Learn how to properly dress for Midwest weather

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Madeline Pierce

Students build a snowman on the quad in front of the Illini Union on Oct. 31, 2019.

By Jared Ebanks, Assistant Features Editor

Two years ago, I boarded a plane with six duffel bags full of all of my clothes and shoes en route to Champaign, Illinois for my freshman year. Aware of the chilling winters to come, coming back at Thanksgiving allowed me to swap summer clothes for thicker and warmer items. However, the irregular weather patterns of the Midwest may have you rethinking the vital items you need for your first semester. 

The weather is unpredictable

The months of August and September mirror the summer months we’re coming off of with warm nights and the sky is still bright at 9:30 p.m. However, October brings the first drastic change, wind. A misleading factor to how warm it will be when you wake up for an early morning lecture, the wind on campus in the later months greatly affects how warm you think you’ll be when the weather app tells you it may be acceptable to wear a t-shirt.

By the time you’ve ventured out for your 9 a.m. lecture it’s likely that the temperature outside has shot up five to 10 degrees since you departed. Walking back to the dorm or to grab a bite to eat in the clothes you bundled up in for the morning trek will have you dripping in sweat. For the first weeks of classes, a light windbreaker or sweatshirt that can be easily stashed in your backpack is the best way to combat the unique weather patterns. 

Packing smart

Dorm spaces do not yield the same amount of space you may be used to for storing all of your clothes and shoes. Therefore, it’s important to plan out a range of clothes for the varying weather conditions you will experience. The month before Thanksgiving break tends to bring the first turn of the Midwest’s winter. Expect snow early on and ice on the sidewalks even sooner. It’s vital to bring a pair of shoes you know will have good traction. Green Street’s icy sidewalks have sent many victims sliding and tumbling to the ground. A few pairs of long johns or athletic tights could provide your legs added resistance to the wind as you walk back from the dining hall or late-night study session at the library. 

When packing for your first semester, it’s tempting to bring all of your favorite kicks with you and expect to wear the same amount of clothes you would compared to when at home. With added responsibilities, you may find yourself rushing out the door more often in order to arrive to class on time. When packing, make sure to bring a fair amount of comfortable clothes that double as lounge/lifestyle wear. Oversized hoodies and sweatpants have become vital clothing items for when I’ve woken up a little later than expected and need something quick but warm to throw on. 

Sneaker culture continues to influence the young adult population. As an avid sneakerhead, I wanted to bring all of my high heat with me to show off at my new University. If you have high heat in your closet, only bring a few pieces. Chances are you won’t find extended periods of time to show off such items, especially in conditions where you’ll be able to keep them pristine. Walking across campus and back in your favorite Air Jordan 1’s may not be the best decision for the creased toe boxes to come. Add the booming social life that exists on campus and you’ll want a pair or two of shoes you really don’t care about ruining. Parties, bar floors and rainy October afternoons are best in a beat pair of shoes that can be thrown to the back of your closet. 

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