From smoking hot into frostburns – how to wear???

by Tatu Kankaanpää, degree student in Media

People tend to invest a lot in fashion. Oftentimes most of the clothes, especially the ones deemed sexy aren’t very practical in the Nordic climate.

A black leather mitten in hand.

So warm, so practical – and even beautiful!

Finland has a range of different weathers across the year. Summers tend to be either rainy and chilly or warm and sunny. Winters however are cold without an exception, at least for someone who isn’t used to -8°c being mild. Thankfully you don’t actually need to spend much time outside and you can use public transportation in cities, but there are times when you need to spend time outside, such as trips to more rural places, when you’re out drinking or just have to take part in outdoor activities in general, be it some kind of an event or just chopping firewood.

Bottom should be of material that keeps you dry and doesn’t give you a tingling sensation on your skin. Tech fibers such as polypropylene or merino wool are good. You should never use cotton as it dampens fairly easily, but dries slowly. Ensure that the clothes you use are skin tight, so sweating happens on the top of the clothes and not underneath.

The staying dry is both the comfortability as well and to prevent sweat from cooling down and freezing your body when the level of activity drops.

The middle layer is the layer whose purpose is to insulate heat and to propel moisture further away from the bottom layer. Great materials are polar fleece and wool. This layer shouldn’t be too tight, since the actual insulator is the air between the layers.

Topmost layer can either be a shell jacket, whose purpose is to deflect wind or an insulated jacket if air is nighing arctic temperatures. Down jackets are the most comfortable as they’re lightweight and have the best insulation in general.

As for limbs, get good gloves. If it’s very cold, you should use mittens instead of gloves, the reason being that having your fingers side by side keep them warm better than when they’re separated. For the same reason you should never wear gloves underneath the mittens. A common mistake for tourists visiting Lapland is that they’re wearing something that fits the middle European winter underneath their mittens and the heat of blood circulation escapes and doesn’t warm their hands properly. Wear enough socks and make sure your shoes aren’t too tight. It’s pointless to have a warm shoe if your foot doesn’t get any blood flow anyway.

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