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The Best Gear to Keep Warm All Winter

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What’s the Best Cold-Weather Gear?

It’s the middle of January, which means that yes, it’s really winter, and yes, much of the country has been plunged into freezing (or below freezing) temperatures. It sucks! We’ve spent the last few months telling you all about the best puffers (some of which are now on sale) and cheap beanies we’ve found, but we also wanted to hear about your favorite recs. Coats, boots, mittens, long underwear — here’s all the tough stuff that keeps you very, very warm when it’s very, very cold.

I just discovered and purchased a Rudsak coat. I never thought I could be so toasty and still feel chic. Oh, and my White + Warren travel scarf. It's so huge, nothing can penetrate my neck! —Sonia, New York

My Ugg Kensington Boots with wool inside. I can wear them in the snow and ice without socks, and my feet are always toasty warm! Also, a tube scarf I made myself in a round loom; you can make it long and pull over your head like a hood when needed. —Chryl, New Jersey

There is nothing warmer than my Penfield Hoosac down mountain parka. My first DC winter was rough — I quickly learned that the oh-so-cute jean jacket I love would not cut it. After weeks of searching (and freezing), I finally found this cozy, down-filled coat. It's water-resistant, the coyote fur around the hood doesn't freeze when it gets wet, and it's pretty stylish, too. This jacket literally prevented me from relocating back to Georgia! —Elizabeth, Washington, DC

I love this Madewell hat for winter because it doesn't slide off my head. It hangs at just the right angle to keep my head warm and is made of soft cashmere. Not only that, but the subtle color can match with anything. —Charlene, New York

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New England can be -5 degrees or 20 or 40, but no matter what, you gotta have long underwear. My all-time favorites came from the Athleta catalog before they were Gapified. You can wear them under any pair of pants, and I do all winter, November to April. And you need a fleece: I could not get by without the purple herringbone Columbia zippered jacket I got a few years ago at REI. It is just the right weight to pair with a turtleneck (like a cotton one from Uniglo) and goes with everything — at least, everything I wear all winter long. —Vicky, Massachusetts

A hot water bottle with a cashmere cover. I guess it's more of a sleep accessory, but I am OBSESSED. —Alex, California

My Hunter boot socks are my favorite cold weather item because while I love my Hunters for trekking through the NYC post-snow slush, they aren't really that warm. The boot socks make a difference in keeping my toes cozy! I size up in the boots to have room for the socks and a pair of regular socks. —Dina, New York

My Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 traceable down parka. Waterproof, windproof, and temperature-rated for -20 degrees. It’s the best $600 I ever spent, and way warmer than a Canada Goose. —Katie, New Jersey

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I’m pretty much obsessed with all of Uniqlo Heattech. I wear it underneath everything, including my jumper skirts and blouses, to keep me toasty. —Carolyn, Pennsylvania

I nabbed a $5 Army surplus jacket from a thrift shop in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley area. (Here's a 'gram of it!) I was shopping with my sister and her two tiny children — who were wailing at the time — so it was a hard/fast game-time decision. It's so easy to layer for chillier days or wear over just a tank top when it's more balmy. Kinda perfect for Atlanta's erratic winters. —Beca, Georgia  

Mittens. I know: Who wants to look like a five-year-old? Turns out I do! I have never been happier to have my hands ensconced in a cartoonish bubble of Thinsulate-lined fleece. They are Bickley + Mitchell brand, which meant nothing to me until I bought these two winters ago. —Asad, New York

SmartWool socks! If you can’t shake the cold from your feet, you will never feel warm. I tend to overheat easily, but SmartWool socks don’t make you sweaty at all; they just seem to insulate you and ward off bone chills. —Hillary, California

I’ve had this North Face down jacket for ten years now. I bought it before going to Paris to visit my daughter when she was studying abroad there. It’s practically an antique at this point, but it’s the best coat I’ve ever bought. —Michele, Florida

NBA Players’ Love for Turtlenecks, Explained
LeBron James in a turtleneck.

Unless you’re a fan of rewatching cop movies from around 1970 — Shaft or Steve McQueen’s Bullitt, anyone? — you might not see a lot of turtlenecks out in the wild. Sure, the piece is pretty trendy right now, but it’s not always the easiest to pull off and look good in. The exception to this rule is NBA players, who were early adopters to the turtleneck — one of the few items of clothing that easily fits their abnormally large bodies and is cleared by the league’s dress code.

The turtleneck is beloved by the likes of Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, and a pair of Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love and LeBron James, among many others. Maybe no one pulls it off better than James, who recently wore a turtleneck for the cover of his Sports Illustrated “Sportsmen of the Year” issue.

What may have really helped the turtleneck catch on is that it’s one of three tops, along with a sweater or “dress shirt,” sanctioned by the NBA dress code. And out of those options, Megan Ann Wilson, an athlete stylist who works with NBA players like Andre Drummond, Wesley Johnson, and Stanley Johnson, says that it’s not hard to understand why NBA players gravitate toward turtlenecks.

“They're definitely something more guys can fit off the rack instead of the typical button-up or something you might have to get tailored,” Wilson explains. “Most turtlenecks are made from a knit — knits are stretchier.”

But this is only the engine that gets the whole thing moving. The other reasons turtlenecks have caught on are much less practical, and therefore a lot more fun — kind of like a windmill dunk compared to a lay-up.

“Some players just think Steve Jobs is super wavy,” Wilson says.

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Just One Thing
How a Gimmicky Hair Towel Turban Won Me Over
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Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Turban, $30

For years, I’ve been listening to hair stylists talk about how we should be gentle when drying our hair. Don’t rub it vigorously with a big fluffy towel, or do so at your hair cuticles’ peril. Oh, and this advice: Wrap your hair in a T-shirt to dry because it’s much gentler and will prevent frizziness. I’ve tried the latter, and let me tell you, there’s nothing less effective than a sopping wet T-shirt on your head.

A few weeks ago, an Aquis hair turban ($30) landed on my desk. I dismissed it as an unnecessary gimmick and continued to throw all caution to the wind with my old, rough towels. But I ultimately decided to try it because I’ve never been able to do that thing where you wrap your hair in a towel artfully and walk around looking like a screen siren. How does it stay on? It defies physics. Anyway, I decided to try this towel only because I wanted to see how elegant and swanlike my neck would look with a towel perched on my head.

Turns out the Aquis is great. First and foremost, it stays on your head thanks to a button on one end and a loop on the other, as well as strategically placed elastic on the edges. Also, it’s really wicking, but somehow did not drip at all even after I put it on my head sopping wet.

I’ve been wearing it in the mornings right after I get out of the shower and before I blow dry my hair. It really cuts down on my blow drying time, not to mention keeps the hair off my face so I can put my makeup on. 

I also wear it if I shower at night. Thanks to years of bleach and heat styling, my ends are a mess, so I use some heavy duty leave-in conditioners at night (currently loving this one). I slather it on my wet head, put the Aquis turban on, then take it off about an hour later. My hair is then mostly dry and very, very soft.

It’s definitely better than using your dad’s old Santana T-shirt to dry your hair. Sorry I doubted you, hyper-specific towel. —Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter

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