There are many reasons to love Chicago. They just don't spring to mind when we're trudging up the steps to the train platform or waiting for the bus in the middle of a lousy winter day.
I think of our style at this time of year as the Chicago Hunch-over — bent over and heads turtled into our collars, trying to stay warm on the shores of a fierce Great Lake.
I can't make the temperature rise to springlike levels — not even weather guru Tom Skilling can do that — but I can give you some strategies for making your commute, walk to school or trek to pick up some diapers (and pizza and hot chocolate) less miserable.
It's astounding how many of us just don't dress for the weather. It's as though we think that if we leave the house in flimsy shoes and without a hat and gloves, the sun will miraculously shine, trees will blossom and it will be May, not January. Not gonna happen. And trust me: It's going to get worse before it gets better.
So, as a public service, I put together a seven-point guide — with the finds modeled by co-worker Amy Winter — to making the best of the worst a Chicago winter has to offer. The magic word? Layers.
What to wear
Warm head. This is crucial — don't forget the ears! This hat has a plug and built-in speakers for your music (Old Navy, $24.94, oldnavy.com).
Down parka. The longer the better, with snap closure on top of the zipper for best wind protection (Laundry by Shelli Segal, $340 reduced to $136, Macy's, macys.com). Look for the knit cuffs inside sleeves and a hood.
Scarf and turtleneck. A scarf, tied tight, keeps snow from dribbling down the neck of your coat. (Chart Club cashmere scarf, $88 reduced to $44, Macy's, macys.com.) A turtleneck shirt beneath is added security (Lands' End, $24.50 reduced to $12.25, Sears, sears.com).
Long knit tunic. It covers more turf than a mere sweater ($24.80, Forever21, forever21.com).
Heavy wool-lined pants. These are the model's own; add thick tights beneath for extra warmth.
Warm feet. Keeping feet warm is a priority (and a challenge). Don't cheap out on boots, and be sure they're waterproof (Sorel, Cate the Great, $200, sorel.com). And even if boots are fleece-lined, you can't go wrong with two (or three) pairs of socks.