"There is no such thing as bad weather, there are just bad ways to dress for it"
Think about it. It’s all perspective. You don’t have to be cold outside. Dress appropriately! Even when it’s cold and even when it’s snowing, even when it's -10 degrees outside plus windchill, I still get at least 10,000 steps every single day. It's a non-negotiable. Why? Regular movement throughout the day makes me more energized, more mobile, more focused, and improves my mental health.
Even though I was born and raised in Wisconsin, it has taken me until my mid 20s to figure out how to dress for the weather. Quality is everything. Is quality cold-weather gear expensive? Yes, but it is so worth it and it'll last forever. Here are the pieces of winter gear that have changed my life and have stood the test of time.
COAT: Women's Outerboroughs Parka from Northface. Warm doesn't have to be ugly. I wear a sweater under this thing when it's <20 degrees and a t-shirt when it's warmer than 20 degrees. If it's 35+, I don't wear this coat as it is pretty dang warm. The fluffy hood is so nice for blocking wind from your face and when zipped all the way up, it covers your chin for extra warmth of the face.
Pants: Down Pants from Mountain Hardwear. If it's windy or below 20 degrees, joggers simply don't cut it. WARNING: these are warm. Honestly, I wear shorts under these unless it's below 0 degrees. They can go over your boots, or be tucked in. They're super lightweight and you can still move effortlessly in them. They're water resistance, but not water proof.
Boots: Adirondack III Boots from Ugg. When I tell you my feet are the first thing to get cold..yet my feet have never been cold in these, not in -20 degree weather and not snowshoeing. They're water proof, lined with sheep skin, and so comfortable. They are super stylish, too! Perfect for snowy, slushy, cold conditions.
Socks: Darn Tough Socks. These are the best socks for those who spend a lot of time outside in the winter or summer. They're made mostly of merino wool and keep your feet at a good temperature and you can literally wear them for a week straight and they won't stink. They fit perfectly into hiking shoes and winter boots. I cannot recommend these enough.
Gloves: Gordini Down Gloves. Okay, these aren't the most functional as far as being able to move your fingers, but they WILL keep your fingers toasty. They're waterproof and come with a wrist strap so you can take them on an off easily without losing them. They're wide enough at the wrist so they can go over your coat. They've changed my life, because like my feet, my hands are WEAK when it comes to cold weather.
Headband: Smartwool Thermal Merino Wool Headband. This is my top choice when it's not cold enough for a hat or I don't want to smash my hair down, but need to keep my ears warm. It's great for running in the winter, as it's lightweight and stays in place.
Hat: Carhartt Beanie. Basic, I know, but actually SO warm, even when it's windy outside.
Face Mask: Balaclava Ski Mask from Tough Hardware. For those super cold days when it's windy and the hat and hood alone don’t cut it, I wear a full blown face mask where the only exposure are my eyes. It's not terribly comfortable breathing into a mask, but it sure does help keep the painfully cold air away.