What to wear?  As every native Chicagoan knows, there are two seasons in our windy city metropolis – construction and winter.

I have to admit, during the construction season the only specialty item I might purchase would be an app telling me what sections of the city to avoid and who knows… that might even be free if it exists.

But winter, now that’s another story. Having been incredibly spoiled in my past career with access to an indoor running track, treadmills, ellipticals, bikes etc. I spent more of my winter time inside for my workouts. Also, the strict parameters of a working day did not always allow for breaking outdoors when the weather was optimal.

As a newly-minted retiree, my goal is to bust outdoors and walk during any type of weather event. As I have been on walks throughout this Fall, I have discovered a simple truth – I know that if I am not warm and dry during my walk, I am not happy. I never want to walk and not be happy – life is too short! So this past week, I started perusing the internet and researching early winter weather gear like leggings, waterproof pants etc. I don’t really want skiwear, because I do own some outdoor ski pants, jackets, vests and stuff for when the temperatures are below freezing. I needed something more intermediary for the lower half of my body. After researching for about an hour, I noticed some of the items I found online were also available at a local REI store, so I made a trip. Given the choice, I do like to try things on in order to get a comfortable size and proper fit.

At REI, I was able to find some Smartwool leggings which I can wear out on their own or under any type of cold weather pants. Fortunately, I am a Smartwool fan – I have a lot of their hiking socks and they really make my feet happy, so it was a no-brainer to give these leggings a try.  Boasting the properties of wicking away moisture, cushioning, and providing warmth from the wool without the itch sold me even more than the awesome purple color they were available in. Next on the list – pants. I should preface with saying “I hate trying on pants” only because I have never been lucky enough to try on the first pair I like, with all of the attributes I like and they fit the first time around. No, there is always something about me or the pants that requires trips and trips to the fitting room before finding something that works. So, after trying on 3 different types of pants in 4 trips to the dressing room – I was content. I found some REI pants which were lightweight and water/wind resistant and (bonus) I could fit my leggings underneath if needed. Woo-hoo! Bring on the rain and snow! Best of all – they were not super expensive, an investment of course, but nothing to break the bank.

The last thing on my list were some e-tip gloves so that I can use my iPhone while outdoors in cold weather. I was shocked to find some of the e-tips were over $50.00. Luckily, I found some liners to suit my purpose at $20.00 and bought them thinking “ah… good deal” until a friend told me there are e-tip gloves available at the dollar store for….a dollar. I’ll have to check this out.

I now look forward to the fun of some messy weather knowing I’ll be warm and dry during my walks.



4 thoughts on “clothing

  1. You can get merino glove liners (REI’s online outlet has Ibex ones on clearance right now) that work fairly well with a touch screen. What I like about them is that they’re warm enough but don’t overheat when you’re being active.

    One trick is to go to the thrift store and look out for cashmere sweaters. I’ve been getting them in the $5 to $10 range, although it seems like the prices are rising lately. Anyway, cashmere is a lot like merino in that it’s warm even when it’s wet, and resists body odor. But it’s softer and warmer than wearing live kittens! If you get a few, especially one that doesn’t fit, you can cut the sleeves off and attach a small elastic to the top (the part that used to be the shoulder) and now you have leg warmers, which would cost $50+ at REI in polypro.


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