Friday, December 21, 2012

Warming up your Wardrobe

     Even in Florida there are days when the whole theory of global warming is in doubt!  I don’t doubt we are warming our planet and scraping away the ozone.  I am just saying freezing wet cold days happen even in Florida!  We have days and even weeks in the winter when days warm to eighty degrees that can then be followed by days in the thirties.  The growing season slows to a halt and we have nothing important to do if we prepared properly.  Cold and wet days are not the time to think about prepping!  These are the days when we have a moment to appreciate the hard prepping we did in the summer heat.

     I don’t really need a ski or snow suit.  Still, I am prepared if it ever snows in Florida again, with knowledge and the ability to adapt.  My winter coat is a fleece lined denim coat in a size at least one size larger than I normally wear.   

     Air is trapped in the loose layers to insulate and keep me warmer than someone wearing a tight fitting jacket of the same style.  I also have room to add a sweater and/or a sweatshirt.  My jacket has a hood but with the added space from the larger size, I can comfortably add a ski cap or polar fleece hat and still flip up the hood and pull the drawstrings taut against any cold wind.  The cuffs have elastic that brings the extra fabric close to protect against drafts and still allows room for the cuffs of my glove to tuck in.  I have ease of movement and never feel as if I am stifled or strangling.  As the sun rises and the day warms, I can remove layers as needed.  You can't do all that in a snow suit! 

     For the fall and spring I have a long sweater coat and a collection of lightweight pullovers, sweater sets and heavy denim shirts.  All of these items can and do end up as insulating layers when the polar winds blow.  I know a lot of people from the northern cold country who think they know how to stay warm.  They know how to look good and they know what they should do but they go for the fashion and will have cold nights to regret they don’t have enough of what they need or the skills to make it if the grid goes down. 

     Tight fitting synthetic fibers do not insulate.  They do not breathe and when you sweat it drips but it doesn't dry.  So, now you are cold and wet and headed to hypothermia.  There is nothing wrong with 35% to 45% polyester blended with cotton, but a pure cotton, wool, or silk garment in multiple layers is the best way to go.
     If you have a few minutes and a few dollars you can warm up your wardrobe at the thrift store or a local yard sale.  
     I have a plastic shoe box with silk scarves that cost someone hundreds of dollars when they were brand new.  They are almost new except for the fact that I know for a fact I washed them all before using them.  They cost about $7 for ten scarves. Keeping your head covered is important in the cold.  I also found a few desert head scarves like the Arab men wear at one sale and one was a gift.  They keep you warm in winter and protected from the sun in the garden.  The sensible earth tone colors gave me pause to think and rethink my personal collection.  I have stored a bottle of dark brown silk dye in a plastic bag in the scarf shoe box if I need to tone down the bright colors later.

     Every fall the Dollar General Stores stock in the annual stretch knit gloves for the back to school crowd.  They are great for driving but that’s about it.  They have too high a synthetic fiber count to keep warm and dry.  They may never biodegrade so I know they will last a long while.  Try to get natural fiber wool or a cotton blend.  Although, there is no harm in a few dollar pairs of one size fits all gloves.  Some gloves are better than none at all.  I also purchased a pair of rabbit fur lined leather gloves years ago and they may last a lifetime under everyday conditions.
     My work boots and combat boots are also a half size larger than I could get away with in a sneaker.  I like that they are not so tight that they wear on the skin and not so loose that the foot is swimming in them, but, that half size allows for an extra pair of thick cotton socks in the fall and a pair of thick wool socks in the winter.  To maintain socks you need to keep toenails trimmed and stock some wool and cotton thread and darning needles to repair any holes.
     Don’t overlook the little accessories that keep you alive and warm; gloves, hats, scarves, and socks.  Good quality can be had for less when you buy second hand.  Good quality is important.  Keeping warm in winter is imperative.

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