1.13.2015

HOW TO DRESS FOR A NEW YORK CITY WINTER

I have a system when it comes to winter coats. Depending on the decade of degrees outside (you know, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties), and varying based on the level of activity I'll be attempting, while also taking into account humidity, wind chill, and cloud cover. It is highly scientific. I hang my coats in cold-level order in my lockers. I have complicated IF HAT / THEN SCARF algorithms. I even made you a cool chart!
(Not kidding you, I've been saying for years that somebody was going to make a temperature/coat chart for me and that it would change my life, and now look! I was the one that did it! This feels like a Harry Potter Patronus Time Travel Moment. Yes? It was me all along!)

See, in New York you live and you die by your outerwear. It is not cut and dried, either. It is fully possible to stand outside for just a few hours on Thanksgiving morning when it's 55 degrees out in a warm coat and gloves and still freeze to death. It is entirely likely that, on a 20-degree day, you could comfortably spend an entire afternoon walking around and not even flirt with frostbite. 

And now I will impart unto you everything I have learned in my 4+ years of all-weather bipedal transportation.

***
60-45 Degrees F
Chilly
Jacket weather! Denim, Leather, Light Wool, Cotton
Scarf? Hat? Sure. Decorative mostly. Likely you'll get over warm.
I RECOMMEND /
one | two | three | four | five | six
***
45-30 Degrees F
Cold

Layers with your leather, woolens under your woolens.
I RECOMMEND /
one |  two three
PLUS RAIN /
one | two | three | four
***
30-20 Degrees F
Pretty Damn Cold
You need a hat. And a coat that isn't messing around. 
I RECOMMEND /
one | two | three | four | five  
***
20 F or Below
DEFCON Level Midnight Freezing
We're talking Full Body Mummy Puffer here.
I RECOMMEND /
one | two | three | four | five | six | seven
***
Any Colder Than That
What the hell are you thinking!? Just don't go outside!
***

Other NYC Winter-Ready tips:
HeatTech
This stuff is magic. You get it at Uniqlo. It makes the best long-sleeved undershirt, and their gloves are the only gloves I ever buy.

Do I Really Need A Scarf?
Probably not. In all my years of winter dressing, the scarf has always been my most fashionable yet most awkward to carry around when I overheat element.

Talk To Me About Socks
Don't make the mistake of leaving the house in ankle socks. On a real cold day, trouser socks are suicide. Wool, wool, wool. Wool!

The Importance of Moisturizers
My hands get so wrecked here in the winter. You're gonna wanna to ride the subway, you're gonna wanna use the hand sanitizer. You're gonna wanna use the hand sanitizer? There are so many great options, our fall-back is always this one. I shove a tube into every bag, pocket, you name it. Also good on chapped lips + cheeks in a pinch.

The Ear / Chin Conundrum
When attempting to travel light on an iffy-level day, and you're unsure how cold you may or may not get, remember this: at least one of these face parts must be equipped for warmth. Which one you choose? Ah. That is the question. (I always choose ears.)

Don't Bother With That Umbrella
Hooded rain slicker or you're soaked.

lazy blogger's photo credit: all via pinterest

34 comments :

  1. This is so great! The timing is perfect, I am traveling to NYC next week and was racking my brain trying to figure out how to dress and not freeze my ass off, which I have done so many times in New York!!. I'm off to check the weather and decide what items I need.
    By the way your chart rocks...

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  2. This is amazing! Like might actually print it off and put in the coat cupboard amazing!

    http://kathrynlouisasutton.wordpress.com

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  3. I used to swear by Nutrogena Norwegian Formula. And then I discovered Weleda Skin Food! A bit of a price jump, but worth it as there are no petrochemicals.

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    Replies
    1. @Miss Lynzie: I used to swear by the Norwegian Formula, too! But you're right -- also, parabens abound! Just last weekend, I discovered LUSH's Dream Cream...and I'm in heaven. :-) I'll have to check out Weleda Skin Food next!

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  4. hi natalie,i think your coat chart is superb cool!!!! and i love every pictures attached in this post..every girls seem so fashionista in their winter coats

    xo joselovincolors
    www.joselovincolors.com

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  5. this is amazing. coming to the city this weekend, and will likely dress entirely wrong.

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  6. Love this! Totally useful for Canadians as well :)

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  7. This is PERFECT, bc I'm taking a trip to NYC this weekend! Any suggestions on what to wear if I'm planning to A- do a session at the Manhattan Temple, B- then spend the day touristing, followed by C- seeing Hugh Jackman on Broadway at night? I have to be dressed up... Yet I want to be warm... Do I wear my Bean boots (http://bit.ly/1wXJTkA) all day or my pretty leather boots? Oh, the conundrum! (No, but seriously... Any tips on dressing up while being outside all day are welcome! Please and thank you!) And oh, gosh, I 100% agree on the ears. It is MISERABLE when your ears are cold during East coast winters...

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    1. Can you run to the hotel and change before the Broadway show? If I were you I'd wear Bean boots or something I wouldn't mind beating up a little during the day, because there is road salt and leftover snow on the street. But Bean boots might be too chunky and look out of place at a show.

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    2. Hi, Anna. Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately, no. :-/ We're staying in Brooklyn, so once we're in Manhattan, we're staying there for the day. Ha. I sound so spoiled. :P "What should I wear to Broadway??" Lol. A first world problem if ever I had one. :)

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  8. Hey Natalie, did you know Uniqlo are pretty darned unethical - http://bit.ly/1DVbas ? Saddens me as I agree some of their clothes are so good!

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  9. Where I am, it's seven degrees right now so I'm loving these tips -Hanna Lei

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  10. Oooh! This is probably one of the most realistic guides to east coast winters that I've seen. I LOVE your picks!

    xo
    Rachel

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  11. Unless you grew up in Texas then just skip right to the bottom of the chart for anything under 55 degrees. And proceed to walk around desperately chanting "misery!" under your breathe. Or is that just me? ;)

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    Replies
    1. Nope, I was thinking the exact same thing. Just sub in "the South" for Texas.

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  12. love this post! so many great pieces.

    www.amoderngypsy.blogspot.com

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  13. I love this! I'm always struggling for warm yet stylish winter ideas, I always seem to be too cold or look like a s little snowman!

    http://maijasblog.blogspot.co.uk

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  14. Ooh I like this guide!

    https://itsjpei.wordpress.com/

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  15. This is so helpful! I'm headed to NYC in Feb and I had no clue!
    Tegan xx - Permanent Procrastination

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  16. This is amazing! I live in Chicago and I have to find that perfect winter jacket for when it gets into the negatives and it's hard. This chart is great for people who live in colder climates and can't stand the cold!

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  17. As a Berliner, I hear you on the varying levels of mind-numbing cold. I swear by HeatTech (upgrade to Smartwool underthings when it's arctic), wool socks (Wigwams are the ultimate) and thick hand cream (buy Neutrogena Norwegian in bulk), but I must disagree on the scarf. I'd be lost without my thick ones to wrap around my neck, covering my nose and lips from the icy wind. Well worth the hassle once I head in somewhere warm!

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  18. I like these bundle of layers

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  19. THIS IS SO HELPFUL. I've lived in Austin, Texas all my life and I hope to move to Boston or NYC for college in a few months, and after hearing about this freak snowstorm on the east coast, I realized that I had no clue how to dress for super cold weather (it was literally 75 degrees and sunny today. 75 degrees! in January!!!)

    This post seriously saved my life. Now I know I won't freeze to death in NYC!

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  20. I'm from Puerto Rico. My sister and I are planning a trip to NY next year for christmas. I think our lowest temperature is lows 70° and I feel like I am freezing. The temp here is 90°-102° and I'm so worried about what I should wear since I am not adapt to that weather aND I have very low tolerance to cold.

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  21. Me and my partner are coming over to NYC on January 13th 2016, I am literally so excited I might burst!! The figuring out what to wear has been a little nightmare, we have our thermal under t-shirts and long johns (thermal pants for under jeans), but we are not quite sure what to pack with us. Is it going to snow? rain? sunny? freeze to death? what do you feel is the most likely option? shoes are my main priority! Any help would be grateful!

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  22. Thanks! I am going to New york tomorrow and this helps!

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  23. This page is a blessing in disguise. Thank you!

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  24. Going to NY in 2 weeks.
    Trying to pack my cloth, so hard when its boiling hot here and you have the aircon on. Im from Australia

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  25. Going to NY in 2 weeks.
    Trying to pack my cloth, so hard when its boiling hot here and you have the aircon on. Im from Australia

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  26. Going to NY in 2 weeks.
    Trying to pack my cloth, so hard when its boiling hot here and you have the aircon on. Im from Australia

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  27. Hi all! If you want to know how to also dress your baby for the cold winter and still look as fashionable as the cool mom you are, please check www.laloandgiu.com
    You will fall in love!

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  28. Hi all! How about how to dress your baby in the cold?? Check us out at laloandgiu.com and you´ll get amazing ideas.

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  29. Hi Natalie,

    From newyorker to newyorker; I think that you will love this business that is launching now. Wanted you and your followers to be amongst the first ones to know!

    Search for laloandgiu.com for european style stroller accesories such as footmuffs, diaper bags and mittens perfect for the NY winter.

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  30. Hi NAtalie, I m from Argentina. in December I'll go to spend the holidays in New York and wanted to know what kind of shoes you recommend buying. What are the brands that you recommend prune ? In Argentina in winter they are used many Uggs but I think that is not the case in New York

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