How to Dress for Freezing-Cold Days

Seth Putnam and Jeff Kieslich of The Midwestyle share cold-weather tips from Chicago.

Seth Putnam and Jeff Kieslich of The Midwestyle share cold-weather tips from Chicago.

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Photos: Courtesy of Seth Putnam and Jeff Kieslich

Chicago winters can be brutal. Just ask the unlucky motorists on Lake Shore Drive about the 70-mile-per-hour lake winds that whipped two feet of snow onto the city last February. And when the light vanishes every day a few hours after lunch, moods can get . . . dreary. Next time you step outside, look around. You're surrounded by a sea of black coats—everyone bundled up so tightly they look like living shadows shrinking from the sun, dark silhouettes trudging to work through the gray slush.

Enter your lifeline: color. If you've got the balls to go for an overcoat in a loud hue, hats off to you. But a classic black pea coat ain't bad, either. Take a look.

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Photos: Courtesy of Seth Putnam and Jeff Kieslich

Jeff's got the balls. Color all over the place.

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Photos: Courtesy of Seth Putnam and Jeff Kieslich

I (Seth) fall into the latter camp. I found that old black pea coat for 25 bucks at Leo's, a hole-in-the-wall thrift store in Columbia, Missouri, where cats mill freely about the racks. It's gotten me through four tough winters, and at that price, I'm not giving it up anytime soon.

When you're dressing yourself, consider this:

• Replace the dark trousers or denim you normally wear with different colors and textures that will stand up to the wind. (On Seth: light-blue chambray trousers; on Jeff: white denim.)

• Mix up your scarf game with bold patterns or colors. Go for broke.

• Mind the details like bags, shoelaces, zipper pulls, and gloves—and feel free to stick something in your lapel. Ain't no point in blending in.

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Photos: Courtesy of Seth Putnam and Jeff Kieslich

From left to right: Jeff Kieslich works in retail sales on Michigan Avenue. Seth Putnam is a magazine journalist in Chicago. Cam Niederhauser studies history at the University of Missouri.

Visit Seth and Jeff over at their site, The Midwestyle, where they share all kinds of spot-on wardrobe advice.

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