Going to a place with seasons is a big change for this Florida girl. While D.C. may not have winters like Minnesota, winter in D.C. is still cold, rainy and can be very unpredictable.
I wasn’t used to the cold in the nation’s capital when I moved here just over a month ago. Thankfully, I’ve picked up some tips from those that are much more familiar with surviving the winter (a.k.a a temperature that calls for more than just a light jacket) than I.
Know Your Coats
This is something I had to learn the hard way. All jackets are not created equally. Doing your research on what weather calls for what coat is crucial to making sure you’re comfortable while visiting all the sites of D.C. If it’s an option, have a friend who’s more familiar with dressing for the cold be your coat guru and bring them along on a shopping trip.
If you’re flying solo, some considerations for the right coat to rock in D.C. are the temperature grade, waterproof factor and whether or not it’s work-appropriate. The weather in D.C. rarely gets that low, so walking around in a parka fit for a Canadian blizzard isn’t necessary.
Aim for something that will keep you toasty when the weather is around 30-40 degrees. Rain is a constant during winter in the nation’s capital, so something that can resist the water that your umbrella doesn’t quite block will prove invaluable. Keeping it office-appropriate is ideal if you’re working or frequently attend professional events, a stylish staple coat that you can dress up or down is the best way to stay warm and, more importantly, stay thrifty.
This has definitely been an adjustment for me. The world of thermal tops and leggings is one I had never explored, but they definitely make a difference. Buy a couple of clothing items in a size larger than you normally would in order to layer some waffle-knit thermal items underneath. Keep adding layers on top until you feel warm enough to go outside without succumbing to hypothermia. Don’t forget to put on the coat that you now know so much about.
The world of thermal tops and leggings is one I had never explored, but they definitely make a difference.Elysse Vernon, Florida Native
Hats and gloves and scarves, oh my!
These may not be the accessories we’re used to in the sunshine state, but they’re definitely ones to get familiar with when making the move to the capital city. Hats and scarves are key for those extra windy days and gloves will keep your hands from becoming useless blocks of ice. Don’t even think about getting those “tech gloves” or “touch-screen gloves,” they don’t work and won’t keep your hands nearly as warm as a thicker pair.
Sandals aren’t going to cut it here. There’s a real possibility that it may snow or that the ground may become icy, so you’re going to need to prepare.
Investing in some good snow boots might be new to you, but it’s a necessary purchase. Boots with good traction on the bottom are essential for not slipping on ice and falling in front of everyone on your commute.
And don’t worry, changing footwear when you get to the office is not unusual in this town.
Take it day by day
Take baby steps when it comes to going outside. If you truly can’t deal with the weather when it drops below 60 degrees, just stay inside as much as possible. Going to and from work is just a series of getting from one heated building to another.
I promise your body will adjust -- take it from someone who is going through it right now. Cold weather takes some getting used to, and that’s okay! Eventually, you’ll be able to venture out into the world with one less layer than you’ve been wearing each day and that’s progress!
Many of us from the South have lived in blissful ignorance of true winter (well, at least weather below 50 degrees). As we gear up to face this next chapter of our lives, we’ll need to start planning for every aspect of life in D.C., even if that means buying *gulps* snowboots. Trust me when I say, as someone born and raised in Florida: D.C. winters aren’t so bad!
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