It’s been a long time since I’ve written about some of my favorites and as someone who has grown up in the snowy Midwest I thought it may be fun to make a list of my favorites for surviving the winter. I’ll be honest that after 8 years of nannying and now having our own little one, my favorites tend to be pretty practical. When it is blustering cold out and snow is everywhere, usefulness and practicality trump trendiness and fashion, although I hope these are not too utilitarian.
Ever since we’ve been married (just over 7 years) I’ve been working to transform my closet from one of very inexpensive, only last a season or two things to items that can last quite a bit longer. For me that means buying quality brands, made of quality materials, and usually means I spend a bit more. Though as one who can rarely pay full price, most items are scooped up at the end of season for a steal. I often, for bigger purchases, think of the cost per wear and the perfect illustrations would be designer jeans (my favorite pair just got a hole in the knee after 8 years) and a great wool coat (lasting many, many years.) Both items are investments but I like things that still look new after a few years and wear well. Although my favorite places to buy designer denim are EBay and Nu Look Consignment in Mpls.
This is one area where I’ve really morphed from wannabe fashionista into I.just.want.to.be.warm. I have four winter coats all for different purposes. Might sound excessive and really it probably is but they all have a purpose and they’ve all lasted seemingly forever. I have a ski coat, a down sweater (which might be my favorite), a long down coat, and a wool coat. If I had to get rid of any of them it would be a toss up between my ski coat and the wool one. Surprise you?
I’ve just realized that there are a few criteria that really matter and here they are in order of preference:
1. Warmth factor 2. Easy to clean/wipe/wear with kids 3. Somewhat fashionable
#2 has easily become something that has risen from the bottom to the top. Wrangling a toddler with messy boots or snowy coats or just wrangling them in and of itself with everything else like groceries, etc. I want what I am wearing to withstand the abuse and still keep me warm.
It follows along with the reasons I still carry a diaper bag. I want my nice coats and purses to stay nice. That’s what it has come down to. I want to be able to go out with girlfriends or my husband and not have dried snot on my nice coat or spilled milk in my purse. Because inevitably no matter how hard I try otherwise those two things will eventually happen. If I pay a premium for a nice thing I’ll try my hardest to keep it that way. I’m enough of a klutz to ruin it myself. I
So I’ve surrendered to motherhood and if I look like a mom, good. I waited a long time.
As far as boots…I’m still deciding. I want something that is easy to get on, is waterproof, still looks somewhat fashionable but more importantly keeps my feet warm and dry. These are the two top contenders from REI. By the way, REI is amazing. Did you know that you can return things a year later? That is so handy when you buy kids winter clothing at the end of the year and need to buy multiple sizes because you don’t know what will fit. AMAZING!!
And as far as the rest of our family goes in surviving the Midwest winters…Elizabeth and Alex have down sweaters. Alex’s is from Eddie Bauer (usually their coats go 50% off) and E’s is from REI, the REI brand. I’m hoping they made a version this year because I would snatch it up in an instant for next year. Best part about the down sweaters are they are incredibly warm. You wouldn’t think so given their size and how light they are but seriously warm. And they compact well so car seat straps can still get really tight.
As far as buying, sales get incredible right after the holidays. I’ve scooped up all the coats above at least 50% off which is incredible pricing for the quality. I’m hoping to hold out on boots until I find a fantastic deal but I might cave considering we just got a slew of sloppy wet snow. And as far as gloves are concerned…I love upcycled sweater mittens. They keep my hands toasty warm and wool is amazing at keeping water out. I’m on the hunt for a pair for Elizabeth. I bought mine at a local craft fair but they are available all over Etsy or you could make your own:)
And somehow I forgot, but warm socks are a must. Our drawers are full of Smartwool and REI brand wool socks but this year I learned of a new winner: DARN TOUGH. They have a lifetime guarantee. LIFETIME GUARANTEE. We rarely get holes in our wool socks but they can occur. That is amazing.
What are your families favorite things for surviving the winter?