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Dress for “Socksess”: Staying Stylish in the Polar Vortex


It’s about this time of year, when the moment you walk outside, your hair freezes over, you slip on a patch of ice, and snow goggles seem like a realistic alternative to sunglasses. You begin to wonder why on earth you chose to go to school out here in the arctic tundra.

Looking at the pictures of your friends, who chose schools down south, with reasonable temperatures, is enough to make you green with envy. You would give anything to be able to throw on a sundress and flats and stroll to class with the sunshine beating on your bare skin. Technically you could do that here, but you would most likely be rushed to the hospital with frostbite and hypothermia.

But before you succumb to the cold, and begin the process of layering your sweater over your thermal over your turtleneck which covers your undershirt which is tucked into your thermal heated underwear, you should know that unbearable cold is not and excuse to dress like the abominable snowman. Rather, it’s the challenge to feel as cozy as the yeti, while still looking stylish. So before you layer up to the point where you can hardly identify yourself in a mirror, take a step back and reevaluate your wardrobe.

Maybe you can’t throw on that cute cardigan and jean shorts like your friends down in South Carolina, but all of this cold weather merits some pretty awesome accessories which can make staying warm and being stylish a breeze, or in our case a nice blast of arctic air.

Thermal Socks

Thermal socks aren’t just for Nordic skiers, or old people, anymore. This under appreciated footwear can go a long way when it comes to staying warm underneath those new leather boots you’ve been breaking in. It may sound dumb, but many people overlook socks, and write them off as just something that is annoying to wash and inevitably loses its mate in the dryer. But before you go and donate the bulky pair of patterned socks grandma sent you in the mail, you may want to reconsider. Socks are a great way to incorporate a shock of color and pattern into your outfit. Find a pair of thick warm woolen ones, and fold them over the top of your boots for some much needed warmth and color. Not convinced that this style option is actually a trend? Try checking out the pinterest board labeled “Keep my feet warm and stylish…Socks,” and join the movement for real sock appreciation. Seriously.

Knit Headbands

Like your feet, your head is a major source of body heat. You can lose up to 45% of your body heat through an uncovered head. It comes as no surprise then, that keeping your head covered during this polar vortex is a great way to prevent yourself from icing over like the swipe pad outside your dorm’s main doors.

While that long tasseled hat is optimal for head coverage, you may not be too keen on hat head, or the pom-poms floating around the top of it. So instead, why not go for a knit headband. It will keep your ears and head warm, and keep your hair looking healthy and full instead of greased back against your head in the aftermath of a hat. These headbands are also a great way to keep warm when you’re exercising outside in cold weather. Check out stores like J.Crew and American Eagle for some classic knit headbands, or even Forever21 for a real statement headband at an affordable price.


The Infinity Scarf

You’ve probably heard an infinite number of time that scarves can help bring together an outfit. However, they also are just as important in keeping warm. We’ve all had that scarf that seem to goes on forever and is constantly hanging lower on one side, requiring readjustment and rewrapping (annoying, right?). Well the infinity scarf helps you to avoid those pesky uneven tassels, and keeps you even warmer than a regular scarf.

Also, unlike that bulky winter coat and gloves, you can wear your scarf in class to stay warm, without looking like you are prepared at any second to make an unannounced dash outside into the cold air.  If you like knitting, or are into DIY crafts, try picking up a pair of needles and knitting your own. They’re super easy to make and you can pick your own colors and design. So tomorrow morning, when you are preparing to head outside, consider wrapping up that outfit with an infinity scarf!

Snow Boots

While this might seem like an obvious suggestion, weatherproof boots will keep you so much warmer than those awesome leather boots you have been hopping around in, trying to avoid slush and salt. Remember when you were six and at the first sight of snow, would jump into your snow pants jackets and boots and head outside? While you may have ditched the snow pants or snowsuit long ago, snow boots today are a great way to stay warm and avoid getting your feet wet. While brands like Sorrel and Ugg sell awesome designs that will make you happy to keep your feet warm, they can be a little pricey. Stores like Target and Wal-Mart sell cute boots that will keep you warm for a lower price. So give those leather boots a rest and assume readiness to slosh through any kind of weather in some snow boots!

Now that temperatures are finally heating up to a balmy 1 degree, and the ban has been lifted on outdoor activities, you should feel prepared to reemerge from hibernation, stylish and confident, unaffected by this chilly weather. Venture boldly out into the cold air, donning your infinity scarf, headband, woolen socks, and boots, – socksessfully staying warm and stylish through these frigid winter months!

Photos 1, 2, 3

Hannah Eckstein is a junior at Notre Dame from NJ. She's majoring in international economics and Spanish and minoring in international development. She fully considers herself a Jersey girl, and spends the majority of her free time at the beach. Despite a passion for athletics, she is hopelessly uncoordinated and therefor finds her athletic outlet in long distance running on the Notre Dame cross country and track teams. When she's not running or blogging, she is most likely doing yoga, attempting to learn the ukulele, baking, or watching Sherlock. In the future she aspires to write for a publication like Outside Magazine or National Geographic, become a yoga instructor, and learn to speak french.
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