Ask a fifth-year: Forget warm weather clothes

Dear Sarah,

I read this post from Cosmopolitan the other day detailing various ways I could still wear my favorite summer clothes throughout the winter season. Given the almost polar vortex weather we’re having right now, I don’t really see how any of these ideas are going to work. I really want to avoid looking like the Michelin Man, but I also don’t want to lose my nose or the tips of my ears. What should I do?

—Fashionably Freezing


Dear Fashionably,

I know your struggles. Boy, do I know you struggles. If you saw some crazy person with hot pink legs running across campus last Thursday, that was me. Surely I could get away with wearing my favorite mini skirt and thin tights. No. No, I could not. This is Wisconsin. Welcome back to Winter Term, my fellow Lawrentians. However, there is hope for those who get bored wearing knitted sweater after knitted sweater. I’ve discovered a few ways to keep a sunny disposition even as the snowflakes plummet towards your face. I promise you, dear reader, none of my extremities have been sacrificed to the white walkers.

Layering: Your mother has probably given you this tip ever since the day you turned the house thermostat up to 80 degrees because you just had to wear your favorite bedazzled tank top. Layers are your best friends. Sweaters, vests, jackets, flannels and blazers are all obvious choices, but you can layer in other ways too. Instead of wearing tights under a dress, go for a thicker pair of leggings or wool sweater tights. Throw on a pair of knee high socks or leg warmers for added protection.

Hats and Scarves: I think every Lawrentian should own somewhere between one and one hundred hats and scarves. Even if we don’t lose the majority of our body heat through our heads, it is the area we most frequently forget to cover up. I love winter scarves as a sort of all-purpose tool for heat retention. Wrap them around your neck and less cold air sweeps down your coat towards your chest. Wrap them over the top of your head, then around your neck and down through your coat for dual protection. Take a smaller, handkerchief scarf and tie it under your neck to protect your ears from the wind à la Audrey Hepburn.

Shoes: I have killed at least one pair of black flats and one pair of Toms every Winter Term I’ve been at Lawrence. I may be grateful for the copious amounts of salt on our campus sidewalks and the fact that this is the reason I haven’t yet sprained an ankle while dashing to get to class on time. However, my shoes which were once black and are now a vague shade of grey are no longer orchestra concert worthy.

I suggest you hide your summer shoes. Throw them to the back of your closet. Tell them it’s not that you don’t love them anymore, it’s just that your life is going in a different direction right now and you need a pair of shoes that understands you better. Then run off with a hipper, younger pair of Dr. Martens.

The moral of the story is warmer weather will return eventually. For now, don’t be afraid to wear as many accessories as your body has extremities. And for goodness’ sake, if you must go out for a smoke break in between classes, borrow somebody’s gloves.


Send your questions to and have them answered by Sarah, a double-degree student in her fifth year at Lawrence University.