Tuesday, October 30, 2007

~Wearing dresses in the winter~

Vogue IV by Celeste Peters
Vogue IV

Awhile back I did a series of posts titled regarding "A week in dresses" (You can read the posts, starting here.) It was spring time, right around Easter. Since then, I have gotten several questions about what to wear in the winter, and I have also noticed that I get a few hits each week from people doing searches for "Wearing dresses and/or skirts in winter", so I thought I'd share some things I've done to keep myself warm during the winter!

Many dear ladies who like wearing dresses think that they cannot wear dresses in the winter time, because they would be too cold. Now, teenage girls in Michigan must not have that compunction. I have seen many teenagers wearing flimsy dresses with flip flops or fashionable sandals; bare-footed, bare-legged. I ask them if their feet don't get cold? "Well, yes, my toes do get cold when I walk through snow." (LOL)

So obviously teenagers are intent on fashion alone and oblivious to the danger of frostbite. What about those who might be a little more sensible?

Mother and Her Child Walking Through the Wintry Snow Pause to Look at a Robin by Walter Crane
Mother and Her Child Walking Through the Wintry Snow Pause to Look at a Robin

I am a California girl, transplanted to Michigan. I have weathered three snowy winters, all in dresses! How did I do it?

***I invested in Cuddl Duds. Seriously, you will get your money's worth from these! They are thin, so you can wear them under anything. I hemmed up one pair to just below my knees. I can wear them with dress clothes, when I'm not wearing boots. When I am wearing boots, and won't be removing them (such as when I go grocery shopping), I wear the full length ones. If your skirt is long enough, they do not show.

***Tights are also a good investment. Buy a size larger than you normally wear, and they will last longer. These keep your legs warmer, and you can wear them along with the Cuddl Duds on extremely cold days. Watch sales and clearance racks and you can stock up at the end of the winter. I've seen women with jeans or sweat on under their dresses, but really, if you have tights and Cuddl Duds on, I think it is warmer than pants would be, and it is a much more feminine look.

***A good pair of boots will also help. I only have one pair of boots, and when we bought them, I went for fashion vs. functionality. I wish I had gone for something a little warmer! I am going to be looking for a better pair of boots this winter! If you aren't taking your boots off, wear boot socks, sold in the sock department. These are very thick socks, and are worth the investment!

***In the car: I keep a fleece blanket in the car. I throw it over me to keep myself warm as my husband is apt to open the windows to cool down (I'm serious!).

***Warmer, thicker skirts. Materials like suede, corduroy, and other warm fabrics will trap the heat and help you stay comfortable.

***A long coat. Really, I am surprised at Michiganders. The majority wear waist-length coats most of the winter. I prefer a much longer coat. Again, you can get a coat on clearance at the end of the season, or watch sales. JC Penney is notorious for putting their coats on really good sales throughout the winter season.

An Elegant Hat for Winter Wear with Feathers and Lacy Bows
An Elegant Hat for Winter Wear with Feathers and Lacy Bows


***Scarves go a long way in keeping you warm. Wrapped snugly around your neck, and even useful in pulling up over your face if the wind is biting, a nice scarf keeps those chills away.

***Hats also keep you warm. Most of your body heat escapes through your head, anyhow. You can wrap your scarf around your head, wear a coat with a hood, or wear some nice wool hats.

***Mittens and gloves! These are a must! Buy a pair that you can drive with, and always have a pair in your coat. I have a good pair in my church coat, and knit pairs in my other coats.

Here in Michigan, as soon as the thermometer comes back around to 40* after a long cold snap, people are walking around in shorts! I've even been known, on a sunny 30-40* day, to take my coat off because I'm getting hot. So you see, cold is relative!


Sarah said...

Tammy - great post and I can agree with everything you said as a fellow skirt wearer in a neighboring northern state! :) I do like to keep a pair of white and a pair of black leggings on hand, as they are nice to throw on under a skirt and wear if I have to go out and shovel snow!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tammy,
I wear dresses year around to. In the winter I wear them really long with tights under them. I stay nice and toasty.
I enjoyed your blog.

Anonymous said...

Visiting via Mrs B's blog!

I lived in Ireland for two winters, and though the actual temperature was usually above freezing, we had to face things like constant rain and 20-70mph wind from the Atlantic! It went to the bone much worse than dry freezing weather. I did not have a car, so life included a lot of walking in the outdoors. It was rather a shock for this ex-Texas girl. :)

The only thing that really worked for me was to wear ankle-length leggings & knee-high socks under a pair of feminine pants (no bulky stuff like sweats), under my skirt. Pants under a skirt is a more European look, so Americans might think it funny. But I was hooked -- the more layers the better!

~~Deby said...

great comments and ideas....visiting this time via Mrs. B's blog...
who used to live in MI...years..years ago..Redford?

atelierlemlem said...

As I live in the Netherlands, in a town. And as I don't drive a car, I do have a long coat too. Than good gloves, knitted hats, scarfs and good boots and socks. Lately the leggings came back into fashion overhere, and I bought an elegant one that comes up to my feet. When I wear boots, you can't see them. So, you are hitting the nail on the head Tammy : keep warm!
Also, when it is realy cold (overhere most winters are windy, wet and a bit frosty) and snowy, you can wear wool underwear with long legs and sleeves. It does feel even warmer than a jeans.
Greatings from mama lieveheersbeestje

Charity said...

It's refreshing to read about others that are concerned about looking feminine! Thanks for the tips! I wear dresses/skirts all year round, although it doesn't get quite as cold here in Texas as it does in Michigan! :)

Tammy said...

Thank you for the comments!

LizzyKristine, I would be wearing pants under my skirts in conditions like that too! Oh, brrr...makes me cold just thinking of it!!!

Susan said...

Great post, Tammy! We lived in SD for three years, and I've delivered flowers for a florist in -55 degree weather - in a dress! You're right - layers, boots, long coat (mine was down-filled), and gloves. I was sweating under all that! LOL

Anne said...

I've lived in Pennsylvania my entire life where we've had our fair share of coooold weather:o). Layering is always the key and I've never had a problem in 11 years of wearing skirts/dresses:o).

Lauren Christine said...

Great post! I always scratch my head when other young ladies claim you "can't wear skirts in winter". Phooey! :) With tights, knee length socks, and flannel or corduroy skirts, I'm MUCH warmer than those gals in just plain jeans. :-D

Heather Anne said...

I love this post Tammy! Great ideas and very practical! I also stick with my skirts in winter, and find them very warm when layered with thick tights and a heavy slip.

I'm so glad you adressed this, since I know many wonder just how to keep warm and feminine!

Sadie said...

Wonderful advice! I just used my scarf as an umbrella the other day when it suddenly down poured. Also, just bought my first long skirt. Loved the idea of the stuff to put underneath, and loved the feminine look too!

Anonymous said...

Hello!Just visiting from Mrs.B`s!Thanks for all the great tips!I will be taking your advice and passing it along to friends.Have a blessed day!

Theresa's Notes said...

Thanks for this post. I always have on a dress or a skirt and have done many of the things you mentioned.

the one thing I never seen though is the Cuddl Duds. That would be great when my church goes camping this coming November 16th and 17th. Thanks for the tip.

Martha C said...

My legs do not get very cold since I have spent my entire 30 years wearing dresses. God did a wonderful job making our bodies adjust to surroundings! I like to invest in some cute socks and leggings, and they look great with most skirts.

Amy ~ (Life's Small Treasures) said...

Loved this post! I too live in Michigan (SE) and have all my life, and we survive every winter in our dresses/skirts too. For my girls we always have them in tights with an extra pair of socks on and boots, and usually denim skirts for everyday wear or heavier material for dress.

I personally HATE gloves, but I do wear them when it gets really cold. And yes Michiganders are strange when it 'starts' to get warm. But in all honesty we haven't had horrible winters for many years, not like when I was a kid.

Another thing I find is people from Michigan forget how to drive from one winter to the next (hehe).

Great post and many great tips!

Tori Leslie said...

Great post, totally agree. I also only wear skirts and dresses so this is a great post. In Croatia it gets very cold too, -15 is serious weather. I do lots of layers too. You ought to see my DD when we go sledding, she wears a snow suit under her culottes, pretty funny stuff.

Thanks again, Great post!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the practical tips. I'd love to wear more dresses and skirts, but with the cold weather, I find myself reaching for pants more often. I hope to make use of your tips this winter.

Cindi said...

I had to rush to e-mail you. I just came from SAMS. They have Cuddl Duds. $10.98 a piece. Seeing the price for my size at Penney's put me off. I found them at SAMS and bought quite a few pair! I thought if you have a SAMS near you, you might want to check them out. They had black, pink, and white; tops and bottoms!

Joanna said...

Happy to have come across your blog and post! I know this is an older post but God recently put it on my heart to start dressing more modest & feminine! I was doing a 2 weeks in a dress challenge and only through week one felt it was meant to be a permanent change for me. Thanks for posting on this subject. I live in N. Indiana - close to Michigan line!