Not a Walking Wimp: For Anchie

Anchie, I'm offering some additional tips/ ideas for urban winter walks for you. I posted some on Chris's great thread, but there I described my current winter wear for walks in a fairly temperate suburban environment; here, I'll tell you what I used to wear for a much colder and more urban setting. 

Like you, I wasn't big on true gear for my walks in an urban environment. Just didn't feel right. (I do wear much more gear now that I am walking in a different place with different kinds of roadways.) 

Here's the kind of outfit I tended to wear in Eastern Ontario's cold winters. I walked in all conditions. Even a few ice storms (I don't advise it.) 

The kinds of items you'll need include: 

1. Comfortable but fashionable footwear with a good tread. I highly recommend seeking out some kind of sneaker boot for this purpose. Either that, or an excellent low heeled chelsea boot. Examples in Finds. 

Make sure the footwear is warm enough or has enough room for good wool socks. 

2. Wool socks! :) 

3. Underlayers. I preferred to wear my regular casual clothes, more or less, with some adaptations. But of course you can also wear gear if you like. Anyway, beneath my regular clothes I often wore -- camisole or longer sleeved base layer, sometimes with long underwear -- heattech or similar. 

4. Clothes. I usually wore jeans and a wool or cashmere sweater. I think I'd be uncomfortable in office wear -- a bit too restrictive. But there are certainly some wool trousers and even jackets that could work. 

5. Coat. For me, usually a puffer. I have various weights for various purposes. I also have a "gearish" rainproof coat with cozy lining that I could wear in warmer temps if it was wet. 

6. Scarves, hats, gloves, sometimes mitts. 

I grew to love cold-weather walking. It's invigorating. And it makes the winter go by so quickly. 

Here I am in Kingston, late last February. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Suz, GREAT INFO. I'm sure Anchie will love it. 

    You look beautifully stylish and practical as always! Canadian deep Winter walking is not for the faint hearted ;) .... pic #2! 

    I just posted what I wear on Chris's thread, so shan't repeat it here:

    Please tell me about these boots! Do you think they can work for me? I love the white.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Angie, I have not seen the boot in person yet -- it is a brand new offering. I'm tempted to try them myself. (I knew you'd love the white!)

    They look as if they might run a bit wide, but appearances can be deceiving. And, as we both know, Eccos can usually be adapted/ adjusted with an insole or orthotic.

    What I'm hoping -- lightweight, not too too wide, with room for a good sock.

    I'm tempted to order them. I'm also considering the sneaker boots. Problem there for me is colour. I don't like the black soles on the black and the other two available colours are not ideal for my closet. I could consider the camel, I guess. 

  • nemosmom replied 2 years ago

    Great info here, Suz! I am saving this thread, too ;)

    I did invest in a waterproof parka that I found invaluable in the snowy weather.  A bit more fashion-y than a ski jacket and warmer thanks to the length ;)

  • nemosmom replied 2 years ago

    OOOh those boots come in olive?!?!?!??!

  • JAileen replied 2 years ago

    Suz, you and Chris both know what you’re doing.  What a great outdoor wardrobe.  As I said on Chris’ discussion, I haven’t figured out gloves that work with binoculars and camera.  I’m not sure what else I can try.

    Angie, are those boots for ice?  I slipped on ice a few years ago and asked our resident experts about boot soles.  Here is the discussion:

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Nemosmom, I totally thought of you when I saw those Ecco sneaker boots -- I think you need to try them!! 

    I like the olive also but it's not ideal with the rest of my wardrobe, alas. Ditto for the caramel. If my hair were still blonde I'd have ordered the caramel in a flash! 

    JAileen -- good point about ice.  I don't have to worry about it much any more in this climate. I did used to walk in regular boots on ice. I probably should have had clampons. But never did get any....

    Re gloves....that is a serious issue for sure. How cold does it get where you are? I find gloves don't work at all in really cold temps -- I need mitts. And do better simply taking off a mitt for a sec to take a photo and shoving it back on, than I do in gloves. 

  • anchie replied 2 years ago

    Suz - thank you so much, very helpful. Beautiful photos. We just got back home (it is 9PM here). I wore the outfit in finds - and I was perfectly fine and warm. But it was just 14C. So yes, I am a wimp LOL. When it gets colder I will add scarf, hat and gloves, but not convinced that it will be enough. Maybe thermals too? I find mask useful against the cold too.

  • Chris987 replied 2 years ago

    This is a great thread, I find it fascinating how differently people in urban environments and rural ones choose what they want to wear. Most of my career I commuted by car so not much walking in the cold, but I did do a city commute for about a year that included a twice a day 15 min walk between public transpo and office and wore a long puffer coat, scarf, nicer hat...somewhat more like Suz's outfit here or Angie's on the other thread. One morning a male stranger passed me on the sidewalk in deep winter and said to me " THAT'S how to dress for this cold..."

    Anchie, you should  wear whatever you need to wear to stay warm. No one else lives inside your body where you feel the cold so no one else gets to tell you how many layers you get to wear! 

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 2 years ago

    Anchie, funny that I just commented on that sweater of yours in the other thread! I think long underwear will make a huge difference once it’s colder, or fleece-lined tights under your pants.

    Everybody already knows what I think is best for keeping warm—bodysuits! This winter, I’m looking for some with bras built-in—“BH Hemdchen” with “body”
    Maybe some of these

    JAileen, what about wearing gloves that work with tech screens under your flip gloves?

    ETA I went looking for an example of touchscreen gloves & found out you can diy them from your bestest liners.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Fashintern, is someone can find me a tech glove that actually works, I will be amazed. None of them work a bit for me. Like, not ever!! It might be because I have Reynaud's. 

    Nodding along with Fashintern and Chris re thermals -- they can really help! And from the outside you look as if you are dressed "normally." 

    You. have a lot of puffer coats, too, right, Anchie? 

    Chris, I have noticed that people really do appreciate fun and attractive (if bulky) winter outfits in urban environments. I get a lot of compliments on my winter wear and I'll bet Angie does, too! People appreciate when someone makes an effort -- both to stay warm and to look halfway okay while doing it! 

  • JAileen replied 2 years ago

    Our temps are definitely not as cold as Canada, but in winter, it can top out in the 20s.  So if you’re standing around, and it’s windy, that’s quite chilly.  What I’m thinking about is mittens with a slit rather than convertible gloves. The finger could come out and then slip back in without taking the whole thing off.  I might have to knit it myself.  I would probably do Fair Isle because it’s warmer, or maybe something felted.

    Fasintern, that’s a thought.  I’ll look into it.

  • anchie replied 2 years ago

    Suz - i do have 3 puffer coats but they are all at least 3 sizes too big. Maybe that is not such a big problem for this purpose since there is definitely a lot of room for additional layers.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    You can buy mitts like that, JAileen -- I have seen them. Both gear type and handknitted looking ones. Sounds like a really good plan. 

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 2 years ago

    “ from the outside you look as if you are dressed ‘normally.‘“ is the best part of good underthings.

  • suntiger replied 2 years ago

    You're making me think of walking on days I work in the office vs days I work at home. I'm sure I won't want to change clothes those days, since I'm losing a half hour a day commuting + losing daylight hours. Hmm...

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Only one way to find out, Suz! I've ordered the white...since they are sneaker boots, and in line with all I am wearing these days.....

  • Runcarla replied 2 years ago

    Leather mitts with activated charcoal hand warmers have been my ‘go-to’ the past 10 years after I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s and told to not let my hands get cold.  I was sooo happy to find a replacement for my 6yo leather mitts.  The outside is in good shape, but the insides are getting a little thin.  

    #3 works most days down to -15degC.  Below that, or standing around (Remembrance Day - Nov. 11, or Christmas Parade) , and it’s #4 maxi puffer time!  

  • Style Fan replied 2 years ago

    This is a great thread.  I do a lot of walking in the winter.  I have walked in rural and urban environments.  The temps can go down to -30 C or even lower.
    I use the warmers that Carla showed only for toes.  They work perfectly.  I seem to be able to find warm mittens.
    My winter walking boots have built-in crampons.  I snap them open as needed.  They are also extremely warm and comfortable.  That is saying something coming from me.  They are made in Quebec for Quebec winters.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Angie, do let me know what you think! I can't get the white in Canada, alas. That's ok, for me the red would work brilliantly, if I go there. But that is the subject of another thread! :) 

    Style Fan, you have the BEST puffer coats. You have practiced PPP and found exactly what works for you and your climste. Ditto on the boots. BRAVA!! 

    Can you remind me of the maker of the boots? I don't need them now, but my Montreal daughter in law might! 

    Carla, that is so clever. I have those warmers but haven't used them yet. Clearly I need to get with the program! 

    Suntiger, you will definitely want a slightly fashionable urban walking capsule, then!! And honestly, it's not that hard to put together. Your temps are pretty warm by my standards (even if you run very cold) and underlayers might be key to the whole business. You could always take off the base layer in the bathroom later if need be.....

  • Jaime replied 2 years ago

    Ok I am not going to make a fool of myself making suggestions about winter walking, but it sure does look better than the very hot summer walking I have doing lately!

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 2 years ago

    ST If you walk on work days, and have thermals on underneath everything, then you don’t need to change clothes when you get home, or get naked in the cold winter. Just peel off the top and you’ll have your catburgler suit on underneath already.

  • RobinF replied 2 years ago

    Oh yes, felted mittens JAileen! They are super warm!

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Will do, Suz! I can be the guinea pig ;)

    The red is a better colour for you, for sure. The weight of the boots will be a big deciding factor. We don't want heavy boots.....

  • LaPed replied 2 years ago

    To me, the big factor with urban walking is that it often involves going indoors at some point while still being in public (library, coffee shop, etc). Walking on country roads or trails, you generally put on warm clothes and then take them off when you get home, so it doesn't matter much what you're wearing underneath as long as it's warm. (Après-ski, of course, is a whole different beast! :D ) 

    I often find that in urban situations, I sacrifice a bit of warmth for the sake of a more streamlined, less bulky outfit, so that I don't feel overly bundled up when I'm inside, and don't have to deal with changing in/out of as many things. This means forgoing ski pants but wearing thin long johns underneath regular pants, opting for my chelsea boots with an alpaca insole rather than my warmer snow boots, and bringing a big bag that can corral my hat, mittens, and scarf while I'm indoors. Midlayer is almost always easy-to-layer knitwear (no super chunky yarns or bulky sleeves) or a brushed cotton or flannel shirt. I do find that urban walking does a number on my long coat, from all the brushing up against parked cars and dingy snowbanks. I love the warmth of a knee-length parka, but I do have to wipe it down a lot throughout the season because it gets grimy. 

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    La Ped, yes -- I completely agree! Urban walks often include stops and errands. And you want to look as if you are properly dressed in that situation, and not overheat! 

    I definitely prefer a knee-length parka. Most go in the washing machine, and I take advantage of that! 

    Angie, awaiting your report! 

  • Runcarla replied 2 years ago

    Hah!  I was just musing on the difference between urban, suburban, and country outdoor environments affecting trekking outfit choices!  As a suburban living person I mostly walk cleared sidewalks and paved paths into town (1.6KM) with stops at the library, bookstore, coffee shop, etc. and then a meandering walk through interesting neighbourhoods on the way home - or a gentle hike along tame paths in the conservation area that borders our backyard.  Warmth and sturdy footwear are of paramount importance, but full-on gear isn’t quite the answer.   I dress in a hybrid style, as I suspect lots of folk do - mixing performance fabric with urban design, and tried and true classics.  

  • Jane replied 2 years ago

    This is such a useful thread. I am always finding I am stripping off and then putting back on layers.

    La Ped Patagonia coat looks gorgeous. Knee length or longer coats are my fav. 

    I am interested to hear RC notes on gloves. I get white finger (not had a diagnosis of Reynauds), and also white toes. 

  • anchie replied 2 years ago

    Just ordered this puffer coat to replace one of the too big ones. It is navy, not black. Hope it will be warm enough. It is advertised to be suitable for up to -15 C

  • Sal replied 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing Suz.  I love city walking - I am doing lots of "exercise" walking but less "city errand/out and about" walking...

    Your strategies are great and I am sure you are one of the more stylish people in Victoria!!

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