Often times when you hear the word “accessory,” it’s meant as an afterthought. But winter-weather accessories are not optional. In fact, accessories are critical gear that make you look and feel good.
Still, shopping for winter clothing and accessories can seem a bit overwhelming. New fabrics and insulations are constantly changing, and the latest lingo (you’ll learn what a neck gaiter is below) can be intimidating. But there’s no need to worry. Our winter-weather accessories guide makes shopping for versatile winter apparel easy and easy-to-understand.
Headwear: Up to 60 percent of your body’s heat can escape from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat, headband or helmet is essential when it’s cold. (Tip: If you wear a hat, you may be able to wear one less layer on your body.) There are thousands of styles of hats and headbands, usually made from fleece or wool. Many have non-itch liners. In a continuing trend, several manufacturers also feature organic cotton, hemp and natural dyes in their headwear lines. Helmets are becoming very popular, too. Not only do they protect your head from bumps, but they also keep your head warm. A fleece neck gaiter (like a collar) or facemask is a must-have on cold winter days.
Sunglasses and goggles: Sunglasses do much more than make you look cool. They also protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. Several manufacturers have developed products for women featuring retro styling with high-tech materials to properly fit a women’s face without sliding. Likewise, many companies have women’s products with a portion of the proceeds benefiting non-profit organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Boarding for Breast Cancer. For men, look for large-framed, fashion forward sunglasses in new color hues offering the maximum in eye protection. Finally, on flat-light days or when it’s snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly discern terrain features.
Gloves and mittens: Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Those with Gore-Tex and leather, featured throughout this year’s collections are particularly good at keeping hands warm and dry. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer less dexterity. Also, consider the type of activity you’ll be doing. Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wrist guards that are excellent for novice snowboarders. Cross-country skiing gloves tend to be lighter-weight for extra movement and better absorption.
Socks: One pair of lightweight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable.
An easy solution to selecting the right winter-weather accessories, visit your local specialty retailer and talk with the experts.
Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.