Today was the first snow of the school year in Oklahoma (yes, we’re as surprised as you are) and I’ve noticed SO. MANY students who have no idea whatsoever how to dress or how to be prepared for winter.
I realize Oklahoma has relatively mild winters compared to some of my northern counterparts, but we need to bundle up just as much a everyone else.
First thing’s first, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. College is already hella expensive, so don’t make a bigger deal out of it than you need to.
Let’s start with the basics. LAYERING. This can usually be accomplished with stuff you already own, and if you don’t already own it, you can get it for cheap at places like Target, Old Navy, or even on Amazon. So let’s dive on in.
Here are the essentials (with each item explained in detail if you keep reading):
- Base: cotton is fine
- Mid: think sweaters or sweatshirts
- Outerwear: don’t skimp too much
- Footwear: go for waterproof
- Socks: warm and tall
- Headwear: something that at least covers your ears
- Scarves/glove: consider something other than basic knit gloves
Other words of wisdom:
- Test your heater at least three days before it’s supposed to get super cold. My roommate and I made that mistake and my house is currently 48F because our heater is broken.
- Stock up on blankets. A good fleece blanket goes a longggg way when it comes to keeping you warm.
- Get some good slippers and some flannel jammies. You won’t always have to go outside when it’s cold and on a snow day you’ll want to stay in bed. Might as well be nice and cozy while you do!
- ALWAYS do your homework anyway, even if it looks like class might get cancelled. You can’t read mother nature’s brain, so just do it and prepare for class. Then you have less to do on your snow day!
- Make some good memories. Get some friends together and have a snowball fight, maybe make some snow angels. Drink hot cocoa and watch the snow fall. Whatever you do, try to do it with friends.
Sam’s Guide to Layering
For the most part, you shouldn’t need much more than your standard undergarments, and you generally won’t need anything more than cotton. So go for a cotton undershirt and some of your usual undies (still a funny word, even at 23) (disclaimer: if you’re a big outdoorsy person, you might want to step up your game, but if you’re a big outdoorsy person you probably already own the right gear for winter outdoorsy adventures).
I will say this: I don’t own very warm pants. I own a lot of leggings and a lot of jeggings and that’s about it. So when it’s snowing (like today) I throw a pair of leggings on under my jeggings. This can also be accomplished with thermal leggings or long underwear, but I own neither so I went with some basic athletic leggings I got at Old Navy.
Time for some outer layers. This is where I have fun with sweaters because I own too many (though sweaters don’t block wind so wear a long sleeve shirt if you’re opting to go without a coat) or crewneck sweatshirts because those are my favorite. If you don’t own any of these things, check out the stores in your college town for sales on university sweatshirts or places like Old Navy and Target for deals on sweaters. You can dish out some extra cash for some nice merino wool bought on sale, but you don’t really need to.
3. Outer layer
This is where most people go wrong. If it’s snowing, you need a coat. Let’s say that together, if it’s snowing, you need a coat. I don’t care how tough you think you are, you’re going to want a coat when you’re walking across campus in the wind and snow and sleet and whatever else the weather has going on. This doesn’t have to be a major investment (though you’ll thank yourself if it is). You can go for a wool outer layer from Old Navy for like $40 or you can buy a $120 pea coat from a department store (I own both, and I wear both, often). If you’re the aforementioned outdoorsy type, go for something more waterproof and “functional”.
Okay, so here’s the deal, whatever you get, you want it to be waterproof. Rainboots can be made warm with the right socks, and hiking boots are amazing alternative to snowboots. You just want to make sure that water doesn’t get in your shoes because then your socks will be soaked and your toes will be cold ALL DAY.
While we’re on the subject of your feet, make sure you have some cozy socks happening. Preferably tall ones. I saw so many girls on campus today wearing leggings and sneakers with exposed ankles and…just please learn from their mistake. Wool ones are preferred, but you can work with what you’ve got.
I love a good pom pom beanie, but I know that isn’t practical for everyone. Ideally, find something that covers at least your ears but preferably your whole head. If you ride a bike to class, a beanie may not fit under your helmet so you can opt for something more like a headband. Just find something that keeps your ears warm, okay?
Okay so not everyone likes scarves, but I love scarves. They’re warm and fuzzy and make me happy. Oh, and I can use them to cover my face when it’s too ridiculously cold outside. Whether you go for more of a blanket scarf situation, knit, or fleece, having a scarf is a better idea than you know. As for gloves: if you’re like me, you’ve spent your life being handed knit gloves that don’t actually do much to keep your hands warm. As far as my favorite gloves, I love C.C.’s anti-slip touchscreen gloves. Wow are those amazing.