Le Best Snow Gear.

I lived in Chicago for five years, where it routinely snows between the months of October and April, and there was one year that I landed at O’Hare on May 31st and it was flurrying and I thought, “Why do we choose to live here again?”

Native Chicagoans are unphased by the weather; it’s transplants like myself that make a lot of noise about things. During one of the Polar Vortex years, wind chills got down to -35 degrees and then — and only then — did the schools close. Otherwise, it’s not uncommon to see small children braving sub-zero temperatures on any given morning in the dead of winter.

Chicago taught me that, in the words of Scandinavian mom Linda McGurk, “There’s no such thing as bad weather.” There is, however, bad or inappropriate clothing for the weather. Below, sharing my favorite cold weather finds for myself and for my children:

SOREL JOAN OF ARCTIC BOOTS*

CANADA GOOSE TRILLIUM

NORTH FACE MINNA MITTS

HOTHANDS HAND WARMERS (AND FOOT WARMERS IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE OUTSIDE HIKING AROUND FOR AWHILE)

SHEARLING HUNTER BOOT INSOLES (IF IT’S NOT TOO, TOO COLD WHERE YOU LIVE, YOU COULD GET BY WITH RAINBOOTS AND THESE)

CASHMERE BEANIE

FUR EARMUFFS

DARN TOUGH SOCKS

SMARTWOOL LINER GLOVES (TOUCHSCREEN-COMPATIBLE)***

POM RAINBOOT SOCKS (FLEECE-LINED!! – – SELECT COLORS ON SALE HERE)

RABBIT FUR HEADBAND / NECK WARMER

I LAYER TISSUE TURTLENECKS UNDER VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING — THOUGH THIN, THAT EXTRA LAYER REALLY HELPS WITHOUT ADDING BULK

CHUNKY WOOL KNITS (LOOK FOR LESS)

*These are like the Mack Trucks of snowboots. They are heavy (literally you need to flex to lift your legs), ultra-thick, and impermeable.

**Mine is red and 100% worth the splurge. This is one ubiquitous style that I have no shame or concern wearing alongside the rest of Manhattan — it’s a fantastic coat. Ultra warm, waterproof, and beautifully made. I liked mine so much I bought one for Mr. Magpie — the Langford style, which I felt was the most masculine of the options. His is in the army green color.

***My MIL turned me onto liner gloves as a way to actually stay warm when wearing nicer (leather) gloves, which aren’t great at keeping fingers toasty in super-cold weather. These help and you don’t need to remove them when checking your phone.

For little ones:

POLARN O PYRET SNOWSUITS (MINI OWNS THIS PAIR)

PATAGONIA HI LOFT COAT

SPERRY SALTWATER SNOWBOOTS

SMARTWOOL SOCKS

PATAGONIA PUFF MITTS

ENFANT CHERIS THERMAL UNDERWEAR

GAP TEDDY BEAR SUIT

NORTH FACE MINNA MITTS

WOULD DIE FOR MICRO TO MATCH ME IN THIS, BUT WILL CONTINUE TO BUY POLARN O PYRET SNOWSUITS FOR HIM

THIS COAT IS BEYOND FOR AN ITTY BITTY ONE

7 AM ENFANT STROLLER MITTS

BUGABOO FOOTMUFF

BLUEBERRY HILL HATS

IF BABY IS STILL IN BASSINET STROLLER — THIS BUNTING

SNOWMAN BUILDER*

WE HAD ONE OF THESE CLASSIC SLEDS GROWING UP

GIFTING ONE OF THESE FOR CHRISTMAS

*My MIL gave mini one of these over Thanksgiving and she has been begging for enough snow to go out and use it! Apparently these work really well!

For men: Smartwool merino base layer, knit cap, duckboots.

P.S. Great gear for rain and a recipe for a rainy day.

P.P.S. Musings on our move from Chicago to NYC, plus the mixed emotions of selling our home in the Windy City.

11 Comments

  1. Great picks! I have the Sorel Joan of Arctic boots with a shearling cuff (as opposed to faux fur) and I love them, though they are just as heavy & cumbersome as you say. I reserve them for serious snow, and opt for Blundstones + wool socks in storms that garner 6″ or less. I also think the Everlane rain boots (paired with thick socks) work wonders in slushy/freezing rain situations!

    xx

    1. Yeah, those boots are SUPER heavy duty. Good thought on the Everlane boots with thick socks — preferably Darn Tough ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I recommend re-chargeable hand warmers – much less trash than single use handwarmers and they often have a double use as a usb power pack. (tips and tricks from Antarctica!)

  3. Agree on the Bean Boots. The quality has gone down since their popularity surge (not to be that person, but it’s true; the construction is a bit flimsier and the leather uppers feel a bit more plasticky), but they’re still a good buy. The Sperry version of the duck boot is either generally poorly made or I just have bad luck with them, though they _look_ cute.
    I went with the Patagonia 3-in-1 for a winter coat and love it, though I’m sure the CG is better for extremely cold climes. I got my husband the Arrivals Halstrom parka for Christmas; hoping he likes it! (I’ve been eyeing their leather shearling jacket for ages.)
    I’m on the hunt for toddler winter boots that both go one and stay on. So far, everything I’ve bought has failed that requirement! Hoping the Bog boots might work.

    1. Hi! Have you checked out the Sperry Saltwaters for your little one? I am really impressed. They do not have functional laces (phew) but a little zipper up the inside of the ankle instead, and I find mini can put them on herself (!) and then they stay on. Thanks for writing in xx

  4. I would add LL Beanโ€™s classic Bean Boot if you commute by foot. They are super light weight and keep your feet dry. LL Bean sells shearling insoles for them, which I wear in the winter. I walk about a mile and a half each way during my commute, and these boots have been a savior! Paired with the Darn Tough socks of course (the best!)

    1. Oo good call! Have actually never owned a pair but they are a classic for a reason, I am sure. Thanks!

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