How to dress for a polar vortex

cold weather essentials, winter outerwear for chicago, winter outfits, northface parka, ugg boots, smartwool socks, brisk run gloves, northface hat

I was going to start off this post by talking about our trip to Untitled on Friday for the kick-off to restaurant week, but then that silly Polar Vortex showed up again, ruining everyone’s dreams for an early spring and overall dexterity.

wind chill chicago, polar vortex, nbc chicago

So I’ll get to the food in a bit, as I understand it is key to your winter survival in places like Antarctica, Russia and this year, Chicago. According to this graphic, I’m going to get frost bite if I walk outside for more than 12 minutes as wind chills are at -25 on this bright and sunny Monday in Chicago. And while schools are closed, the majority of Chicago seems to think this is nothing compared to our -45 day a few weeks back.

I hope you don’t, but if you are forced to venture out in weather like this, don’t just throw on a puffy vest and hope for the best. It’s taken me years of Chicago living to perfect my winter outerwear, but I think I’ve finally got things covered. Literally. Cover yourself completely. I recommend only leaving enough space so that you see enough to not get hit by a bus, train or another bundled commuter. But that’s it.

cold weather essentials, winter outerwear for chicago, winter outfits, northface parka, ugg boots, smartwool socks, brisk run gloves, northface hat

  1. The North Face® Metropolis Parka
  2. The North Face Cable Knit Hat 
  3. ChapStick
  4. Cowl Infinity Scarf. Similar here.
  5. Lululemon Frisky Brisk Run Gloves
  6. Ugg Boots-Tall
  7. SmartWool Socks 

Here’s the fun part. Put it all on over your dress or casual clothes and try not to feel like this kid:


Who am I kidding. You will totally feel like the kid from A Christmas Story.


But at least you will be warm. Or comfortable. OK. You won’t be frostbitten.

Before the Polar Vortex hit, Matt and I decided to hit up Untitled on Friday for restaurant week. We had both been previously, but only for drinks so we wanted to explore the menu a little more. Plus, they often have live music and burlesque shows on the weekends so we figured it was a good excuse to go out ahead of several weeks of work travel. If you aren’t familiar with the restaurant week concept, restaurants offer a prix fixe menu for a set price. In our case, three courses for $44 per person. Little did we know that there were three courses within each course. Most of which involved some form of bourbon, bacon, maple and for some, all three together.

untitled restaurant week menu, chicago restaurant week, caviar deviled eggs, maple bourbon cornbread, shrimp and grits

Needless to say we were stuffed. If you haven’t been, check out Untitled for a drink and some small bites. Stay for the show.

Speaking of restaurants, my mom should seriously consider opening one. I know everyone is always like “my mom’s cooking is the best blah blah blah,” but I’m not messing around when I say this lady can cook. We were welcomed home Saturday evening to the smells of homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs. She swears it’s simple, but as soon as I get her recipe I’ll share it with you guys and you can be the judge.

We made a short trip home on Saturday just in time to see a gorgeous winter sunset and to drop off Finn for a brief vacation at my parents.

winter sunset, midwest skies, Illinois sunset, colors of winter, winter sky

The other day, Finn was all like oh mom, you look like you could use a vacation.

greater swiss mountain dog, finn, swissy, puppies

Why don’t you take a couple days off and I’ll go hang with Nana and Papoo? I hear there’s another polar vortex coming so you know none of my friends will be in the dog park to play with me. And I really like the luxury of peeing just steps from their door in that thing they call a backyard. Pretty please? They let me eat crumbs off the floor!

greater swiss mountain dog, finn, swissy, puppies

This picture has no context except to show you that my puppy now insists on sitting like a human during car rides. He’s so tall he has to duck his head to see out the window now. Pretty sure he’d be something like the 90th percentile for height if he were a toddler.

So Finn is on vacation and as soon as this Polar Vortex stops being such a jerk I will be too. If you’re inside, stay there. If you’re dealing with a stubborn city like I am, be careful, be safe and book a trip somewhere warm, STAT!

Have a great week!

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