Surviving the cold winter weather with my limited clothing was even more challenging than having a small selection over the summer. The main issue I faced in the summer was making sure I had a clean tee between washes. Once the weather got cold enough I was wearing almost every piece of clothing in my closet every day.
One of the major limitations of having ten items of clothing to choose from over the year is that it has to work to some degree in each of the four seasons. I designed my wardrobe for a very specific climate on the west coast, where we get milder winters, but plenty of rain. I knew I would spend at least part of the summer and fall on the east coast, but when I found myself still on the east coast coming into winter things started to get a little uncomfortable.
I did plan everything in my outfit so that it could be layered and worn together, but the practice of having to put on a sweatshirt and two coats every time you need to take the dog outside does get a bit tedious.
Designed for a climate, but not all climates
A number of my items are very well suited to the climates they are designed in. Outlier’s chino’s, for example, excel in wet weather and mild cold and probably handle the winters of NYC without issue. However, once temperatures dropped well below freezing and the wind chill kicked in, their light weight and high breathability became a noticeable detriment. Likewise, I found myself doubling up on my Outlier socks on more than a few occasions.
I found the same issue with my Apolis Chore Coat; while I was happy to have the heat retention values of wool, it is a thin layer best suited to spring and fall or maybe a Californian winter.
My American Trench did make an excellent wind blocking outer layer and Ventile is a truly great all-weather fabric, however if I had spent any more time in the cold then I would most definitely have sprung for their button-in wool liner. The Strike Gold sweatshirt also performs great in the cold. It is substantially thick and cozy and luckily dried much quicker after a wash in the dry winter air.
Viberg’s Service Boots also held up really well in the ice and snow. The Dainite soles are less than ideal for wintery weather as they are pretty hard and don’t have much for tread, but the only time I noticed them being dangerously slippery was coming in with wet soles on to tile floors.
I conditioned my boots sparingly with Venetian Shoe Cream and never had any issues with the leather soaking through. Personally I would avoid using heavy duty conditioners like Sno-Seal and Obenauf’s unless you are really facing adverse conditions; I wasn’t overly pleased with how Obenauf’s changed the color and patina on my Red Wings when I previously used it on them.
If I had stayed on the east coast into January then I think I would have been forced to add a more substantial jacket and a second pair of warmer pants at the very least to stay comfortable. I was pretty happy to be back to the wetter, but warmer west coast where I could alternate between layers and my wardrobe truly excelled.