Norwegians and the Brits love to talk about the weather. When I call home to my grandparents in Norway, the conversation is not complete without a weather update. On the other hand, when it comes to clothing we are very different in Norway and the UK. Something quite visible now during the #uksnow Big Freeze!
British School children in shorts today. Me, minus 3 degrees Celsius.
Are you freezing? Continue to read! I will give practical advice on sustainable and warm wool outfits.
I have the last couple of days seen kids in Bristol walking around in only shorts!! My conclusion is that this is all about the British virtue of ‘resilience’. A word that doesn’t even exist in Norwegian other than in a dictonary called «foreign words».
This blogpost arouse from what I see as an urgent need that occurred yesterday, a pretty cold Monday morning. It is around minus 1-3 degrees in Brizzzle (minus 5-7 today!) and on my way out I meet a constant stream of School children: In shorts and skirts and many with NO LEGGINGS OR TIGHTS!! Parents, what are you doing? Well, the first thought that sprang to mind was ‘RESILIENCE’. The very beloved British word and trait that I have realised can be seen in how they cope with cold weather. Remember they live in awfully cold, often old, houses and are on the bottom of European countries for energy efficient houses and windows. I have never been freezing more than after I moved to the Cotswolds in a newly refurbished cottage with «original» sash windows and an open letterbox straight through the door!
WARNING! This post is not about being a natural knitter like generations of women before me. I love to knit two things, the very easy #Nostebarn baby blanket and after a bit of practice, I managed the scarf (green one in a pic further down). Stephen West’s ‘Best Knits’ was never gonna be my thing… A present for my lovely Sis #westknits #garnsurr #picklesoslo !!!
Anyhow, this post will from now on be practical advice on how to dress, children and adults. For 15 more languages please visit:
You can do it differently over here on this island. You can continue with that well known, stiff upper lip. Or you can try out dressing like they do in colder climates, but do it in a “light” version. Which means that when we would pick three layers in Scandinavia because it is below minus 10. You can get away with two. The most important layer is the INNERMOST LAYER, after the underwear, that has to be minimum 80-100% WOOL touching your skin!! This is big sin no 1 in the UK.
DRESSING FOR SCHOOL IN THE BIG FREEZE
Simply a small wool undershirt #pierrerobertsportwool and wool tights will do. If they have PE, like today, I swap the tight to long johns and she can take off her socks easily. I find that with this warm innermost layer, a hat or a buff and gloves, covered with a school jacket and school shoes she will be fine. The shoes and feet are probably the most vulnerable part and I would change to wool socks if the weather gets colder (3-5 minus and below). But I also know that they stay inside a lot of the time at school if it is cold, so I don’t have to worry too much about this. They would need to change from shoes to boots if they were to be outside in the colder weather. Below zero I find normal wellies incredible cold and if they are tight you will get cold very quickly. An extra sole might help a bit for isolation.
There is a wealth of long johns out there for all sizes and ages! These can be worn with skirts or under trousers and counts as one layer. With this and a wind/water proof outer layer you will last in temperatures down towards minus 10 degrees. Some are more compact, but still soft. The ones that are prettier, but looser with more air passing through the fabric also are a little less warm, might need another isolating layer on top if you are talking minus 10-ish. Here are some examples, 100% WOOL. #januswool #nameitkids #joha #polarnopyret #norheim #devoldull
#vossatassar Bamboo material in clothes has become an alternative for those sensitive to 80-100% WOOL.
SOCKS! Long, short, @homemade . All great for different causes. The homemade ones are usually the less warm ones because they are not 100% WOOL and the knit allows more air to pass through. They need another pair of socks under which is not ideal. The other ones you should have as the innermost layer, towards the skin. That’s when the warming qualities of WOOL are most effective. I used the long, knee height ones one cold morning at the allotment. A good alternative to long johns when it is just below zero.
There are a variety of good socks to choose from. Don’t be tempted to go for the knitted acrylic or polyester ones you find in a highstreet shop for a REALLY cold day. They only work if it’s around zero, is my experience. If it gets any colder then you need 80-100% WOOL! Socks are of specific importance – if your feet and head are warm, and maybe fingers – then you can last quite a bit, can’t you? Some socks are a mixture of wool and more soft elastics, but they should be at least 80% wool. One layer is enough unless you are out in temperatures below minus 15. Even colder I would normally only have one layer of wool socks and nothing else on my feet, but choose the thicker typer and the more wool content, the better. #ulvangsokker #karitraa #norheim #troll
I have compiled photos with mostly 100% wool clothes that will suit any weather dropping towards minus 5 and below. When the acrylic and syntetic materials just don’t do the job. And note: When I say “wool”, I mean wool, not a 0% lookalike wooly jumper! Check the label in you clothes next time before buying!
I have also recently bought a really cozy and warm (and expensive!) 100% wool fleece home-trousers. #cosclothing I find that 100% wool fleece is really warm and the selection in the UK seems quite good. Otherwise see selection at #Nøstebarn #Bergans
#benetton #cosclothing #nøstebarn #nostebarn #janusullpårull #janusull
These are ALL 100% WOOL QUALITY and soft and comfortable, usually as layer number two. If you choose these more thicker clothes as the innermost layer it will feel less comfortable and might start to itch, except the soft #COSclothing fleece trousers on the pic in the middle, but they are super expensive.
BACK TO THE INNERMOST LAYER!
The inner layer is the most important. This should preferably be 100% wool. With another wind proof layer you will be alright in temperatures down towards minus 10!! Wool materials on your skin creates warmth, it is what we call “breathing” and therefore don’t get wet unless excessive sweating or directly being soaked. And even so, if this inner layer is thin and wet – it does not loose it’s warming qualities like a lot of other materials!
Example of inner layers, there are lots of products that are soft and don’t scratch at all (!) Otherwise you can try bamboo which is also good for those with extensive allergies or similar. But try some of the high quality 100% wool made especially for children first, if you struggle with the thought of wool towards your skin. Honestly, they are supersoft!! Nøstebarn is from my perspective one of the best, but has other challenges like specific washing procedures.
If it is not freezing or you just can’t stand the thought of a wool inner layer, then go for the “stiff upper lip” and put on other warm 100% wool clothes as additional layers. The Ulvang jumper has become a great, big hit in Norway! It is warm, hardly needs washing, easy to wash when needed (twice a year?) and looks smart. Price is also reasonable when it lasts for years and you are saved through most cold spells.
The dark green #ulvanggenser 100% wool jumper on the left is versatile and incredible good value; hardly needs washing at all! The bright green fleece in the pic is also 100% WOOL #Outerlayer jumpers
Another example of outer layer, windproof and preferably water resistent trousers. It doesn’t have to be mega thick, neither do you need a down jacket as long as you have the 100% WOOL innermost layer plus additional layers depending on temperatures. And remember to close all your jackets and cover all gaps, typically between long johns and socks (socks outside long johns). I hear quite a few people complaining about freezing without having done up their jackets properly! In Norway you realise this very quickly because you freeze and you die. Here it might seem like another winter experience, but believe me, it doesn’t have to be like that #resilience #StiffUpperLip
Generally, I find hats are one of the stronger sides of how British people dress in cold weather. I haven’t seen “BUFFs” so much here yet. #buff has become a very popular item in Norway as it serves both as a hat and scarf. There is always a fancy hat around, they use them even around zero where many in Scandinavia for example would opt out on wearing a hat. I found the elk hat in the picture in a charity shop for 2 pounds so doesn’t have to be expensive.
It had two layers, fleece inside, and that makes it a bit resistant to wind which I think is a plus. This one is not wool. As it doesn’t get to minus 10 and below much in Bristol, I find that the hats and gloves Brits here usually choose makes sense. But when it is colder I would recommend more wool (surprise!) and also proper mittens and not gloves. Gloves are good for sports and milder weather. In cold weather, especially children get freezing fingers if they only wear gloves. My Mamma knits the Kongsberg Mittens (name of a town in Norway) and they are fabulous. Wind and cold stays out! Contact me if you want a pair and I will see what I can do!
But look what my Mother-In-Law picked up in a charity shop! A #daleofnorwaysweater #DaleOfNorway Traditional and a fantastic cardigan for indoor use or as a second layer on a cold day. Keep an eye out for these things turning up -and check the label for 100% WOOL
I have also included in the photo some @homemade garments that I completely rely on both here in #England and in #Norway. 100% WOOL scarfs/shawls, can be wrapped around my head, neck or both if needed. Wrist-warmers, an alternative to gloves with open fingers. 100% WOOL scarf from #gap Buffs, they are mostly synthetic material, but #norheim has these in WOOL quality. For these type of items I would try #Intersport
WOOL UNDERWEAR AND BEYOND
The military in Norway is recruiting women and I understand many of them are turning to wool underwear . I have seen 100% wool underwear advertised and in sport shops in Norway now. Myself I used wool pads inside my bra when breast feeding, but other than that my underwear (bra and knickers) aren’t wool. But my next layer and what I call inner layer of thin jumper and tights/leggings are always 100% wool if out in minus 5 and below or in cold weather despite milder – just keep nice and cozy.
Because of the focus on saving our seas and plastic waste, I hope the focus can come back to the superb qualities of 100% wool clothing. And there are a lot of SOFT WOOLS out there on the market. Some prefer 100% Merino wool, others (like the white scarf below in pic) is 100% Alpaca. #Nøstebarn has organic non-treated wool which is incredibly warm and soft, but some don’t like it because of very specific washing instructions and higher chances of holes. they also have a combination of wool and silk that I used loads on my little ones when we lived in Oslo. They have a shop in Oslo amongst other places and they are online (and probably helpful if you email them). I will be recommending some brands and shops that you can probably find online, or hopefully a local shop. But please try wool alternatives first! You won’t regret it – YOU WILL STAY WARM – and you will save lots of money because it lasts!
Childrenswear with 100% wool can be bought in UK shops such as #NameIt and #polarnopyretuk. Other brands to look for are #Joha #Janus They last very well even if washing frequently. This is generally a challenge with 100% wool clothes that they loose some of they warming qualities if washed in the washing machine too frequently. I try to wash as little as possible, airing the clothes is an alternative if needed. Also, placing lavender between the clothes in your cupboard or in a small textile bag or similar will prevent moth holes in the clothes. I have never experienced big problems with this, but using the correct washing powder or substance is crucial (it has to say “for wool” on the package). If you don’t then holes in the fabric occur sooner. Wool programme is also crucial as it will shrink in warmer washing temperature. Some time this is used as a method like in the Kongsberg Mitten to make the looser knitted fabric into wool fleece/felt. Like the grey cusion in the chair below. Perfect on the Seat in a cold car. This is a small piece of wool, easy to make that can be brought outside and you can sit in the forest or on a stone without freezing your buttocks off!
Have a some nice, happy and cozy couple of Siberian days! #koselig #hygge #peiskos
#highgrove blankets #woolblankets #FemaleTeacherRoofJumping #funinthesnow