So it’s getting a bit cold outside as winter approaches and you’ve come from a country that doesn’t get quite as cold? Never fear, here’s a handy guide for getting started for your first American winter. The cold can be great fun if you follow these simple rules and take care of yourself! Snow can even be great fun (at least for a day until it turns to sludge).

The most important thing you need to do is buy the appropriate winter gear. Yes, you need to, because no, sorry, the clothes you own probably won’t cut it.

A good winter coat

It’s going to get cold, so the most important thing you can buy is a proper coat.

If I can give only one tip about choosing a coat, it’s that you shouldn’t get the cheapest one when you pick one. I’m not saying you should go the most expensive either but buy one that will last, and that works with everything you wear (or at least most).

Get a woolen coat or a wool-cashmere coat if you’re going for layers, or if you’re headed down the parka path then look for something with a high quality down that has a “fill power” of 500+ (I really sound like I know what I’m talking about, huh!).

Be sure to try it on in person, or use Amazon so that you can return it if it doesn’t fit because you’re going to be wearing this thing almost every day and you want it to be functional (and look good).

Thermals, thermals, and more thermals

This is the hottest tip going around.

Go to Uniqlo (I love this place) and buy yourself some HEATTECH (for men, and for women). It’s the best.

I like the “ULTRA WARM” stuff, but that’s up to you. It’s worth every penny because I, for one, wear them every single day under everything. Layers are the best thing you can do, and with this at your core, you’re set.

You’re going to need some waterproof boots for the snow

From here, you’re going to have to work with your own budget, but I would recommend getting something of a reasonably high-quality boot (you’re sensing my theme now – I know it’s expensive).

Brands that get mentioned a lot are Sorel, LL Bean, and Timberland.

You’re going to hear the term “duck boot”, too, and that means one of these:

Duck boots are weird

Yes, they look utterly ridiculous and I haven’t bought one yet but everyone will tell you that they’re the best for when it gets slushy… and it’s going to get slushy.

Gloves for keeping fingers intact

Do you like your fingers?

Well, you should get some gloves because otherwise, they might fall off.

Try and find one that will work with your cell phone, because otherwise you’re going to be taking them on and off so often and they become basically useless.

You might need something waterproof

It’s going to get wet and rainy as well as snowy so you might consider buying a shell from Uniqlo or similar just for those times that you need an extra functional layer.

Buy yourself an umbrella

For those times where a waterproof coat isn’t the stylish go-to.

BUT PLEASE DON’T BUY A DAMN GOLF UMBRELLA IF YOU LIVE IN A CITY LIKE NEW YORK. NOBODY NEEDS THOSE GIANT THINGS POKING ME IN THE EYE.

Again, Amazon has lots of them and make sure you get one that can blow inside out because it will happen when you wander to a bar too close to the Hudson. It’s so windy over there!

A nice scarf and beanie or “hat” to top things off

A scarf and a beanie are easy additions that keep you extra warm. Again, for the best quality, stick with natural fibers because they’re going to keep you warm without getting sweaty (which is a real problem when you catch the train or go into stores and it’s suddenly really warm).

If I can make one request, don’t buy ALL gray and black clothes, throw a little bit of color in. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel with a bright orange beanie, bright blue scarf or lighter colored coat!


That’s all for clothing, but don’t worry, there’s more!

Keep reading about how to prepare your apartment for the winter in America.

You can also find out my tips for getting around outside in the colder weather.