How do you dress for Chicago cold weather

I haven’t been there much but when I do go I use the public transit and have to walk around a bit. The end result is usually I am pretty sweaty under my coat (arms, shoulders and torso) but my face and whatever other parts are exposed to the wind are freezing.

So what do people who have learned to deal with the wind chill and the cold done to find the proper balance? I have never had that problem before. Normally a winter coat, hat and gloves keep my entire body at a fairly stable temp where I normally live. In Chicago it causes me to sweat profusely from my torso and freeze in my extremities when I wear that outfit. I would find myself taking my coat off and letting the cold wind cool my torso down every now and then when I was there.

Long underwear, man. (Extrapolated from Toronto winters.)

Thankfully, have not lived in Chicago for many years - especially in winter.

However, the trick is:
Layers, layers, layers…

T-shirt, covered by long sleeve t-shirt, covered by sweat shirt, covered by sweater, covered by coat, covered by jacket.
Undershorts, covered by long johns, covered by thick jeans.
Hat, scarf, gloves and those battery pack heaters for the gloves are quite nice.
Heavy duty boots.
Many swear words and lots of alcohol helps get you to the next bus or El.

Best way to dress?
Bermuda shorts, standing in line at O’hare airport holding a ticket to anywhere warm. Pray for take-off weather.

It sounds like your winter coat is too warm for you when you’re moving around. I’m small and get cold easily but I also heat up really fast when I’m active. It’s better to have layers and a lighter coat if that’s the case. You basically want to have enough flexibility in unzipping, venting, removing, etc, that you never get sweaty, but you can batten down against the wind when you need to. A long scarf that you can wrap either loosely or in multiple layers (long so you don’t have to tuck it in to make it stay put), is a handy thing to protect your face.

A base layer that pulls sweat off you (“wicking” long underwear, not cotton - never cotton) will help you feel more comfortable and avoid that sweaty-chilled feeling.

Too much. You’ll smother in that, especially if you’re walking around a lot.

I have an awesome coat, Land’s End, stuffed with whatever space aged material is in there. As a result, I wear a light long sleeved shirt underneath. That’s it. Otherwise, I’ll drown in my own sweat and then freeze to the sidewalk. The exposed parts - my legs - get a layer of leggings and then jeans (not tight ones!) or sweats. Thick wool socks and waterproof boots. My head wears a hat, I use a scarf to block any wind from creeping through cracks at the neck and a pair of generic women’s gloves.

In Chicago, it’s about blocking the wind, more than anything else. If you can block the wind, the ambient temperature really isn’t that bad. I spent several winters in nothing but a light jacket made of canvas (think the unlined army jackets, only it was tailored more womanly), and with a sweater under it, it was quite warm enough, because it blocked that infernal wind.

So light jacket with warm sweater or warm jacket with light shirt. Not both warm.

ETA: And, if you’re going into buildings a lot, TAKE OFF YOUR HAT (and gloves and scarf) right away. Don’t wait until you feel uncomfortably warm, because if you let it go that long, you’ve begun to sweat, and you’ll hate yourself when you go back outside.

LOL. pretty much what DMark said, altho i personally nix the long johns. not exactly fashion statement material. :slight_smile: i lived there for several years and it truly is a six-month winter season with only a passing nod at spring and fall.

dressing in layers allows you to remove layers or add layers depending on how cold or hot you get.

I’ve lived all but three months of my life in either Chicago or Wisconsin. I agree with the advice on layers.

If I have to be outside for an extended period of time when it’s really cold out (for me, that’s around 15 degrees or below, especially if there’s wind), I’ll wear:

  • a sweater or fleece sweatshirt over a turtleneck shirt
  • jeans over long underwear
  • wool socks
  • boots
  • a parka from Lands End with some sort of high-tech insulation
  • a fur hat with earflaps
  • a wool scarf
  • heavy-duty gloves

At that point, tbe only place I get cold is my hands (which get cold even with the warmest gloves, when it’s really cold out).

How do you put your arms down?

I layer up a bit, but not overly so. Regular pants, dress shirt, normal socks, a fleece pullover that can zip up all the way to my chin (rather than needing a scarf) and a good winter ski jacket (not down) from REI. Plus gloves and a ski hat. This works pretty well all the way down to the single digits (it was 14 today when I left my place and I was fairly comfortable). My legs don’t normally get too cold without long underwear until it gets down to the single digits. Then I also break out the ski gloves as opposed to the fairly standard gloves I normally wear. If I needed to walk more than 10-15 minutes I’d consider adding some more layers or heavier ones.

I usually wear a t-shirt, then a long sleeve shirt of some kind. I have a Columbia winter jacket and I wear a stocking cap with ear flaps. I never really notice my legs getting cold, so I just wear normal pants/jeans and underwear. I don’t care for gloves or scarves. I grew up north of Minneapolis where it was a good deal colder than Chicago, so I don’t really find the temperature too bad here.

The lack of sunlight is a different issue.

Wesley, a couple of questions. What kind of coat are you wearing? Are you sweating while outsaide or just when you are inside?

I’ve been wearing a sweater with a spring/fall Land’s End jacket over it and it’s been fine. I save the heavy down Sasquatch-hunting coat for times when I’ll be out all day, taking the kids sledding or something.

Really? It doesn’t get cold these days until November at the earliest (and often over 40 well into December) and thaws out by March. I haven’t seen a “real” cold, snow-on-the-ground November-April winter in years. Probably a decade, at least.

It is a heavy winter coat, and this was in November when I had these problems the worst.

I sweat when I am outside in that outfit. I think it is because I am used to dressing for cold temperatures and not really for the wind chill, which seems to require a different outfit. So something that blocks the wind chill rather than something that insulates and traps warm body heat would hopefully work better.

Back in November, I was dressing more or less the same as described above, but wearing a lighter coat; the fleece underneath it kept me nice and protected from the wind and the coat was good enough to block the wind but not as warm as the more heavy-duty coat I’m wearing this month…

If you want to look like a tourist wear a puffy coat. Those of us from cold weather cities have learned long ago that the new superfleeces are as warm when it’s needed, and less sweaty when it’s not, and always a whole hell of a lot more comfortable, when you need to do something like move an arm.

But don’t wear a snowboarder coat( Very long, hanging cords. tough-ass shell that feels like canvas except it’s nylon or something) unless you are under 25, or under 30 and very tall and skinny, otherwise you look like a doof.

I have a storm coat. Lightweight down, 48" long, so it reaches to my lower calf. (I’m short)

If it’s 20F or above, I wear the coat over just what I’m wearing indoors comfortably. It double-zips up the front with a double collar so in that temp no scarf is needed. Pull up the hood and a pair of gloves, and I’m set.

If it’s under 20F, I add a hoodie and a scarf. The hoodie gets tied down tight if it’s windy, and the big coat’s hood gets buttoned. Scarf on the outside to go around my face/nose. That’s pretty rare, though, and usually only needed if it’s bad snowy out.

In both cases, once I’m inside anywhere, whether it’s train, bus, or store, I pull down the hood and unzip immediately to let the heat out from my torso.

Really? for 15° F? That seems way too much to me, for walking outside and taking transit, as the OP mentions.

For 15° F (-10° C), walking and going into and out of buildings and on transit, I’d wear a shirt, a sweater, and a winter coat, plus a scarf and gloves. I’d have a toque in my pocket in case I was outside longer than planned, or if the wind really gets up, but normally wouldn’t wear it in the situation in the OP. Jeans (no long johns) and boots. If I’m indoors or on transit, I’d unbutton the jacket and take off the gloves.

I wear a coat, a sweater or sweatshirt, and an undershirt. That’s it. Thinsulate hat and gloves. I don’t bother with a scarf. It’s Chicago, not the friggin’ Arctic Circle. It rarely gets cold enough (to me) that I need additional layers. Long underwear? Haven’t worn that since I was about 8. Just make sure you have a good coat that’s rated for cold weather, and you’ll be fine. People make out Chicago winters to be a lot worse than they actually are. I love them.

ETA: To be fair, I’m also the guy who, when allowed complete control of the thermostat, would keep it at 56F in the winter, so perhaps I run a few degrees cooler than most folks.

Okay people, I nearly fell off my chair with laughter :D, when I read some of the comments you all had to say about our Chicago cold winters and how to dress in it. I am a firm believer in all of it, but I became a SCARF designer, because of all the health benefits received and how I prevented myself from getting those nasty little colds because of how I protect my chest area with the types of wool and materials which I design with.

Well imagine little me, born in Hawaii and loving all that sunshine…then having to adjust to the cold freeze of Chicago. Worse than that, I had to live in my youthful days 11 years in the Sweden (with my parents!) which is as about as cold as Chicago, moreso even though it is on the same lattitude! (remember your geography from school?).

When I became a grown up person, as an artist I became a WOOL scarf designer and pronto! I actually spent some years designing and perfecting the ultimate WARM outdoors scarf for men and women to protect the chest areas, using the best quality yarns that hold up to many more times body heat and yet leaves breathing room for not getting too steamy.

I originally made this scarf only for myself, tested it and after I prevented myself from ever getting another winter cold again, I knew it was time for me to start up a business and sell this “puppie”.

Okay, so I dragged my feet a bit and had a fall down accident that forced me into hand strengthen treatments, before I really got my business going. But anyways fast forwarding some decades, I finally presented my Cherry Belle collection in 2009 and still can be seen at [link broken by moderator] and although there are mostly women scarves, I make them for all people including the pets.

I removed the link to your business, Sharon DeLaCruz. From the Registration Agreement: