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The Actual Guide To Surviving Winter – A Little Leopard

Fun fact: Yesterday the high was a whopping 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Chicago. The high. We broke records for cold. It was brutal.

As a practical Midwestern gal, I’m a little sick of seeing articles with titles like “How to look fabulous when it’s freezing!” featuring street style stars at NYFW with, like, a trench coat and no gloves. That will simply not fly in Chicago – unless of course you’d like your fingers to fall off.

I love Chicago, don’t get me wrong. It just really tests us with this weather. Yesterday, I wore a puffer vest under my puffer coat, leggings under my jeans and Ugg boots all day (not great in the snow, but warm!). Sure, I work in an office most of the day and may have over-layered for being inside, but my commute was actually not that bad and my fingers only got slightly numb – high praise given the temps and wind chill.

So, if you, too are tasked with the challenge of facing extreme temperatures, below are some winter survival tips and necessities:

  1. Get a puffer coat – every time I see someone in single-digit temperatures that doesn’t look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man I think, “Oh, you poor soul.” They look ridiculous but they keep you warm. I scored a DKNY puffer at Nordstrom Rack for less than $200; if you want to invest, apparently Canada Goose coats are amazing.
  2. Also grab a pair of snow boots – even if you have to change out of them at work. For me, this year’s Big Winter Purchase was a puffer coat, but you can bet that next year I’ll be scooping up some Sorels. While my Uggs keep my feet nice and toasty warm, they are not waterproof and the traction is awful on icy sidewalks and streets.
  3. Puffer vests are cute on their own in the fall and even better layered under coats on super-cold winter days – not joking when I say I wore a puffer under a puffer yesterday. Extra layers are your friend!
  4. Speaking of extra layers, don’t be afraid to wear tights or leggings under your pants. Or two pairs of tights, for that matter. I do this pretty much every time I wear a skirt from December-March. If you’re going to buy new winter tights, a higher denier is better, as are wool or fleece-lined options. Splurge item? Wolfords, for sure.
  5. Wear the proper accessories: a warm scarf (blanket scarves are perfect for this), a good hat or earmuffs and gloves that keep your hands warm and, ideally, also allow you to text.

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