Monday, February 18, 2008

Winter Gear

You should believe everything you have heard about the New England winters. Snow, sleet, fog, ice, cold, cold and more cold are just about right. I decided to write about this as many of the well known boarding schools are located in the New England states. These states are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont and if you are coming from the south or from countries with milder temperatures, you had better come prepared.

It is likely if you are going to this region for the first time as a boarding school student, university student or maybe even an immigrant, that one of the first concerns you will have will be your need for a new wardrobe. The schools will more often than not send a list of items that will be necessary but in terms of clothes sometimes they are not thorough as in some cases it starts to get cold from October through to April.

Here are some must haves:

  1. Thermal Underwear - some people call them long johns. The modern ones are now quite light and comfortable and they are found in cotton, polyester, polypropylene or fleece,
  2. A warm everyday coat - some people swear by down coats which are really warm, others think ski jackets are the way to go and I personally prefer wool jackets. If you are prone to feel cold get the warmest coat you can find,
  3. Fleece jacket for the milder days (with or without a hood),
  4. Sweaters/sweatshirts and turtle necks will be everyday wear under your coat and fine for indoors when you remove the coat,
  5. Waterproof Gloves - I like those with the thinsulate insulation with makes them both warm and easy to move,
  6. Scarf,
  7. Hat with ear coverings (if your jacket has no hood),
  8. Waterproof boots with soles which can handle the icy ground and the soft slushy, melting snow,
  9. Raincoat with a hood - I prefer these to umbrellas which do not protect you fully when it is windy,
  10. Corduroy and jeans are staples for guys and girls,
  11. Tights worn over thermals are nice for girls who wish to wear skirts,
  12. Lip Balm - though not an item of clothing you should take it with you everywhere to prevent chapped lips.
Though light shirts are not regarded as winter gear, it is important to understand that they are important to layering. The thinking is that the inner layers are to work with the outer layers to keep you warm and dry. Thus after the thermals the lightweight shirts are nice to trap the warm air and let your skin breathe. Also when you remove your heavy sweaters and coats inside where it is warm, it is convenient to have on the thinner shirts which will allow you to remain cool.

If you'd like to have an idea of what these clothes look like and their prices check out LLBean, REI and/or Lands' End online. From now on through March are good times to buy winter clothing as many stores are having clearance sales to facilitate the incoming Spring stock. For those of you who are fashionistas, you may take note that in New England the North Face brand is hot.

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