January 15, 2008

Cozy Gloves

To protect our hands in the chilly winter (they are one of the coldest extremities!) a pair of cozy gloves is an essential investment.
Having grown up in the subtropics all my life, I never really needed to wear gloves. So when I went the States, I got really excited and thought, "Yes! Now I can finally wear all those cute woolen gloves with the matching hats that they sell from Ralph Lauren!" I even bought a matching pink cable knit beanie, scarf and gloves in preparation! Unfortunately, when I finally got to the windy city, I realized that the measley protection that my woolen mittens were not enough. Not only were my fingers numbed from the cold, but the gloves got WET (from the snow) and made my hands even colder! (Above: RL)
And so I finally decided to invest in a pair of more serious gloves. My attention turned to leather gloves, because they were waterproof and they looked fitted enough that I'd be able to kinda utilize my fingers. I finally settled on a pair from Marshall Field's with serious looking lambswool lining (it was fluffy looking). They've served me well for the last three years. Recently, I also bought a pair of leather gloves with faux fur lining from Milan cause it was on sale, it looked so sleek and the fur lining inside felt soo nice and divine (almost real like!). Though they've both served their purpose for me so far, but I have to admit, on occasions when I'm outdoors in the negative degrees for too long, my hands and fingers still get numb from the cold afterwards! (Above: RL)
This made me wonder how people survived wearing those thin lined leather gloves of cashmere, silk and fleece when my very serious fluffy ones don't quite do the job! My friend who owns a pair that is lined with cashmere, claims that the warming properties of cashmere does the trick- even better than faux fur. She let me tried her gloves for 10 seconds and it felt warm enough, but I'm still skeptical. It just doesn't make logical sense for me! I know cashmere is extra warm, but ultimately it is still really really thin. Can it possibly top the job of many many layers of fluff? (Left: RL, Right: Saks)
Oh and if you like to build snowmans, go skiing or have a snowball fight i.e. anything that involves direct contact with snow, a pair of very very serious waterproof super fluffed up North Face style gloves is probably a good idea. I made the mistake of going skiing with my first pair of leather gloves and the leather was positively ruined (in my defense, it was my first time skiing and I didn't see the point of getting a pair just for half a day of skiing). After that, since they were ruined anyway, I tried to build a snowman with those gloves (snowman building is SO much harder than it looks on tv!). After an hour not only did my snowman looked pathetic (the snow just wouldn't pack!), but my fingers were beyond frozen and numb- it was burning! How I wish I had a pair of these at that moment........(Above: North Face)

Image Source: Saks, Ralph Lauren and Nordstrom


Blogger Unknown said...

I've always had the exact same problem with my hands freezing even with gloves.

Leather seems the best way to go.

1/16/2008 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had the same experience moving from a warmer place to an area that is even colder than chicago. after quite a few winters of trial and error (like yours!) i have settled on wool as the warmest. i think any warm pair of gloves is going to eventually trap condensation and when that gets cold you freeze. there is probably some technologically advanced material that works better but i haven't found it. i wear fingerless gloves as much as possible for driving and so forth because until it gets really cold they are warmer for me since they do not trap condensation. but of course they don't work if it's really cold or for building a snowman!

1/16/2008 1:25 AM  
Blogger Secretista said...

Love the leather ones.

1/16/2008 6:29 AM  
Blogger Fashion Tidbits said...

i have a leather pair that is pretty warm.. now I want one of those long pairs that go up to the arms!

1/16/2008 8:22 AM  
Blogger Shanti @ Everyday Bohemian said...

Great post :) Having lived in the NW US most of my life, I have had more than my share of experiences in layering and insulating the body (camping in December!). What I've learned is this:

It's not only WHAT is insulating your hands, but how it's insulating. For example, in the winter, if you're cold going to bed, try layering two regular comforters/blankets on top of and below a knit blanket. The heat that escapes from your body while you sleep will be trapped between the two blankets in the pockets of knit blanket between them and you'll be a heck of a lot warmer.

This same logic applies to layering your clothing for camping/skiing/lounging, etc... ;) If you're going to wear a FLEECE, for example, wear a skin-touching cotton or cotton-blend shirt, then a fleece, and then another sweatshirt/coat/windbreaker. You'll be far better insulated because of the "pocket" of warm air that stays in the fluffy fleece. This is also why down blankets are so much warmer than a plain filled comforter - the feathers trap heat better.

That being said, your fur cloves are not giving you enough pocket because there is nothing between the fur and your hands. I have a pair from Nordstrom (tags cut out! don't know who they're by - I got them as a gift) that are leather with a thin micro fleece lining and then a cashmere lining (which is what my hands touch). This extra "pocket" layer keeps my hands toasty for long times :D

Another thing to consider is how much heat your hands are emitting, because the only heat that can be trapped in your gloves is the heat they're producing. Just like it doesn't matter how many pairs of socks you wear when camping in 28 degree weather... if your feet aren't getting good circulation (because they're cold in the first place!), your feet won't get warm. We all learned this the hard way camping as kids... we used to jog around to get our blood moving so we could trap heat in our socks before bed!

Sorry about the rambling! I wanted to give you some logic behind your glove quest, and maybe help you out :)

1/16/2008 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above poster knows what she's talking about! I don't mean to assure stereotypes, but I live in Canada and it gets pretty damn cold up here. And to be honest, if you want your hands to stay warm, go for mittens.

With gloves, your fingers are separated so the minute amount of heat that your hands generate is lost in those big, gaping spaces. With mittens, at least your fingers can help each other out. On those cold days, I get a pair of heavy-duty wool mittens and add a thinner pair of gloves underneath to account for the heat-space the above poster was mentioning.


There's an example of Newfoundland-grade trigger-finger mittens. There's some mobility than with regular mittens and your indie-cred gets boosted ten fold. Everyone wins! But I end up looking for something practical over fashionable in these low temperatures, so perhaps I'm biased. Haha.

1/16/2008 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shanti M,
Thank you. You are giving us helpful information. Not rambling.

1/17/2008 1:16 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...


Love your blog!

Wanna trade links?? :-)

1/17/2008 2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love that first pair. So cosy & pretty.

1/17/2008 5:57 AM  
Blogger meliindaa. said...

cute like the blog

i want long pairs of gloves. they seem so elegant

1/17/2008 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love long gloves, they are gorgeous - very Katherine Hepburn;-)

1/17/2008 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are very stylish in leather, very much in keeping with the 1960's trends....Roman Holiday etc...

1/17/2008 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those gloves look fantastic!! I have a great shirt that i found on artfulwears.com to match.. check out this article onthe sweaters below:
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1/18/2008 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the fashion from the sixties, stilletoes and pencil skirts....very classic,.....love the blog!

1/18/2008 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is it about fashion today? i remember when i had one pair of gloves and now I have about 10 different pairs to match my numerous coats in different colours and of course the mood im in..wooly gloves, fingerless gloves, suave leather gloves, green, black, cream, and if i get a new scarf that i dont think matches any of my gloves i have to go buy another pair!

1/18/2008 12:43 AM  
Blogger becca said...

I've lived in a cold climate my entire life. I have two pairs of leather gloves, one with cashmere lining and one with Thinsulate lining. Both are very thin, but very warm. The Thinsulate is very fleece like, very warm and rather inexpensive so it's not a big deal if they have to take a beating like cleaning off my car or an impromptu snowball fight. They often come in fun colors too.

1/18/2008 4:46 AM  
Blogger Snorg Tees said...

Those are some really lovely gloves you posted.

It is challenging finding that balance between "practical" gloves that are realistically going to last through a whole winter when you have to dig your car out and so forth, keeping your hands really warm, and finding something more ladylike that can also make you look great!

Snorg Girl
Snorg Tees

1/18/2008 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a weakness. I care WAY too much about what I look like. I would much rather look cute than be practical and warm. I usually end up avoiding activities that do not allow me to be cute as much as possible. Sad, huh? Its my personality I guess. Beauty and style are my hobbies. I do enjoy activities like sledding occasionally, just not on a regular basis. The funniest part is I am from a pretty cold climate- I am used to very cold temps due to HIGH moisture levels. Temperate Rain Forest+Winter= freeze your hiney off. There's not much hope in such a climate- not for someone like me! I live in a desert climate now and the winters feel warm bc they are so dry! Bottom line: I love the gloves and would wear them even in very cold weather. I just would avoid staying outside for long.

1/18/2008 11:13 AM  
Blogger Jael Paris said...

I live in the Great Lakes area, and we have serious winters. My cashmere lined leather gloves are the warmest I've ever had. Knits are terrible. And yes, when you're going to be outside for a long period of time, get heavy duty gloves. Losing fingers to frostbite is not your most stylish option.

1/18/2008 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love chicgurl's advice! i read that muffs are coming back in but i haven't seen any around here (not the most stylish neck of the woods)

1/18/2008 1:57 PM  
Blogger Imelda said...

I really like the black and red leather gloves.

I only have leather gloves, but indeed they really aren't that warm at all. But I combine them with a muff, so it's warm enough.

1/18/2008 10:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I feel like writing down all the advice from u all! I live in New York and the winters get reeeaaallllyy cold and my knit gloves do nothing! and my leather gloves get ruined in the snow and winter rain so its always a lose lose situation for me.

But that was before I discovered my North Face gloves (those keep me warm...no problem).

1/22/2008 12:22 AM  
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