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How to Warm up to Winter House Parties

Under 21? You’re not alone – so is the temperature. Lucky for you, Madison is home to some great house parties! If you’re someone who groans at the thought of trekking out to a party in the dead of winter, here are a few common questions and simple solutions to help you warm up to winter house parties.

What do I wear?

One of the most exciting things about going out is that you get to wear those fun and flirty outfits that just aren’t logical for class. But, when the temperature drops, so does the number of things that you can wear out without flirting with frostbite. 

Solution — Invest in a few adorable long sleeved tops where the design element is in the back of the shirt. This allows you to cover up that exposed skin with a jacket, or a flannel. Like wearing leggings out? Invest in a cozy pair of fleece-lined leggings or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, leather leggings.

What jacket should I bring?

Being from Wisconsin there is a slight emotional attachment one has to their winter jacket and with good reason, too. It is the one thing that protects us from that relentless five-month chill. However, these bulky beauties do not fare well when it comes to house parties. With a series of possible dilemmas ranging from having nowhere to put your jacket to having it stolen if you abandon it, winter jackets are just not a viable option. 

Solution — While I wish that I could offer up a revolutionary idea to solve the winter jacket problem… unfortunately, there isn’t one. But, there are things that will help you put up a decent fight against the cold. The first is to wear a sweatshirt or a jacket that you’re not attached to. House parties, especially frat parties, are notoriously responsible for the loss of a nice winter jacket or two. By wearing one that you don’t love, you can risk leaving it at coat check or hiding it on top of the fridge without feeling devastated if it goes missing. If you really don’t want to risk parting with your outerwear, bring along a cozy flannel or a light jacket that you can tie around your waist without it being too bulky or getting in the way.

Which shoes do I not care if I ruin?

With the possibility of house-party-hopping across campus all night and dancing in dirty basements, you run the risk of coming across puddles, snow, and mud. These elements can be damaging to your favorite party shoes and can cause a lot of emotional distress when you see your shoes the next morning.

Solution — The best way to avoid the inner debate about whether or not your shoes will get wrecked is investing in a pair of “going out” shoes. Invest in the Swiss Army Knife of all shoes: the high-top Converse. There’s a reason girls across campus all wear them; they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Comfortable, fashionable, versatile, and easy to clean, these rubber-soled shoes will offer you the protection of a boot with the lightweight function of a sneaker.

If you’re still missing your classic booties, trade up — WAY up — for a pair of thigh-high boots. While they’re pricier than Converse, they offer more outfit flexibility because they pair well with skirts and shorts which are otherwise rendered useless during the winter.

What if it rains? Or snows?

If you’re blessed enough to live in a state with similar weather patterns as Wisconsin, you know that predictable weather is a myth. More often than not, the thing that really makes us question whether or not the party is worth can generally be attributed to if rain or snow is in the forecast because there is no easy way to truly prepare for the elements and still be house party ready.

Solution — There are a couple of solutions to avoiding the elements. The first is to wear your rain jacket with you to the party. Rain jackets are light and simple and can easily be tied around your waist when you get there. Another less conventional way to battle the elements is through the “trash bag” method. Take a large garbage bag and cut a hole large enough for your face and then wear it like a makeshift poncho! This is convenient and easy, and you don’t have to worry about leaving it behind.

How are we going to get there?

Like every other college student, I am a HUGE fan of taking the bus in the winter. However, the buses only run so late, so you’ll inevitably have to make the tough decision of how you’re going to get from party to party or get home. Should you walk? Request an Uber? Walking can be tiring, time-consuming and not to mention, cold, while on the other hand an Uber is warmer and faster, but can be expensive and hard to organize with large groups of people.

Solution — While walking for sure has its benefits, for most of us, the idea of making a 20-minute trek in below-zero weather to a party that might or might not be fun is not an ideal situation. But there are ways to make the walk to and from a party a little bit more fun. One idea is to plan out a pit stop; I recommend places like Qdoba or Ian’s Pizza. Not only does this give you a chance to warm up, it also gives you a chance at an amazing meal. To avoid cold altogether, take an Uber. Yes, Uber rides can rack up a pretty hefty fee and be hard to organize with large groups, but if everyone you’re with downloads the app, you can conveniently rotate who pays for the Uber for each trip you take.

You don’t have to freeze house parties out of your winter plans! Once you’ve thought through the above and established a game plan, you’re sure to have an awesome night out! 

Catherine is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She is pursuing majors in both Literature and Education as well as a certificate in Gender and Women's Studies. Catherine enjoys rocking out to indie music, watching Badger basketball games and cuddling with adorable cats. She is incredibly excited to be writing for Her Campus, and cannot wait to bring fun and exciting articles to readers.
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