30 October 2007

A frosty temperature is no excuse, pt. II

Rule #1:
Wear clothing that is fitted, fitted, fitted. Not tight, but fitted.

The surest way to lose body heat, I've found, is to either leave certain sensitive bits exposed to the elements (obviously) or to wear clothing with breezy, open hems, cuffs and necklines that allow the cold air to seep in and up your body, drafty-door style. Women who make the mistake of not wearing tights in 40 degree weather know all too intimately what I mean by the term, "ladychute freeze." The most obvious solution is also the most effective -- insulate yourself. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting you head to the thermal underwear section of the nearest Eddie Bauer outlet - not at all - but I am recommending at some level within your preferred layering, whether you're a onesie like myself, a twosie like most or a threesie or foursie Olsen-twin type, you must keep at least one slim-to-the-body upper and lower protective layer.

My favorite insulating fabrics are thick, wool-jersey knits, finely-gauged merino wools, heavy tweeds and silk-cashmere blends, all of which are cozily warm, soft to the skin, and when purchased in the correct size, skim the body in an extremely flattering way. The downside, however, is that none of these are likely to be on the right side of the sale-rack before the post-Christmas markdowns. My advice is to invest in a few high-quality basics in neutral colors that can be mixed and matched into several can't-wait-to-wear ensembles. Poly-blend may be $100 cheaper than silk-cashmere, but that savings certainly won't help stop your teeth from chattering as you walk the eight blocks from the Eastern Market Metro to your English basement apartment on East Capitol Street. If you're intern making $25K/year before taxes, fine, do what you have to do, but if you're a young professional making a reasonably good salary, there is no reason not to invest in your wardrobe. In the end, a pair of well-cared-for Theory trousers that makes it through four Winters is going to be a more financially sound purchase than two or three one-season-shots from Filene's Basement.

'Marta' pencil skirt by DvF ($255 at dvf.com)
Merino turtleneck sweater dress by Ann Taylor ($148 at anntaylor.com)
'Romy' tweed trousers by Elie Tahari ($147.90 at saks.com)
Draped turtleneck sweater by Fa├žonnable ($175 at nordstrom.com)

Rule #2:
Wear thick, footless tights (or leggings) under all your trousers and jeans

This is an easy, universally accessible and relatively inexpensive way to insulate yourself from the cold. Other garments, the aforementioned thermals, for example, are much too thick - and for DC weather, much too extreme - for our purposes. An undetectable, under-the-covers opaque tight, on the other hand, is a perfect way to keep wearing your wide-legged trousers without the downside of inviting wind gusts up your stems each time you take a step.

And then, of course, there's the added "slimming" benefit control-top tights afford you...

My preferred footless tights are from Spanx, namely because they last so long and come in so many varieties, but truth be told, to serve the basic insulation function, any brand willl do.

High-Falutin' Footless by Spanx ($28 at spanx.com)
Footless tights by Sparkle & Fade (two for $20 at urbanoutfitters.com)
Footless tights by HUE (two for $17.50 at hue.com)
Velvet leggings by Wolford ($14.90-$38 at saks.com)

*the second installment of this post to come tomorrow...


Anonymous said...

Oh, Johanna. I keep telling you that it's meant to be, I keep courting you with music video dedications ... What more can I do?

You are Gwen to my Eve: I'm telling you - together, we could rock this city.


this all you got? said...

So...everyone in my office raves about your blog, and I finally tune in to see what all the hype is about, and I get this? I get this "revolutinoary" advice of wearing knits and footless tights in the Winter? Isn't that the kind of thing we learned as children? A few of your other posts are entertaining I guess, but this is child's play. Next.

Johanna said...

this all you got?-

I never claimed to have "revolutinoary" advice on this - or any - occasion. I'm simply answering a question.

And I figured, since I didn't know to wear footless tights underneath trousers until last Winter, maybe there were a few souls out there who didn't know that little secret, either.


16th streeter said...

Even if I didn't learn anything new (though I did), just reading your posts for their entertainment value alone is enough of a motivator for me to come back every day. Or multiple times a day...

I want that dvf skirt so bad I can taste it!

alex said...

this has nothing to do with this post, but I just want to thank you, as a boyfriend to one of your most loyal readers, for introducing my girlfriend to the bathroom squats. she's been doing them for a month or so now, and wow, the difference is night and day. both of us can see/feel it.

she also told me to mention that my name is not Brad.


denver fan said...

good to know I'm not the only one still doing them :-)

Anonymous said...

"ladychute freeze" - word. experienced it this morning.

Confused? said...

Why footless tights? My biggest problem is cold feet in the winter! Should I be wearing another pair over them?

I am not a fan of heavy lined pants. Add a pair of tights underneath and I feel like the Stay-Puff marshmallow man.

Johanna said...


Good point. I guess the reason why I am promoting the footless tights as opposed to the regular tights is because I was thinking more along the lines of boot-wearing. I don't know about you, but I really hate the feeling on my feet when I wear boots with tights. Something very squirmy and squishy and sweaty about the whole thing. I much prefer a nice trouser sock, and the footless tights allow for that.

With pumps, obviously, a full-on tight is your best bet.

I'm surprised a thin layer of nylon or nylon-blend would lead you to feel like a marshmallow. I'm hyperaware of looking and feeling puffy, and I never feel uncomfortable with my under-tights. Then again, I'm also someone who won't buy trousers *unless* they're heavily lined. Hmmm...


Anonymous said...

I get cold really easily as well, and I think I'd prefer the footless tights - even with pumps. I always slip around too much in my shoes when I wear tights! Love Spanx tights!

Laura said...

Black tights under black-on-black pinstripe pants today kept me warmer and made my butt and thighs look more toned. Also kept a little more insulation between my ballet flat-encased feet and the chilly sidewalk.

(Sorry, no heels today, Johanna; they really were cute flats!)

Marie said...

Great advice, but not sure I agree on the jeans front. I feel like tights under jeans interfere with their booty-boosting capabilities. Maybe it's just me.

dc girl said...

def wearing tights under my pants tomorrow. I was freezing on my way into the office today!

CDP said...

silk long underwear is another useful thing...Nordstrom always sells it in the lingerie department and I have several scoop neck tops with 3/4 sleeves that are invisible under most tops and sweaters. They're extremely lightweight and fit close to the body if you get the right size, and they're extremely warm. They also last for years.

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