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Good winter wear is essential for surviving the winter, especially a winter as cold as this one. This guide describes what to look for when stocking up on winter wear, with a focus on gear for people who walk or use public transit in their commutes. This guide carries recommended criteria for most winter outfit essentials. In winter, staying warm and staying happy sometimes go hand-in-hand.

What You Need to Stay Warm This Winter

Winter came with a vengeance this year. In most of North America, it’s been colder, windier, and snowier than it has been in along time. Even folks who don’t usually see snow are bundling up and turning up the heat in hopes that the winter will pass by quickly.

If you do need to go out, make sure that you’re properly equipped. Good winter wear will make a world of difference in surviving the cold. Not only will it make walking and getting around much more comfortable, but bundling up properly also helps ensure that you avoid the dangers of being exposed to cold for too long. Frostbite and hypothermia are both very real dangers of being in the cold for prolonged periods of time.

First and foremost, get a good coat. A winter coat is the first line of defense against wind, snow, and freezing temperatures. Look for something that is wind-resistant and covers enough of your body — too short at the waist or too low on the neck and you’ll be at risk of letting the wind in. A good winter coat should extend past the waist and down your leg a little bit, to ensure that your lower midsection is kept warm, and should also have a high, thick collar that will keep wind off the sides and back of your neck. Material is not super important, but note that wool or another natural fabric will probably look a little snappier, while synthetic fabrics can be lighter and more water-resistant. If it’s going to be really cold, look for a coat that is down-filled.

For your feet, look for a pair of boots that are both water proof and insulated. Remember that wherever snow melts there is going to be a lot of water, and dry feet are happy feet. If you live in a place that gets a great deal of snow, be sure to find a boot that extends up your leg well past your ankle. In all cases, a good pair of wool socks inside of your boots will do wonders in keeping your feet yam.

Keeping your head covered is essential to keeping yourself warm. A good set of earmuffs can sometimes be enough, but earmuffs don’t come close to a good hat. Try to get a hat that covers your ears and most of your forehead. If you really want to stay warm, fur-lined hats with ear flaps can be very effective.

A scarf will help keep your neck snug and warm, and is also a nice way to look a little sharper in the snow. Thicker scarves will of course be warmer than thinner ones.

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