bowl of chips and black bean dip you just ate.


Take whatever clothes you find on the floor of your wardrobe that don't smell too musky (i.e. your everyday outfit) and put something under it.  In my case, I put a pair of thermal tights under my jeans, and a long-sleeve t-shirt under my favorite tank top.  Also, I put on an extra pair of socks over the tights.  This can be precarious, because if I don't wear socks over the tights my feet will be freezing, but with the socks they radiate heat similar to a nuclear reaction.  I choose to simply dump mounds of foot powder (my favorite is T For Toes) on my feet and let the atomic fusion begin, but I think most people would just rather have nippy feet than damp socks.

Jeans from Target; tights on clearance from Century 21 (and fuck everyone
who didn't tell me about C21 before now); long-sleeve T from Target; tank from
Forever 21; shoes are Jeffery Campbell
Step 2 - Warm, cozy, and form-fitting

I like the next few layers to be close to the body to produce more heat, using fabrics that feel like bunnies and don't let the wind cut through.  My favorite solution is a big sweatshirt or sweater with a jacket over top.  It will give you the sensation of being hugged by Totoro.  Which is amazing.

I got this sweatshirt from Forever 21 a few years ago in NC, and I LOVE
the high collar.  It actually has two layers on the torso, so it's super
This was the first leather jacket I ever bought.  I found it in a huge
pile of crap at Nordstrom Rack in Durham the weekend it opened.  Three
years later it's super broken-in and protects me from the wind like no other.
My hair looks good in this one.
Step 3 - A loose, thick, heavy outer-layer.

This will be your blanket.  In fact, I'm not sure blanket would be a bad idea.  I rock a poncho.  Remember all those gift certificates I won on Halloween?  One of them was $200 at Diesel.  I KNOW!  I finally discovered there was a Diesel half a block from my job in Union Square, so I stopped in and found this knit poncho on the 50% off rack.  It's insanely heavy and warm, and I adore the massive hood.  It billows in the wind and makes me feel like a Ring Wraith.

Black knit poncho - Diesel

Step 4 - The toppings.

You'll want to finish off with some gloves and scarves and hats or hoods.  This massive circle scarf I got from H&M last year has served me very well.  I tuck it into the collar of my sweat shirt and around the hood to lock it in place.  I lost my black fingerless gloves (TRAGEDY), so I've been wearing these leopard print dudes I've had for years but for some reason have never worn.  They are actually too warm sometimes and I have to take them off to give my hands some air.

Circle scarf - H&M; Gloves - Target

And now you're successfully toasty!

The good thing about wearing billions of layers is that you can take some off or add more on as you need.  Obviously.  I think once the weather gets to its worse point (because I keep getting told this "isn't bad at all") I'll add another coat under the poncho.  I'll look pretty puffy, but that's the magic of a poncho - it hides everything.  Which means I'm going to eat some more bean dip with extra-extra cheese.




  1. You're amazing! I can't stand the 30 degrees it is in Monroe right now, so I'm heading to Savannah tomorrow!! Also, I'm in a poncho now, but am only wearing a tank top under it because I didn't want to be too hot...yeah...Hope all is well <3 YOU!!! :D

  2. I hate the cold and I love it at the same time because well it's effin freezin but I also get to wear pretty sweaters and blazers and boots. Your layering is functional but also looks rad, great job!

  3. Bless you for referencing Totoro and LOTR in the same post.

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