Braving an East Coast Winter
Updated: Jan 13
I know many of my viewers, like myself, decided to leave their hometowns and go to the East Coast for college. Whether you moved to Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or so on, there is one thing all of these places have in common: they all are freezing in the winter. And if you are from California, get ready to hear “Oh how are you going to handle the cold” or “why would you want to leave the sun for this” constantly. I know before I started Boston University I was so nervous for my first winter. Everyone always talked about how cold Boston got, the chilling wind, and how you could not go out with wet hair without it freezing. But I am happy to report, an East Coast winter is doable, and with the right items and attitude you can easily make it through your first winter. So, if you are starting to get worried on how you are going to survive this winter, this is for you.
Accept that it is going to be cold from January until mid April.
I know this is something that is hard to grasp, but understanding that it will be cold for the next four months is better than expecting only a few weeks of cold temperatures. It will be cold and you will not love every moment of it, but it’s not the end of the world.
Just Above the Knee Coat
This is a no-brainer, but it is essential to have a coat that hits just above your knee if you don’t want to become a popsicle in the winter. I also recommend having a shorter (not cropped) coat for the days when it is above the 30s; having a longer coat provides extra warmth for your legs which makes a huge difference in the winter. I know you might feel like they are unfashionable, but everyone wears them, so don’t worry about that.
Coats are a big investment so do some research before buying one, and make sure it is the right fit and something you could see yourself wearing for the next few years. I recommend getting a neutral color because the red or hunter green might be super fun to wear this season, but you might find it more difficult to wear later on.
Some popular brands for winter coats: Patagonia, North Face, Canada Goose, Aritzia Super Puff
If I had to pick one thing besides my coat that I needed to get through a cold winter, it would be thermals. I know it’s hard to believe that there are going to be some days when it is simply too cold to go out without a pair of thermal leggings under your jeans, but it is, and it happens more often than not. Thermals seriously make such a huge difference, and I am guilty of wearing them all the time because I hate it when my legs are cold. My favorite thermals are no longer sold by Frye, but Patagonia also makes some great ones as well.
Loose Fit Jeans
Something that you want to remember is that if you are going to be wearing thermals, you are probably not going to be able to get your skinniest jeans over them. I suggest getting a few pairs of looser fitting denim so you can easily wear thermals under. You could also size up in a pair of jeans if you like the style in ones you already have. Also, try and avoid jeans with holes or cropped jeans if you plan on wearing thermals.
My favorite brands: Urban Outfitters, Maje, Revice, Madewell
Touch gloves are such an essential for a college student. Taking your gloves off to answer a text to or check your phone is the absolute worst. I have done this more often than not, and you will be surprised how taking off your gloves for only a minute or two will really change your overall temperature. Thats why touch gloves are such a lifesaver because you can easily send a text without taking your gloves off. Just be sure to know whether or not the gloves you get have touch pads for all fingers or if it is just the thumbs and index fingers.
My personal pick: The North Face Touch Gloves
This is essential to staying warm. Something that is frustrating is that many of the classrooms on BU’s campus are heated extremely high during the winter, making it difficult to stay in your warm sweaters and scarves. I always like to have either a light long sleeve or tee shirt under my sweaters in case the classrooms are sweltering. Layering is also a great idea because the weather is unpredictable and it is nice to have something to take off in case it does end up being a bit warmer during the day.
Typical Layers: Tee/ Long Sleeve, Big Sweater, Optional Scarf, Coat
Bottoms: Thermals, Denim
Below is a super helpful guide if you need more info on how to layer properly!
Guide Credit: Bloglovin'
Big Blanket Scarf
I love having a huge scarf to wrap around me, especially on the windier days in Boston. Being able to wrap it around your face is such a necessity when walking through the wind tunnels around campus. Having a soft and cozy scarf makes me in a way better mood too, so I love making scarves a staple in my winter wardrobe.
Brands I like: ASOS, Nordstrom Rack, Saks off Fifth
Docs/ Water Repellent Boot
I have both a pair of Doc Martens and a pair water repellent boots by Emu Australia and I’m not sure how I would have survived last year without them. I love Emu because they make Chelsea style boots that are so cute and completely waterproof! It is so important to have a boot with traction because the roads get so slippery and it is very easy to fall. Your current booties may be cute, but you are going to be slipping and sliding out there, so please do yourself a favor a get a boot with grip and traction.
Last but not least: Please don’t go out wearing nothing to a frat or party in the middle of winter. Learn from all of us who have done this and gotten super sick from going out in just a shirt and jeans. Bring a cheap jacket (incase you lose it), and take it off when you get there. If you are worried about finding a place to put it, stuff it in a cabinet or closet and it will be there when you get back. It is so much better to be warm than freezing in these situations.
Well there you have my essentials for braving your first east coast winter. I know it may seem overwhelming, but it is totally doable, and everyone is in it together. Also just remember everyone is cold, so if you are missing the California sun extra hard one day just know everyone is, even the people not from California! I hope this helped and outlined some essentials needed for this winter. Good luck, I know you guys can do this!