Thursday, January 15, 2015

What to Wear in January in NYC

What to Wear in January in NYC

My sweet boy helped me pack.

I'm spending the long weekend with a dear friend from college in New York City. I lived there after college (in Manhattan) and again for a summer during law school (in Brooklyn). We decided between moving there and to the DC area when we moved here in 2011, and I love it so much more now that I don't live there, actually!

I can't wait. However...I'm not looking forward to the cold. Although I live only a few hours away, there is nothing like the cold of New York City except where I moved to DC from-Chicago. In New York City in January, I can expect to stand outside waiting for cabs, trains, and buses in weather that anywhere else would have you cowering in your car. Not usually an option in the City.

I remember my first winter in NYC, standing waiting for the crosstown bus back to the East Side from grad school; I found it so odd that the normally uber-stylish New York women around me were wearing these hideous coats that looked like sleeping bags. As the minutes ticked by and my legs got cold and colder, I asked the one closest to me where she had gotten hers. I went in search of a knock off the very next day. What had she told me? "It's called a boyfriend," she said, "because it's big and tall and keeps you warm at night."

So let's start there: a warm outer layer. I'm going to need one, and, in fact, I just replaced the jacket that got me through the cold of Chicago winters. It was worn out! I went a few places and then defaulted to my gold standard for jackets-Macy's. They have so many options and always a sale. The one I got is by Calvin Klein, it's down, it's tested to -10 degrees, and it's not hideous.

Next up? Layers. One of the particularly difficult things about a winter trip to NYC is that you will be extremely cold outside, then extremely hot in the subway, then potentially either one in whatever restaurant you end up in. If it's a popular spot, prepare to sweat. Get a table near a doorway? You may freeze every time someone blasts their way through the double set of winter doors. You need to be ready to strip layers off and add them back on.

Here's what I did: pull out every layer that I want closest to my body. This includes the softest, best undershirts by Cuddle Duds, and silk long underwear. Then, pants. I decided to stick with a couple pairs of black pants because I don't want to haul a lot of clothing with me. I might have worn fleece-lined tights and skirts if not. Then, SmartWool "lifestyle" (ie not the thick hiking boot style) socks. I'll wear warm winter boots and bring an optimistic pair of wedge boots if it's a cab it to a nicer place kind of night. If they're too heavy, I'll ditch that option.

Now my base layers are all set. I looked around, and my pants are black, and my shirts are gray and white. Time to add some more neutrals or some color. I added a gray scarf and gray wrap cardigan. Lots of I threw in a bold lipstain (Lively by Tarte). For the other options, I added an Aztec print sweater with neon colors on it, a deep red wool hat, and a reddish, long sweater with zippers on the shoulders, and a HUGE fleece, plaid scarf that I made.

I'm not going to any fancy events like shows or anything, otherwise I'd have added a dress and some warm Wolford tights.

That's it! Layers and layers, waterproof boots, and warm socks. I'll resist the temptation to compare myself with all of the gorgeous NY women around me and just know that I fit in more than I realize in my blacks and whites and grays. And guess what I will be? Warm.

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