Colorado’s weather is constantly changing! Throughout one day the temperature can fluctuate from 2 degrees to 50 degrees… do you have any tips on layering that will save me from this crazy Colorado weather? (I’m sick of having 4 different types of jackets in my car!)

Erin Lefever, Longmont, CO.

Erin, you are a genius! You keep a jacket wardrobe in your car? I think that might be better than any of my suggestions. I’ll do my best, but if you ever drive off the road and become trapped in a snowdrift, you’re going to want all those jackets. (Seriously, have you read Snow Bound by Harry Mazer? It will inspire you to keep a survival kit in the car.) For everyday, non-disaster life in Colorado, I recommend the following:

Layer outerwear
Choose and layer outerwear for the appropriate degree of warmth, combining a denim jacket, a wool blazer, a puffy vest, a fleece jacket, a wool poncho, a down jacket, a raincoat or a peacoat. Personally, I found that a puffy vest under a wool coat kept me warm on icy mornings in Cincinnati, while looking put together. I could still button the coat, but didn’t have to stuff puffy sleeves into my structured coat sleeves. A denim jacket’s warmth is enhanced by topping it with a puffy vest. Throw a wool poncho over a wool blazer for double the sheep-y goodness. When it warms up, you can shed one of the outerwear layers and dump it in your car closet.

Always accessorize
At least bring, even if you don’t wear, a warm hat, scarf, and gloves. Adding these to any outerwear combination will improve your comfort factor when the temperatures suddenly dip. These items are small and portable and, since you’re already toting four jackets around, don’t take up much space in the car.

I’m embarassed to say that I could find very few pictures of myself wearing all three: hat, scarf, and gloves. I guess I’ve never taken a truly cold picture.

Love your lower half
How often do you see girls, walking through the snow, with a knit hat, earmuffs, scarf, down puffer, gloves and just skinny jeans and sneakers on the bottom? Let’s be real: there aren’t many cute options to layer legs. Yes, you can choose fleece-lined tights or leggings under those skinny jeans, but that sounds like a stuffed sausage nightmare to me. Personally, I prefer to wear a boot-cut fleece pant over my jeans (and under my skirts and dresses) if I have to spend much time in the cold. It’s easy to add to your ensemble as needed and a smart addition to your backseat wardrobe. I bought mine at REI in black and brown and they aren’t terribly ugly. Leg warmers are another option to add warmth to skinny jeans, leggings, or tights. They can be worn in addition to thick socks and are easily removable when it warms up.

Please show your feet some love and buy a cute pair of waterproof, insulated boots. They look sassy with skinny jeans and are popular enough this year to have discount versions at Target and Marshalls. I wore thick socks inside galoshes for years as my ghetto snow boots, but the cold eventually cracks the rubber and then you have wet feet. One pair of shoes isn’t going to comfortably span 2 degrees to 60, but I’d rather have sweaty feet than frostbitten toes.

I don’t have a solution to your car closet (and I, in fact, encourage it), but I believe you can stay one step ahead of the weather by layering outerwear, bringing warm accessories, and being prepared to protect your legs and feet from the cold. And I’m not joking when I suggest you add a cold weather survival kit to the car. If you’re ever stranded, you’ll want a sleeping bag and snacks to go with the four jackets.

For more info on my layered looks for commuting via bus in Cincinnati winters, check out these posts:
Bus Bundling
Never Enough

January 20, 2017

Kasmira Kit