As far as I have been able to discern there are several rules to follow when dressing for the weather here;
1. Wear layers
2. Invest in merino clothing
3. Buy a decent jacket
When getting up, you need to check the weather forecast; is it going to be sunny? Cold? Wind? Rain? Wind and rain? This will be important.
I have made a little chart to assist you/me with my clothing choices, weather dependant
Now that makes everything very easy of only the weather stays the same all day. Apparently Melbourne weather is 4 seasons in 1 day, but I am finding Wellington weather is that again, on steroids. We have wind, periods of strong sun, scudding clouds, brief showers and temperature dips (especially if you step into the shade), all within 20 minutes.
This means you can walk to work in sunshine, only to find howling gales when you step out at lunchtime and then on and off showers for your walk home. Or head to work carrying your full length coat as the weather is meant to pack up in quite a dramatic fashion, and then end up walking home again with the blooming thing still over your arm as it’s now windy but not cold and definitely not raining.
Wellington houses are pretty exposed by their very nature. The best harbour views in such a hilly city requires cantilevering your house off the hillside, with your neighbours houses are stacked up behind you like fenceposts up a hill. Additionally, many buildings in NZ are built from wood and not very insulated, or are positioned on a ridge that is buffeted by southerlies or in a gully that loses the sun at around 2pm.
Layers are essential to dressing for the changeable weather; and especially if your office has its own micro-climate. This way you can remove or add items as you react to changing temperatures and conditions throughout the day.
Merino therefore, should be be your new best friend. You can buy this from the major outdoor stores like Kathmandu or Macpac, but women’s fashion stores Glassons and Max also stock a new range each winter in more wearable colours (think soft orange instead of highlighter yellow, and fawn in place of blaze red).
You use this as a base, layered under shirts or dresses and it traps all your own heat close to your body so you stay toasty warm. Top your outfit with more natural fibers like a wool cardigan or jersey and it will assist with keeping heat in and the cold out.
Last but not least are your extremities. How many times have you heard that you lose the majority of your heat through your head? (oh, ok, so now you know). Hats are important in staying warm outside
I am now also the proud owner of a wool beanie sans pom pom and as someone prone to earache, I have also purchased a band that is not quite a hat and not quite a headband that you wear over your ears so they are protected from the wind and cold, but you don’t overheat.
I have probably freaked you out by now; “just HOW cold is it down there?” so as a disclaimer I wold like to add most of this research has been done in advance of actually needing it – basically both to justify my shopping purchases and in the interests of being prepared.
Now to check the weather forecast for this weekend…