Winter Comfort

“Aren’t you cold?”

If I only had a dime for every time I have been asked that question over the last three winters. You ladies know what I mean. Intelligent people nosily inquire after your internal temperature because, gasp, you are wearing a dress outside, in December/January/February. Then I feel compelled, after astonishing the room with, “Really, I am quite toasty”, to discuss what goes on under said dress to prevent frostbite.

“Obviously, I am not wearing pantyhose” is my favorite comeback line.

Well, what do I wear, under there?

Stockings. [FYI – Walmart has cotton blend stockings back this year in servicable colors, as well as pashmina shawls. Get’em quick!] I like cottony knit ones with a strong waistband. If it is extra cold and I am wearing boots, I pull on a pair of socks over the stocking feet.

For less chilly days or when I am wearing a full petticoat, I combine knee high socks (Target! Target! awesome sock selection) with bloomers. Three layers of heat trapping fabric over my legs. Those intelligent people only have one layer of denim, usually.

The next line of defense against chill is put something on your head. Aha! Gotcha! 😉 Even a light cotton scarf can make the difference indoors between comfort and shivering. My snoods make a good every day cap. Layer over a pashmina scarf, and you are set for ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.

Last night, my dad was tracking the temperature differences between the basement (where we live) and the Upstairs world. About 4 degrees cooler down here than up there. Huh, he said, about 70 F, just a little cool. Well, if 70 F is cool, I must be hardened off to the weather! I feel just fine.


10 Responses to “Winter Comfort”

  1. 1 Farmer's Daughter December 7, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    70 is cool? We keep out heat at 55. Layers do just the trick, skirt or not.

    • 2 Anna December 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      You have to understand I live with older people who are ill. The temps regularly soar to 76-78 F in Upstairs land without anyone commenting. When we lived in our Bird’s Nest apartment, we kept it between 64-68 quite easily. 🙂 I do not pay the utilities.

  2. 3 Katie December 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Isn’t it ridiculous how quickly society went from finding a skirt a normal thing, in any season, to looking at it so strangely? Go back *maybe* sixty years and it would have been a real exception at most to see a woman in anything that wasn’t a skirt/dress. Heck, my mother’s high school in Wilmington, DE, didn’t allow girls to wear slacks until 1970!

  3. 4 otowi December 7, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I wear pants under all my abayas/jilbabs – sweats, jeans, pajama pants, etc. Comfy and no one knows/cares. And I don’t have to worry about wind or sitting carefully, etc.

  4. 5 thegeekywife December 8, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I admit though that I have succumbed to inner and outer pressure and am just wearing jeans so far this autumn. I hope to blog about my skirt-only experiments one day soon.

    Besides the fabric coverings, the hair on our heads keeps us warm! Even if it’s not really long hair.

    Anna, forgive if this next question is too personal, but what did you decide to do about cutting your hair and possibly donating it? Feel free not to answer if it’s a subject you’d rather not discuss.


  5. 6 Margaret December 9, 2009 at 3:40 am

    I am confused. I know pantyhose are what we call tights. But what we call stockings are like really long socks (regardless of material, can be nylon, silk, wool, whatever) that stop at the top of the thigh and need garters or a suspender belt to hold them up so… how can stockings have a waistband?

    • 7 Anna December 9, 2009 at 8:39 am

      Ah, the joys of English variations! What we call stockings in this part of the woods are thickly knit tights with a waistband. I have heard stockings also applied to the waistband-less variety. “Stockings” tend to give the hearer the impression of stalwart grandmotherly types who desire warm nether regions. 😉

  6. 8 lmae123 December 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I actually like wearing skirts in the winter better because you can really layer underneath without it being noticed. I am colder when I wear pants outside when it is gusty and snowy!

  7. 9 akhomeschoolfun December 15, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    There’s actually an insulated thermal overskirt similar to snow pants available. You can buy them from They even have an insulated miniskirt which I though was hilarious. Considering the price, it may be cheaper to sew your own though. Still, I prefer layers.

  8. 10 Melinda January 11, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Haha, I call everything “stockings.” Thick ones, thin ones other people call “tights” or “pantyhose,” it’s all stockings to me. Except in my definition they all have a waistband (and feet, of course). And on the note of stockings, I was recently in Prague in -15 C weather (being a tourist, so I had to walk around outside in the snow all day). A good trick is layering stockings as well as socks. When it’s really cold, you can wear three layers of stockings and, say, four or five pairs of knee-high socks. It really helps keep your legs warm, especially below the knee. But does anyone have tips for not freezing your thighs off? Because even layered stockings (and this was under jeans) is not enough when it’s literally freezing outside. Oh, and a benefit of stockings is that the waistband usually goes up high enough to keep your waist and lower back warm, which is really important in winter. As far as dresses/skirts go, it really depends on the material. I have a nice thick what I call “winter skirt,” which I can wear in snow or similar cold, but everyday cotton skirts would be a no-no.

    Oh yeah, and my original point of commenting was this: Isn’t it ironic that they ask if you’re cold but in summer they’ll be sure to ask, “Aren’t you hot?” I hate it when I get this question on warm days, just because I’m wearing a long skirt and long sleeves, even if they’re of thin and comfortable material. Really, I think people (usually complete strangers) need to leave the weather judgment to the clothes wearer.

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"I can't say I don't believe in your God, but I don't believe He meant the world to be as it is." ~Nicholas Higgins. North and South.

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