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Old 01-11-2009, 10:41 PM
2 posts, read 10,663 times
Reputation: 10


My wife and I are moving to Chicago in May, and we're planning on stocking up on some clothes for winter over the next few months as they go on sale.

Does anyone have any advice on clothing? Like what do you personally like to layer up with when you're about to go out and brave the cold on your wait for the El, your walk to work, etc.???

Steve-O, ilovelogansquare, lookoutkid, avengerfire, we love reading your answers. Do you have any advice?? Anyone else?

Thanks so much for the replies...
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:18 PM
Location: Wheaton, Illinois
10,261 posts, read 21,606,764 times
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Well when I was a boilermaker I often worked outside during the winters, often way up in the air and sometimes at night; some jobs go round the clock.

I'd start with a red flannel union suit, you know, the one piece jobs with the trap door. Then a pair of Carhartt jeans or brown duck pants, a flannel shirt and a brown duck Carhartt coat. Wool socks and Redwing shoes and liner to go under the hardhat. That's the basics.

To layer up I'd add an extra union suit, turtle neck sweaters, extra flannel shirts, hooded sweatshirt, Carhartt brown duck bibs. Heavy two buckle galoshes over the Redwings. Sometimes if you layered right or it wasn't too cold you could ditch the Carhartt coat and wear a green mill jacket instead. When desperate a full head and face Carhartt knit hat-mask instead of a hardhat liner.

Hot mill gloves kept hands pretty warm, sometimes heavy cotton work mittens.

Now that I'm retired in the winter around Chicago I'll wear wool slacks, a knit shirt and wool sweater, a wool sports coat and wool dress topcoat with a scarf. A dressy flatcap or a fedora. And pull over galoshes for my shoes if need be. Leather gloves. I can wait for buses and walk all over the place dressed like that.

And if things are desperate I'll still throw on one of those old red flannel union suits with the trap-door.

Last edited by Irishtom29; 01-12-2009 at 12:44 AM..
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:09 AM
Location: Lincoln Park
838 posts, read 3,081,061 times
Reputation: 172
layer up as if its no ones biz!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:32 AM
Location: Glendale
1,243 posts, read 2,677,094 times
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My husband wears(to work)(he takes the bus-3 blocks- and the green line to downtown) undershirt, workshirt, cardigan, hoodie, light jacket and a big jacket... hat... gloves, stalker face mask depending on how cold it is.
i wear a short sleeve work shirt and a down jacket that I don't wear unless I am outside in 10 or below.
I have boots that I wear... I don't do a hat and rarely gloves...
I usually do a hoodie and capris or light flannel pj pants when I am at home or walking the dogs.
I am a freak of nature and rarely get 'cold'
Right now the thermostat is set at 60 and I am sweating while eating ice cubes.
So I may not be the best gauge of what you will need.

I will say that good boots and sockies are a MUST.
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:43 AM
Location: Wheaton, Illinois
10,261 posts, read 21,606,764 times
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Note that with a good hat you can discard a layer. Much heat is lost through the head; lots of blood up there.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:00 AM
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,041 posts, read 14,912,194 times
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I am ALWAYS cold (which is why I don't live in Chicago anymore). Layering is key. That way when you get indoors, you can take off a few layers and not be overly hot while being sufficiently warm when battling those brutal winds.

They now have those silk long-johns...expensive, but, worth it to put under stuff without the bulk.
At least 2 pr socks, fur-lined boots, and jeans/slacks that are flannel-lined. I always wore a sweater over a couple other layers. (depending on how cold it was and what I was doing)

outerwear: down coat is a must. It is better to have a full length coat if you are planning to be outside a lot. (see: taking public transportation) Make sure that you wear a hat and scarf around the neck. Really cold requires those kinds of hats that only allow your eyes to show...sometimes that ski hat is then covered by another hat, too. If I was not driving, I usually wore a pair of gloves under a pair of mittens. Back in the day, I kept my bus tokens inside the mitten so that I did not have to try to fumble with my purse with all that stuff on.

LL Bean or Land's End are good sources of the things that you need.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:36 AM
Location: Chicago
2,884 posts, read 4,941,902 times
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I am a huge fan of silk long underwear. I also think that wool, cashmere, merino are the way to go. Or high tech fibers if you will be doing something active outside. I ride horses in an indoor but unheated arena all winter as long as temps are above 15 or so. A silk undershirt and a light cashmere sweater do the trick. I usually wear jeans on the bottom half, but if I were going to be outside in the wind I would wear a long coat or a knee length jacket. I disagree that down is a necessity, tho I am sure it is nice. I manage to get by in the coldest weather with a faux shearling knee length coat. It does weigh a ton, though. I feel very strongly that if you will be perspiring at all (and if you over-layer you might) that you should forget cotton and polyester. They will get wet and make you colder. The other nice thing about wool is that it doesn't retain odors, so you can wear a sweater a lot before you need to wash it or have it dry cleaned. I bought some "smart wool" socks at LL Bean that can be thrown in the dryer. You can buy chemical toe heaters to put in your boots. You need decent boots.

Last edited by knitgirl; 01-12-2009 at 08:37 AM.. Reason: correct spelling is a good thing.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:25 AM
11,289 posts, read 26,006,865 times
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I guess I don't really work as hard as many of you at layering. I normally don't spend long periods outside though if it's cold out. Just walking to the bus or train, and then walking from there to my office downtown.

I'm fine in a t-shirt, work shirt, coat and a cap. Boxers, pants, shoes and socks. If I'm feeling really ambitious I might wear a scarf, and normally I don't ever wear gloves because my hands are warmer fisted together in my pocket than outside my coat with gloves on.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:28 AM
7,327 posts, read 15,288,984 times
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For a bottom layer, I have cotton thermals if I'm going to be exclusively outside for extended periods of time, and woven silk thermals if I'm going to be in and out. They're not quite as warm as my good cotton thermals, but they breathe like a dream...

Beyond that, I have two speeds for outdoor gear:

If I have to look presentable, I do wool slacks (though if my thermals are doing their job, that doesn't matter a ton to me), Smartwool or similar socks, either wool or good synthetic (they wick and come in lots of varieties), good warm boots (waterproof hiking boots. Mine are Asolos, but an older pair, because salt plays havoc with leather. I keep a pair of work shoes at the office if I have to be there long, but I generally work from home). Up top, I like to start with a wicking underlayer, put on a plain old button down, a good sweater (I like cotton/cashmere blend, as I have a mild wool allergy), and top with a good longish wool topcoat. Good waterproof leather gloves, a good scarf (again, I'm fond of cashmere. It's a little pricey, sure, but it's especially amazing if wool scarves give you hives), and at the VERY least some of those 180 earmuffs. A hat's better. Something that covers your ears.

When I DON'T have to look one way or the other, I do mostly the same thing, only jeans instead of wool slacks, my good North Face gloves, and a fleece/softshell or fleece/shell combo up top. Always a hat.

Another tip: Go form-fitting with the clothing. At least for base layers. The stuff should fit snug for maximum warmth. Obviously the farther the layer is from your skin,the less snug it needs to be, but your clothes should fit if you want to stay warm. Bigger isn't always better.

All that said, it really isn't THAT bad if you know how to dress for it.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:54 AM
Location: Chicago
1,953 posts, read 4,931,821 times
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well if your moving here in May why are you worrying about this now? I would more be worried about what Im going to wear to the beach
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