Dressing for extreme cold



It took me a few years to get used to dressing for extreme cold but now I have it down to a fine art.

In South Africa it gets cold in winter but it is a different kind of cold. The houses are built for heat and there is no central heating so when it is freezing outside it even colder inside. People therefore do not wear heavy coats or jackets as it can be up to 27° C during the day in winter. At night and inside though it is cold so they wear thick woolly socks and heavy sweaters and jumpers.

In Sweden because of excellent central heating, it is always warm inside apartments, offices, buses, trains, stations. But very cold out in the open.

So you tend to wear light clothes underneath very warm outer clothes. You have to take your outerwear off as soon as you get inside or you would fry.

When the photograph above was taken it was -17°C and all I wore was underwear, jeans, short-sleeved t shirt, boots, jacket and scarf. I should have had gloves but had forgotten them, so I put my hands in the special little thermal pockets in my down jacket.

At night I sleep in a t shirt, turn the radiators way down and, if it is hovering around 0°C, open a window. Otherwise it is too hot for me to sleep.

And for contrast, below is a member of my family (face blurred to spare her dignity) getting ready for bed in winter at our home in South Africa. She has winter sheets on the bed, a duvet, three winter blankets, a heavy crocheted quilt, socks, slippers, thermal underwear top and bottom, winter pyjamas, a scarf , hat and a very hot water bottle. I am even worse when I am there – I have two duvets in addition to the three winter blankets and crocheted quilt!

Dressing in the morning is agony, as is going to the loo at night because the seat is so cold it burns you!

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Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

One thought

  1. It is the same in parts of Australia. We go outside on nice Winter mornings, with a cup of coffee, to stand in the sun to warm up. It is still generally warm during the day so you could wear a T-shirt and shorts, but once the sun goes down the house is the same temperature inside as out. If it is 8 degrees outside, it is 8 degrees inside too. When we go overseas, the first thing we do is turn off the central heating and open the windows to cool it down inside (yes, even at -20 during a blizzard in Hokkaido when we also took off our clothes and leant out the window as we were overheating!) as we find it too stuffy. When I was at Boarding School, we were’t allowed hot water bottles and I used to wear very similar attire to bed. We had one very thin blanket and a chenille bedspread, and I brought my own feather eiderdown from home. So cold!

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