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Layer Up

By Lauren Saint Valdez

It may not seem necessary to layer clothing when living in California.  We may have a late start to cold weather in the later seasons and it may seem rare to see conditions lower than 70º.  Even so, everyone should know how to keep themselves warm, even in California cold.  Though many think layering is equivalent to wearing a nylon-cotton hoodie or a leather coat on top of a thin tee, going only as far as a coat on top of a single layer in 60º or lower is not going to keep you concentrated on anything other than the goosebumps on your arms.  

When you think about staying warm, the first thing that may come to mind might be your core, arms, legs, possibly ears or neck. However, despite these ideas, most heat is lost from your head. Feet also play a vital role in the discomfort you may be feeling from the cold, because our feet contain a large amount of blood vessels—similar to our hands—by allowing more heat to flow out of them rather than collecting. Since they are at the end of our limbs, this also makes them prone to cooling down quicker due to containing exceedingly less heat-producing muscles. So the next time you’re cold, remember that it’s probably due to your bare hands or feet and try putting on a warm pair of mittens or a thicker pair of socks.

Although layering is very important for your wellbeing, we do still live in California, meaning you don’t need to layer up for as much as you may think. So to make sure you aren’t overheating, when dressing, remember the 3-layer rule: a base layer, middle layer, and an outer layer, according to The Washington Post. Base, meaning a thin, sweat-proof layer that could be a pain polyester fabric t-shirt or long sleeve, or something separate from any undergarments, meaning a long/short sleeve polyester top. As for the middle,a warm sweater—preferably cotton, cashmere or even wool fiber on colder days. And finally the outer—this layer is meant to protect you from rain or even hail, meaning it should be waterproof. These can get expensive, so some more affordable brands like Tentree or Nau, both of which are sustainable brands that use organic fabrics to manufacture their clothing, might be preferable. However, if it’s not raining, going as far as a waterproof outer would just be uncomfortable, so just a thick coat would do the trick.

On colder days, you may even need to layer your bottom layers. For girls, this is already pretty common, such as leggings like thermal wear underneath sweats or jeans, or fleece-lined mesh leggings under dresses or skirts. For guys, however, this is something only to really occur when skiing. However, there are times when it’s too cold to just wear a pair of jeans or cotton  sweats on their own. Thermal wear, such as compression tights under your outer layer, would help a lot with cold discomfort. The Under Armor coldgear is a great option; good for days where you want to be layered up but not overheating.  Because we live in California and never think about the real cold, we don’t feel the need to be educated on things like layering on a day-to-day basis. But being cold is not a concept, and we need to get used to it, even if we don’t see this because we live in a warmer weather state. But that doesn’t mean you’re always gonna be naturally warm.  So don’t be afraid to layer up because it does truly help to put and keep you in the right mindset. And if you get too warm, you’re wearing layers for a reason.