It’s Freezing: What Do I Wear?


Kermit decided to ditch the sweatshirt and do winter California style this year. He thought he would be okay without any shoes because frogs don’t have toes.

No, really, how am I supposed to look cute in February without getting frostbite if I live in Cambridge?

That was the most pressing question on the minds of the students who attended the panel on “What to Wear in Winter Climates,” jointly hosted by the Dean of Students Office and Student Financial Services. And according to the panel, the answer was basically: you can’t, unless you want your skin to crack open or your toes to freeze off.

The panel, which was the second of an annual event, was met by some students with bemusement and mockery.

“If you don’t know what to wear in winter, you probably shouldn’t be here,” quipped Harry Drozdowski, a 2L.

Nonetheless, several who attended the event said they found it surprisingly useful.

Will Howell of the Dean of Students Office gave a quick rundown of the basics of winter dressing, while Christine Fahey of Student Financial Services gave students tips on how to cut down on winter utility bills. Three students from the California Club – Cameron Biscay (2L), Tina Rad (3L), and Nicole Valco (3L) – shared with the audience how they, being used to warmer climates, coped with balancing fashion with practicality.

Together, the speakers gave the following advice:

? “Cotton is not your friend.”

Cotton does not keep you very warm and also retains moisture. Translation: if your cotton socks get wet, they will stay wet. Forever. Try wool or wool blends like merino instead.

? Layers, layers, layers.

Layering keeps you warmer when it is cold and lets you shed clothes when it gets warm. Proper layering involves three layers: 1. wicking layer: keeps you dry. This layer is closest to your skin and should be made of breathable material, like silk or polyester.2. insulation layer: keeps you warm. Down and synthetic down are great insulators.3. shell: keeps wind and water away from the body. The material should be waterproof.

?Toe-lessness is not hot. Sneakers. High heels. Fabric boots. Newsflash: Cambridge drains do not work. That means slushy snow and freezing water pool all over the sidewalks, which put your feet at risk of serious pain, if not frostbite. Footwear should be waterproof, especially on the inside, and ideally should have the aforementioned three layers. Rubber soles are essential to prevent slipping.

? Call your utility company.

Doing so will help you budget for winter heating bills and also let you ask about “fixed-price” options, where residents get the chance to lock in at a certain rate.

? Get more loans.

If you are drowning in heating bill debt, fear not-the Financial Student Aid Policy allows for reasonable increase in increase in student borrowing budget for those in winter climates. Stop by Pound 324 for help.

? Moisturize!

? Don’t be SAD.

It is common in the winters for students to feel more depressed as a result of less exposure to sunlight (called Seasonal Affective Disorder). One way to solve this is to go to the hardware store and buy a full-spectrum light bulb, which mimics the effects of the sun.

?Head to Toe.

Do not wear a hat but forget your gloves – it is important to pay attention to every body part, from hands, to ears, to feet.

At the end of the event, the Dean of Students Office held a raffle and gave away coats and boots as prizes. Even so, Drozdowski remained unimpressed. “They should have a panel on ‘How to Socially Interact with People’ instead” he said. “That would be way more useful at this school.”

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