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Navigating a new climate can be difficult, especially when going from somewhere that’s notorious for being hot and humid all year round, to a city like Baltimore, where there are actual seasons and you have to dress differently for different times of the year, and most of the time you would freeze in most of the stuff you would normally wear back home. So here’s a post for anyone coming from the most southern state, or from anywhere warmer than Baltimore. Here are a few things that I learned from living here for three semesters that helped me survive this arctic tundra of a town.

1. Find a jacket that you love.

A perfect jacket for an 80 degree day in South Florida.

Finding the perfect jacket is essential to not freezing in a real winter scenario. The trick is to find a jacket that works functionally, but is also stylish and something that you’ll want to wear. I suggest looking for something with lots of insulation and easy to reach pockets, as well as a hood to keep your face protected. Also, finding a longer jacket means that more of you is protected from the elements. However, they key is that it also has to be an item of clothing that you find to be fashionable and are willing to wear all the time. Freshman year I had a big, green parka that resembled something you would wear if you were fighting the Russians in winter, or going on an expedition to the North Pole. It was definitely a very functional piece of clothing, with an uncountable number of pockets, a length that almost came down to my knees, and what felt like 6 inches of outerwear puffiness. But I hated wearing it, to the point that I would freeze in smaller jackets until it got cold enough so that it was absolutely necessary for me to wear it. Now, I have a jacket that is much more streamlined and simplified, that I love to wear, until it’s actually too warm for me to!

2. Layer!

Layers are surprisingly important! (Or at least they were for me)

So, when I first experienced living in winter, I thought that all I really needed was a jacket, and that I could wear whatever I wanted to underneath. But layers make a huge difference in comfort and in warmth. The more layers you can fit underneath your outwear the better! It is also important to get a variety of layering items, and to make sure they fit nicely together. As pictured (on my sister), a great starting point can be a neutral turtleneck or other long sleeve tee, that can be made cute with either a graphic t-shirt on top, a chunky knit, or for a more trendy look, something like this furry vest, to add texture and warmth to your outfit! Layering is also a part of the outfit that allows you to diversify your winter looks, more so than the jacket you’ll be wearing all the time. This can range from a more casual and relaxed version as shown above to a more sophisticated look, with pieces like a button down or a pussy bow blouse as a first layer, coupled with items like tight knit sweaters or cardigans.

3. Find winter accessories.

Definitely a cute way to protect your face!

Another important element to a winter outfit that definitely has a learning curve for someone from a warm climate are all the accessories that go with it. I always find it really hard to pair scarves and hats with what I’m wearing. And for the longest time, even though they made my feel warmer, I always felt very constricted and uncomfortable in them. One tip I have for finding the easy to use winter accessories is to go two routes: you can either find hats, scarves, and gloves in neutral tones; or do the complete opposite and find them in bright patterns and colors. I find that these two extremes go the best with everything. Neutrals either compliment your outfit, or more vibrant accessories become the focal point. I usually try to pair more neutral accessories with more standout outfits, and save my more eccentric items with more toned down outfits, giving both options some balance. And even though at first I found these accessories to be hard to put on, with time I definitely became more used to it, and realized that they allowed me to not be so miserable outside, which makes them worth it to put on.

4. Don’t be afraid to stand out!

You don’t have to take my advice THIS literally. But you can if you want.

When buying new clothes for winter don’t be afraid to buy things that are flashy and wonderful and outside the norm. Just always do you, and don’t care too much if you contrast with the bleak season of winter. Wear whatever makes you happy and warm, inside and out.