Keeping Warm

There have been some pretty cold temperatures this winter. I have a heavy, down coat I only wear if it is colder than -20, and a lighter but warm Columbia jacket with a lining that I wear most of the winter. Sweaters help.

I am the happy owner of three Norwegian wool sweaters, a really warm wool sweater daughter got for me in Iceland, and a thick, cable knit Irish wool sweater I got in Dublin. They all keep me nicely warm.

I went to graduate school Winnipeg, and lived there through six winters. Although I was used to cold Fargo temperatures, the winters in Winnipeg were much colder. The main reason for Winnipeg’s existence was the fur trade, and as an animal lover, it was disconcerting to go to what was known as The Exchange District and see all the stores selling fur coats and fur pelts, retail and wholesale. I could never in good conscience wear a fur coat. Wool and down keep me warm enough.

The only person I knew in Winnipeg who owned a fur coat was Vuyo, a fellow graduate student who was a refugee from South Africa. This was before the end of Apartheid. Her husband was a freedom fighter who had been killed by the South African security forces, and she had fled to Lesotho with her children and somehow ended up in one of the coldest cities in Canada. Her father was an Anglican priest, and she knew Desmond Tutu very well. She had a beautiful leopard coat she got from a friend in London, England. The friend was verbally harassed in the London streets for wearing fur, so she gave Vuyo the coat. Vuyo wore that coat without a shred of guilt, as it kept her very warm in that very cold place. She had a far different attitude about animals and their utility for humans than the rest of us did.

What is your strategy for keeping warm in the winter? What are your favorite kinds of sweaters? Have you ever known anyone who had a fur coat?

49 thoughts on “Keeping Warm”

  1. I see that all of Minnesota and the eastern half of North Dakota are in a windchill advisory or warning. Out west we are expecting highs in the upper 30’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sweaters? Never heard of such a thing. I can’t stand the restrictive feeling at my neck and my arms. I was going to say itchy, but I know you will all tell me not all sweaters are itchy. 😉

    I always used to grow a beard in the winter time. The first day of this cold spell, I hadn’t shaved in a couple days and wondered if it would be worth not shaving for another week. But ultimately it wasn’t going to be enough anyway, so I took a hot shower. and shaved.

    I have become a fan of wearing nitrile gloves under my regular gloves. That seems to be helpful. I’m not sure I could work outside all day long as so many workers do. I’ve become more and more a wimp over the years.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Luckily, not all sweaters are turtlenecks – I wear those in the coldest weather under the sweaters.

    I used to insist on natural fibers, but have found that I’m quite warm in my soft acrylic ones. I do have one wool sweater that I wear, inside or out, on the coldest days – wearing it right now. And leggings or Cuddleduds under heaviest sweat pants.

    My mom had a “mink paw” jacket that she just was quite proud of, and it was very warm – I gave it to a local charity when she stopped going out in the winter, wonder what became of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh sure. I should have thought Turtle-necks are different from sweaters. (First and second grade photos of my in polyester turtle necks thank you mom. No wonder I hate them?)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The best strategy for keeping warm is activity. I’ve noticed feeling cold more often this year than I usually do, and I’ve also been less active. I think not going for my long walks every day has had an impact on me in a lot of ways and generating my own heat is one of them. I’m usually too warm, especially indoors. I’ve always loved sweaters but they’re just too hot these days.

    I’m sure I must have known someone who wore a fur coat but I can’t think of anyone. My grandma on my dad’s side had a fox stole complete with the little fox face, ears and eyes.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I don’t like sweaters, for three reasons. One is that they give me sweaty pits, which is uncomfortable. Two is that wind often goes through the knit, which is cold, unless I wear a tee underneath, which gets too hot. Third is that I always push up my sleeves so they get all stretched out and don’t stay up, whereas hoodies have elastic cuffs to stay up better, long-sleeved tees can be folded, and flannels can be rolled up. I’d rather wear a hoodie under a flannel than a sweater, but then, I imprinted on grunge as a student.

    It’s not easy finding a vegan coat that is up to really cold weather; they seem to be more fashionable than waiting-45-minutes-for-the-next-bus durable. Columbia makes pretty good ones, and I layer up with a puffy jacket (and a hoodie or flannel under that). But for the most part when it’s really cold my asthma and I stay home and let my roommate, who likes cold, do the grocery shopping.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Fat socks. I actually change out my summer socks to my winter socks when I bring down my turtlenecks and sweaters for this winter.

    I also have a coat that I bought online several years ago. It is faux fur, fluffy and white – I bought it because it was really expensive. It’s massive because I bought it so it could go over some of my bigger woolen sweaters. I only wear it when it gets down to 10 or below. I’ve had more people comment on this coat than any other piece of clothing I’ve ever worn.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I get cold easily (not a whole lot of natural insulation) so I wear layers much of the winter. First layer is Lands’ End Thermaskins or lightweight Cuddleduds, and second layer could be fleece lined leggings or heavier weight jeans and a sweater. Most of my sweaters are turtleneck (really hate having a cold neck). My favorites are wool blend from Lands’ End that aren’t bulky. I also have a hand knit alpaca sweater bought in Peru that I wear on really cold days. Fleece quarter zips and tunics are also in my closet. Like VS, I love fat socks – either knee high or mid calf. I might add a lightweight down vest as well. For the trip to Antarctica I purchased two pair of slim leg waterproof/windproof pants that have a light fleece lining. Boy, do those work well! I’ve worn them a lot since returning from the trip. I have three different down jackets for the weather – chilly, cold, and frigid. I nearly always wear a knit hat and I like mittens better than gloves. And for my feet – mid calf length Uggs, Sorels, or Merrell winter walkers. I do agree with Krista that activity helps keep one warm in cold weather. I tend to wear the most layers when just lazing around the house.

    One of my great aunts had a fox stole with the face. As a kid, I was fascinated by it. Now it would just creep me out.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. No sweaters. Sweatshirt hoodies.
    The couple from whom I buy my bison meat have full length buffalo coats. I haven’t examined them closely but understand the buttons are made from the horns. They have a Miami tribe background, so are respectful of the animal and use it all.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Wool Socks are the secret to staying warm in cold spells. I especially like the SmartWool types of wool socks that are soft and not scratchy. I often have cold feet, so I find if I can keep my feet warm the rest of me follows. The comments above about activity and movement are also true. Sedentary days result in a permanent chill. I am very allergic to feathers and down, so no down coats for me. But I do have a very old Columbia coat filled with fiber that I wear on the cold, cold days.

    For years my parents had my grandmother’s fur coat. Like many of her things, they could not bear to part with it. We kids paraded around in it for dress up, as well as using it as part of Halloween costumes.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. i wear long underwear on -10 and below days when i’ll be outdoors
    felt lined sorel boots and big heavy socks
    my big down jacket that’s good in -20 weather is knee length and a horrible pain in the ass to be getting out of the car with but worth the inconvience
    i have a shorter down for regular 0 degree weather
    i have developed an odd claustrophobia of the hands with gloves but deal with it in in cold cold weather otherwise my hands like my face deal with the cold and just age quicker than my covered parts

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Get yourself some hand warmers to put inside your mittens, tim, they work wonders. Husband, who suffers from perpetually ice cold hands, was introduced to them by Will Steger who uses them on his expeditions; they’re really wonderful and stay warm for long periods of time.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Another vote for the hand warmers. Kelly started using them back in December when she was doing chores. I haven’t used them yet, but if I was out doing more I’ll bet I would.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I put “2016, wessew” in the search line of the trail and ended up with a few old blogs, including one written by you, Wes. Didn’t find what I was looking for, but entertained myself my delving into a one of those old rabbit holes. Edit and Steve were still very much with us then, and I just love the sometimes rather caustic retorts to comments. This is a link to the particular hole I dove into:

          Liked by 2 people

  11. My mom had a gorgeous sealskin coat, second hand, of course, back in 1956 or thereabouts. It was truly a beautiful coat. This was before we read about the horrible clubbing of baby seals in Canada, and stripping off the skin of the still live animal.

    I had a very beautiful and warm hat made of fox fur, and while I was in USSR, I purchased one of those ubiquitous Russian fur hats at GUM. Both were wonderfully warm, but your hair was squashed mess when you took them off.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Many years ago I shared the story of my one and only fur coat, a long, wonderfully warm, muskrat coat, purchased at a second hand store on Lake Street when I first arrived in the Twin Cities.
    I cringe whenever I think of that story, not one of my prouder moments, though in retrospect I can also see it for the rather hilarious escapade that it was.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. I should add, though, now that I have read through all of the comments in response to that blog, that it’s really fun to see the confessions of past sins of other baboons.

          Liked by 2 people

  13. Husband was so concerned I would be cold when I was pregnant with our son in the winter of 1986 he insisted I get an ankle lengh down coat. I was so hot in that darn coat I had to leave it unzipped..

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I have my mother’s synthetic fur coat that probably dates back to sometime in the 50’s. Boralba by Albrecht’s. It was the height of fashion in its day. I also have the sales receipt for it.

    Liked by 2 people

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