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Dressing for Winter – Tips to Keep You Safe and Warm

Submitted by Mike Bryant on January 12, 2012 – 4:11 pm

For most of us, the winter months are cold, windy, snowy and, frankly, gross at times. The keys to getting through the season with all of your extremities intact is to dress appropriately … something you can easily do by thinking ahead. When preparing to venture out of the house, it’s most important to stay warm, dry and protected from the wind.

Rule #1 – Layer. Layers provide warmth and create a shell that will protect you from the outside elements. Thankfully, with the invention of breathable synthetic and polyester fiber material, we now have the ability to create lighter garments that will wick moisture away from your skin and
add to your inner warm layer.

In choosing the proper layering, experts suggest base layer, insulation and protective layers.

Base Layer – Should consist of light, moisture wicking materials, such as Thinsulate, silk and Thermax, kept close to your body. Do not use cotton material.

Insulation Layer – Should be made up of a thicker substance such as wool or fleece.

Protective Layer – Provides tightly woven fabric that is somewhat waterproof and windproof to create a warming pocket around your body, keeping you snug in the harsh, inclement weather.

Don’t Forget Your Extremities
Make sure to utilize head-covering gear, as 60 percent of your body heat can escape that way. Mittens or gloves, scarves, warm socks and the right shoes will finish off good winter protection. Also, accessories, such as sunglasses, may help prevent eye damage from UV sun rays.

What Not to Do
Good intentions may get the best of you if you’re not careful. Heed these tips:

Don’t wear clothes that are too tight. They can be restrictive and prevent the wicking from working properly.
Don’t wear jeans. They can soak up water and lead to bigger problems.
Don’t wear too many socks. In the end, they will provide less protection and potentially cut off circulation.
Don’t buy winter boots that are too big. They will provide no protection and could let in water or snow.

Thinking ahead can make all the difference during the winter season. Dressing properly will go a long way toward making winter a sometimes fun — and hopefully warm — time.

— Mike Bryant is an attorney with Bradshaw & Bryant in Minneapolis.