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When in doubt – layer up!

By Melissa Babcock

A few months back, on a brisk, fall morning, I left the house wearing a light jacket and a pair of ballet flats on my feet. There was no snow on the ground and the weather for the past few days had been quite balmy, so I thought nothing of my light outerwear as I headed to work.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. By lunch time, snow had started to fly and by the end of the day, I had to make my way home in about two inches of the slushy white stuff. My shoes were so pitiful in the snow I might as well have been barefoot. Luckily, the walk from the bus stop to home isn’t far and I was able to warm up quickly once inside with a pair of thick socks. But I learned my lesson and since then, I religiously check the weather before leaving in the morning.

I’m sure I’m not the only one this has happened to. One of the more, shall we say, charming aspects of living in Alberta is the ever-changing weather conditions. It is not at all unusual to wake up in the morning to a wind chill in the negative, only for it to be sunny and warm out by mid-day.

So how does one dress for the elements when they change by the hour? This question can be especially relevant for those who work outside. The answer? Layers! Being able to add or remove layers depending on the weather and your activity level is an easy way to stay either cool or warm.

But don’t feel like you have to take it this far. Source: Google images.

But don’t feel like you have to take it this far.
Source: Google images.

So what kind of layers should you wear? A base layer should be thinner and worn next to your body. Your base layer regulates body temperature by keeping moisture away from your skin. The middle layer is thicker and helps keep you warm by trapping air close to the body. And an outer layer protects you from elements like rain, wind or snow.

The actual articles of clothing you wear will depend on what you’re doing. If it’s winter and you’re working outside, think about donning a t-shirt and long johns as your base layer. Then put something thicker over that (made of fleece, perhaps?) and top it off with a waterproof jacket. And of course, if you’re on a job site, you’ll need sturdy, steel-toed boots regardless of the weather.

For folks like me who work inside, I’ll often put on leggings under my work pants, with a sweater handy to wear under my jacket if needed. And after my frozen feet incident, I always wear warm socks and boots to work and bring dressier shoes to change into.

So in conclusion, learn from me. Check the weather forecast in the morning, layer accordingly and you’ll stay comfortable no matter what weird weather pattern awaits you.

How do you dress for unpredictable weather? Tell us by leaving a comment, or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!



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