People who spend a lot of time outdoors know enough to dress in layers. Dressing in layers is a fairly common strategy for protecting yourself against the weather. This winter, some of us will undoubtedly be dressing in layers. But perhaps winter 2020-21 will be the year that all of us learn to do it.
An article recently appearing on the New York Post website describes a list of clothing items New Yorkers need to effectively dress in layers this fall and winter. For the purposes of this post, the articles of clothing do not matter. What is important is the premise of the article: the fact that coronavirus may have us spending more time outdoors than usual.
Contributors April Hardwick and Catherine Kast begin their piece with a statement on social distancing. In essence, they stated that socializing outside is the safest way to go. So if we’re going to be outside more often, we need to dress in layers.
Holiday Gatherings outside
Hardwick and Kast’s premise might sound a bit off-base at first. But consider California’s rules for Thanksgiving get-togethers. Authorities in the Golden State say holiday gatherings should be conducted only outside. Guests should only venture indoors to use the restroom.
Can you imagine that? Having Thanksgiving dinner outdoors is not a big deal in San Diego, Los Angeles, and other warm weather environments. It is not such a wonderful thing in Northern California. That says nothing for other states.
Can you imagine Thanksgiving outside in upstate New York? How about Minnesota, Nebraska, or Colorado? Forget ‘buckle up buttercup’, you need to bundle up if you plan to spend five or six hours sitting in lawn chairs out in the backyard at the end of November.
Layering for Warmth
The people behind The Stockist clothing boutique in Salt Lake City, Utah explain that layering is all about warmth. Multiple layers can help keep you warm in a couple of different ways. First and foremost, each layer provides some measure of insulation. The air trapped between layers improves their insulating effects.
Multiple layers also help keep cold air out by blocking the wind. And if you know anything about how the body deals with perspiration, you know just how important that is. Speaking of perspiration, that is the second benefit of dressing in layers.
In a layered scenario, the layer closest to the skin absorbs most perspiration. Therefore, a material with generous wicking properties is ideal. That material can absorb perspiration and, if necessary, pass it to the next layer as well. The net effect is that perspiration is kept away from the skin. This helps keep you warm by reducing nature’s cooling effect.
Layers for Cooling
Dressing in layers is not only about keeping warm. It is also about cooling off when necessary. Imagine you are enjoying your Thanksgiving gathering when the sun comes out. You’re starting to feel warm within just a few minutes. If you are dressed in layers, you can take off the top layer to prevent overheating. Put it back on when you start feeling chilly again.
You cannot do this when you’re relying on a big, heavy coat to keep you warm. That coat is the only layer over and above your primary clothing. Taking it off is not an option as you would be cold if you did. See the problem?
If the New York Post is right, we will be spending more time outdoors this fall and winter. So follow their advice and beef up your wardrobe. Make sure you have enough clothing that you will be able to effectively dress in layers.