My very stylish friend Susie Tweeted the other day that she had been wondering what to wear in a New York winter, and had found a post from LLG, written way back in January 2009, when I had just returned to blogging after a break to return to magazine land. I went back to read what I had written, and it struck me as being as relevant then as now, so I thought I might give it a quick tweak for a re-run here.
(And, please forgive me for the extremely sporadic posting over the past fortnight: I have been head down in a special project on top of my normal workload, as well as having a dash to Barcelona for less than 24hours for a shoot for a project yet to be announced, and something had to give…)
There are no photos for this post, as back in 2009, I was just another anonymous blogger…but I have added a little shopping bar at the bottom.
Statcounter, known as Statstalker in my household, can tell you which keywords drive people to your blog. One of the most popular Google searches is something along the lines of “What to wear in NYC in the winter”. Judging by my experience in the inclement weather each winter in Manhattan the answer is simple.
Layers. Many, many layers.
It’s dehydratingly hot inside nearly every store and home and bloody cold outside. I feel like Lucy hopping into frozen Narnia from the nice warm, fur-filled Wardrobe every time I run an errand in the city.
In New York it’s not uncommon for the mercury dip to -20C (-4F), and there are frequently days when only one in ten rises above freezing (32F). [Look I do realise that if you are reading this in Wyoming or Nebraska then you will think me ludicrously wet. But bear with me: to a soft Londoner, used only to crappy perma-rain and one snow storm a year, Manhattan in the depths of winter is an inclement place.]
I so admire the precision of the weather forecasters in New York who, if they announce that it will start to snow after 9pm and will result in several inches by morning, then you will absolutely be wrenched out of snuggly duvet bliss at 7am by the sound of plastic snow shovels scraping across the sidewalks. This is not a sound I enjoy because it usually heralds a few days of klutz-baiting ice to look forward to. (I seem to spend a fair proportion of the winter on my arse.)
This is because it’s so bloody cold in Manhattan that the snow just stays around getting icier and more dangerous. Gah. I rely on my rubber Hunter welly boots to keep me both upright and warm, as they have deep, rugged treads and I can fit the holy trinity of woollen tights, woollen over the knee socks and my cashmere bedsocks inside them. Cosy Uggs & the like are pretty useless unless they have magic water-repelling qualities, & there’s no way I am ruining my beautiful bespoke black leather boots in the salty slush.
As for the rest, my daily uniform in a New York winter usually consists of a camisole – not thermal as experience tells me you just roast once indoors, a cashmere twinset, a just below the knee black wool bubble skirt with petticoat underneath, a DKNY black merino Cozy wrapped Ballerina-style around my body and a knee length beige fur coat on top. The whole lot is topped off with those magic ear muffs that lie hidden under your hair, rather than sitting on top of your head like ludicrous furry headphones, and the biggest, softest, blanket-y cashmere shawl in my possession folded and wrapped around my neck and chin.
Oh, and cashmere lined leather gloves. With the silk liners that I use for skiing inside if it’s really parky. A hat is vital: I favour a tam o’shanter, specifically the cashmere N Peal one my mother gave me for Christmas a few years ago,
This all works beautifully: jeans & trousers get uncomfy, bulky & sweaty with tights etc underneath. Plus a skirt seems to trap more hot air and keeps my knees warm. Once indoors, all I have to do is remove my wellies and knees socks simultaneously, replacing them with heels or ballerines, unwind & discard my Cozy and hey presto: a normal outfit.