It’s only a month into winter in this year of the polar vortex, and we (in the midwest and east coast of the U.S., plus many other places on the planet) can’t live indoors all the time, or venture out only in boots and polar gear. Not for another two months, anyway. Occasionally, we’ll want to put on dress shoes despite the snow, ice and subzero temperatures. Leather soled shoes are fine, as long as you slip in a pair of felt liners to prevent frozen toes——these are alpaca felt from Purely Alpaca, made in the U.S. and very affordable, to say nothing of very comfortable——and if the shoes are made from shell cordovan, like these happen to be, snow, salt and grime will just wipe right off. Wearing a pair of thick wool socks, such as this colorful Nordic pair from Anonymous Ism of Japan, is also probably good policy.
Jeans are not ordinarily recommended when the thermometer dips well below freezing and refuses to budge——unless you’re comfortable with a decent pair of long johns (and who isn’t?). There are plenty of choices out there, including ridiculously warm 100% wool ones, but I prefer a thick cotton against the skin, and these 70/30 cotton/wool ones from Norse Projects do the trick. Plus you have to remember that the pants do come off at some point, perhaps in front of someone, so why not make those long johns an object of envy rather than derision? And what did our moms say about nice, clean underwear when going out, in case we ended up in an accident and the hospital?