Thursday, January 8, 2009


I need your help!!! I am currently deciding whether I should take a trip to Washington D.C. sometime next month. The wishy-washyness is related to the freezing temperatures that I know that I will be faced with. From what I gather, the average high is 47 degrees and the average low is 30 degrees. Coming from balmy weather, I am quite sure that I will be unprepared.

I am looking for advice from you, my cold weather friends. In Hawaii, we barely have a need for anything more than a light sweater or jacket. As a reference point, I have been to Las Vegas in December. It was really cold to me, but bearable. I wore a sweater, scarf, layered a light jacket over that, and blue jeans, and I was still a bit cold. I have been to Mt. Titlis in Switzerland where it was snowing. It was uncomfortably cold(froze my butt off, actually), I was inappropriately dressed(the same kind of clothing that I used in Las Vegas), but because it was only for 2 hours, I tolerated it the best that I could and then couldn't wait to get back down the mountain. I'm afraid that the weather in D.C. will be much like Mt. Titlis.

I am looking for some clothing advice and where it is that I can find it. Hats? Gloves? Scarves? Jackets? Sweaters? Trousers? Thermal Undergarments? Socks? Shoes? Okay, as you can see, I HAVE NO IDEA what I need. If I decide to go, I will actually need to order this stuff right away because time is getting short.

I have visions of people in snow clothes that look like round colorful marshmallows. The one thing that I do know, is that I do not want to look like that. I am leaning toward something more fashionable, dark colors, perhaps more city smart. For casual situations, do people wear blue jeans in the winter in the city? Are items from LL Bean and Lands End appropriate? Is wool the fabric of choice? How about evening wear for going out to dinner? If you have the time, can you provide me with links to photos of appropriate clothing items. I would appreciate it so much.

Thanks in advance for your help.



sweetiepie said...

Lettie, your post brought a smile to my face. As I write this the temperture outdoors is 6 degrees fahrenheit. How do I stay warm? I stay indoors by the heater until

Seriously, the trick to staying warm in winter is layering. It is better to wear several lighter layers than on heavy garment.

Why not wait until you get to DC and shop for your clothing then. How much fun would that be! Although, the stores would probably be stocked for summer, but the winter stuff should be on clearance.

Have a good day.

Cathi said...

Layerng, layering, layering! A long-sleeved blouse, sweater and jacket under a coat, wool slacks and definitely something like cotton tights under the slacks. If you can find cotton tights they're fabulous at helping keep your legs warm! There are some gorgeous wool coats/jackets that aren't down-filled and thus don't make one look like a dumpling.
A nice warm wool scarf and definitely gloves. If you can find some gloves or mittens that have Thinsulate, you'll have toasty warm hands. Or, even better, sheepskin mittens -- they keep one's hands wonderfully warm! As one loses a lot of warmth from an uncovered head, a hat or hood on a coat is definitely a necessity.
I say all that when 47 would seem quite balmy to me. However ...

Anonymous said...

We have temperatures below zero here. -4C at daytime and -15C at night. I just wear jeans, a sweater not too thick, thin socks and fancy leather boots. A semi woolen overcoat, gloves with no fingers and a scarf. I think the problem is that you're just not accustomed to low temperatures. I'mn afraid you will be cold no matter what you wear!

~Michelle~ said...

If your feet get cold easily - buy some wool socks. And it might be worth investing in some shoes with a little bit more to them than what you normally wear - and don't forget to find something with good tread (don't want to slip on any ice).

I wouldn't recommend what Annimiek suggests - she's too accustomed to the weather!

I bought a great down coat from Eddie Bauer a couple of years ago, and it works great. I'm sure they have other items (non puffy), and stuff from LL Bean/Lands End will also be appropriate.

You could make yourself a cute scarf using fleece and cute fabric. :)

Laila said...

The first thing I think you need are shoes big enough to wear wool socks and a sole. I use wool sole but I don't know if you can get that.
Then I use tights. I use from cotton and yes I use jeans. But use some a little big. It will be warmer if you can have a little air between the clothes. I think you should wear a windproof jacket with several thin sweaters beneath.One of them in wool would be fine. And you need a shawl( You can use it on your head and around the neck)and mittens.
I would have wear wool-pants for going out to dinner.You can get them partylike ;-)
Hope you will have a great time in the cold city.
Klem from the cold Norway.

free indeed said...

I'm in northern Maine and the advise people are giving is good. If you aren't going to be spending alot of time outside you really don't need wool socks. Just make sure your boots/foot wear isn't too tight...tightness makes cold feet! I always wear slippers over regular socks indoors to keep feet toasty. Jeans is fine pared with a turtle neck and sweater underneath a coat. You'd only need the down ones if you plan on 'playing' outside. Just running from car to store or minimal of outdoors any coat will do whether wool or something else. Does Hawaii have any consignment stores? You may find clothes that snow birds have brought in to sell for fairly cheap and yet fashionable. Yes wear gloves or mitts to keep hands warm and a cute hat/scarf set. Tights under clothing is also a good idea for you...we don't usually bother up here, but we are use to the cold. Good soles on your boots to keep from slipping and boots at least ankle high to trudge through some snow...any more snow than that everyone in DC will be staying in anyway. HOpe you have a wonderful time.

Jenny said...

My problem in weather such as they "enjoy" in DC in February, is that if I'm warm enough while outside, I'm so hot and uncomfortable when I go indoors. And I hate traipsing around inside, carrying a heavy coat. So everyone is right ... light layers is the key. LL Bean and Eddie Bauer sell those silky underthings that make a warm layer. My sister up in Canada wears those! Good luck and have a wonderful time, Lettie!

Rowena said...

Hi Lettie,
First of all, thanks for leaving the comment because I thought that you had decided to close the blog! After your Sept. 23 post (the giveaway), I didn't receive any more updates so I thought you were just too busy. Dang bloglines and all that tech stuff. Boy do I have some catching/feed fixing to do!

As far as purchasing warm clothes...I'm a girl but that's for mountain freaks like me. Like everyone else has suggested, I think if you followed the "onion rule" then it should work out fine. Maybe a long-sleeve thermal top, then a blouse, then a light sweater, then an insulated jacket. That should do the trick without making you look like a puffy snowgal. For the pants it's not as easy to onion yourself but a pair of heavy jeans (black) with nylons, socks and boots? Of course I would say go for a beautiful wool coat but then it'll be such a waste when you get back to Hawaii. Hats, gloves and scarves are a must!

Suze said...

Hi Letty,
Hiking boots would be good because they have lots of grip on the bottom made of something water resistant. Wool socks are a must. They will help keep your feet warm and dry. If your feet are warm, you won't be as cold. We ordered some wool socks from amazon for my dd. She is going to school in Oregon. ;) sus

Anonymous said...

I live in southern Indiana and the weather here is typically the same as in Washington, D.C. and I'm a "cold-natured" gal, so here's my take on the subject: I wear bluejeans for everyday, and wool pants when I'm going to be outdoors more or going places. I wear wool pullover sweaters and often layer with a cardigan sweater but this would be too warm for indoors for long periods. On milder winter days I sometimes wear cotton long-sleeve pullover tops indoors and layer when going out (a sweater); I also have wool blazers for layering but I tend to wear sweaters more often. I do have some of that underwear for very cold outdoor stuff but I never need to wear it (I bought it to have in case I need it, never have yet). I wear wool coats although I own some down-filled parkas with a hood and on bitter cold days they are so warm and snuggly, and they are not the puffy style and they look nice, but they are too warm unless it's really cold. I always wear gloves, sometimes a hat (I hate "hat hair" and static electricity caused by hats); sometimes I wear a wool scarf, and if I were going to be outside a lot in the cold I would definitely wear it. If you wait to buy some things after you arrive, you will probably find lots of things on sale and find some bargains. This is all just my opinion and I hope I don't steer you wrong. If you make the trip, have an enjoyable time.

kansaswx said...

I live in D.C. and first may I say that you are CRAZY if you are coming for the inaguration! There will be so many people here you won't need many clothes to keep warm because they will all be next to you, warming you up. And if you are coming then, hope that you have a place to stay and much moola to pay for it!

So, as people have said, layers are the thing. If you're outside, the wind will be blowing but if you ride the metro (the ONLY way to get around in this city), it will be fairly warm. I wouldnt' shop here; I'd start ordering from Land's End.

Have a good trip!

Sandi Linn Andersen said...

My husband travels frequently to D.C. but it's one place that I have never gone along (all over Europe with him but never D.C. - go figure - and also have never been to Florida). Anyway, I can't tell you what to wear in D.C. but I can tell you that no one looks like round colorful marshmallows there. Nope, that's what we look like here in Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest or the Northeast and all parts in between so we bundle up a lot!!! This is some of the coldest and snowiest weather on record. Who said there's global warming going on? Anyway, even in D.C. you will need a winter coat at this time of year, and scarf, gloves, and hat. Jeans are fine, warm turtlenecks are very comfy. Think "layers" - perhaps a nice knit shirt with a sweater. Evening wear is the same anywhere, it's just that it needs to be covered with a winter coat, if you're going out. Have fun and post photos when you return!!

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Hi Lettie,
Well you know I'm from sunny Ca. and I'm in Indiana for a week visiting my son. I love the cold weather but I'm freezing my @#% off!! LOLOL Just wear something warm and I do mean warm. I can not get warm. I love looking like a fluffy pink marshmallow. LOLOL I find it very stylish.
Enjoy your trip whatever you wear.

Angie from Dear Spring Green said...

Hi Lettie,

I live in Alaska, and it has been in the negative numbers lately. I am originally from the Pac NW, so this is my take on it: Cuddl (no e) Duds are great. They are thin long underwear and you can get them at most major clothing department stores (do you have a JC Penney?). I would get a pair of the pants and a short sleeve or sleeveless top that is a v-neck (doesn't show if you wear something lower cut for a top). They should fit under the clothes you already have, that is the really nice thing about them! I would buy wool (thin) socks like everyone is saying and if you can get a pair of wicking socks or liner socks to wear under them, your feet will stay toasty warm. I don't think you have REI in your area, but you can go to and look up liner socks and you will see what I mean. Everyone is right about keeping things loose, not tight. A fleece coat (light) under a wind proof layer coat is a good thing and as long as you have a hat and a scarf, those are all good things. For gloves, I would actually recommend mittens- your hands can move around more and they stay warmer that way. I have Ice Bug boots that I love, they have great traction in snow and ice, and still can look nice with pants. Hope this helps!