As we approach the true start of Winter, it is already time to bring out the big coats and hot cocoa to battle the Madison flurries. Read below to check out what WSUM think about Winter and how we go about dealing with the freezing temperatures!
– Darion Allen, WSUM Talk Director
What is your best story that features the Winter weather of Wisconsin as a character?
The classic battle: winter nights versus the under-dressed sorority girl. It was 11 p.m. in the cold and unforgiving month of February. In one corner, slowly overtaking the whole ring, sat the darkest month of the year: 17 degrees below zero, wind whipping 40 mph, snow piling up inch after inch. The Thursday-night-loving freshman huddled in the other corner, unintimidated by the challenge before her. If she did not get to the first fraternity before midnight, she would never get a sloppy kiss on a sticky, overcrowded dance floor. Equipped with ripped jeans and a tiny, tiny jacket, she braced the storm. Her dirty Air Force 1’s seeped in the moisture from the snow, making each step agonizing. As she approached the back door and pulled out her GroupMe text, her soaking wet hair dripped all over her phone. The phone turned black; the water won. No entry and no phone. Winter won this time, but she would be back again.
What is your favorite wardrobe, beauty, skincare, or other product that helps you get through the Winter chills?
Brown Wool Coat
My favorite product during the chilly November months is my brown wool coat. Bought earlier this autumn because I was cold, this coat has provided me with endless comfort and satisfaction on chilly November days. Whether it be a short walk to class or a hike across campus, I know that my favorite coat will help warm me up. It is the perfect fashion staple that compliments any outfit while keeping me warm. I love nothing more than slipping on my favorite coat before going out into the chilly winter weather. With its large pockets and hood, it is the perfect garment to feel both comfortable and cozy in. Even as the November chills turn to wintery December days, I still rely on my extra-large brown coat to keep me warm.
My November chills are often kept at bay by the crewneck collection that takes up about half of my hanging closet space. I feel that my fall/winter wardrobe is much more fleshed out than any other season, so it’s comforting being able to return to it. Recently, I’ve been obsessed with layering pieces, like turtlenecks, collared shirts, vests, etc. Walking around campus inspires my looks daily, and it’s weird to be alive during a time when all eras of fashion and trends are thriving. Maybe it’s always been like this, but I certainly haven’t noticed it until this semester. From the 60’s to Y2K and today, all decades have such strong representation, and it’s nice to see older pieces coming into style again. Nothing chills me to the bone more than fast fashion, and the fall of 2021 is giving me a bit more hope in the industry and mainstream.
My skincare routine is flawless year-round. Never do I ever sleep in my makeup, I always wash my face and my skin sparkles like a thousand diamonds because of it. In November, my skin is particularly radiant. I change my routine ever so slightly to accommodate the harsh weather, and the universe rewards me. I start with a Costco pack of toilet paper. When my nose inevitably runs, it is always there for me, chafing anything it makes contact with. If I’m too oily, toilet paper also works as a great blotter! To rectify the chafing, I also stock up on Vaseline. Any dry skin that meets the Vaseline is instantly renewed, soft and supple. When I tire of licking my chapped lips every five minutes, Vaseline is there for me too. At the end of my routine, I usually put a little blush on the rest of my face so that my cheeks look less red in comparison. It is hard to be this beautiful; frankly, it’s exhausting. But equipped with the right tools, my skin never fails to amaze me.
If you’ve ever talked to a native Wisconsinite here at UW Madison, you have doubtless had a conversation with them about how out-of-state kids are the first to parade around in their huge parkas, while a true Midwesterner wears shorts and a tank top until Christmas. However, I think this contest of wills is nothing more than an attempt for locals to pull rank over their peers. I am in favor of breaking out the parkas as early as necessary. Even add in a hat, some gloves, and a scarf if you feel so inclined. There’s nothing I love more than stepping outside and feeling the soul-crushing wind, yet not feeling cold because I’m so bundled up. I don’t care if wearing full winter gear in November earns me some side-eyeing- I’d take being warm over looking cool any day.
What music do you listen to that provides you with a boost of warmth during the snowy, gray days?
There’s nothing like a little Fleetwood Mac to get you through a chilly, snowy, gray Wisconsin winter day. The warm chords and scathing lyrics of Rumours, the driving beat of “Gypsy,” and the dazzling beginning of “Everywhere” are usually enough for me to power through my walk to class during the blistering cold. I’ll always have a deep affinity for Fleetwood Mac as they were one of the first “oldies” bands that I really grew to love when I was younger. The low register and almost raspy tone of Stevie Nicks’ voice is so wonderful and is sure to bring one out of their deepest winter blues. To pull me out of mine that are likely to occur as the semester progresses, I’ll be sure to cue up and blast “Sara” in my headphones towards the point of concern for my eardrums as I saunter down the streets of Madison.
Amy, Amy, Amy
My go-to playlist during the dreary winter months always includes Amy Winehouse. I find myself returning to her 2006 album Back to Black whenever the weather becomes gray and snowy because her music fills me with such nostalgia from my childhood. Songs like “Tears Dry on Their Own” and “Love is a Losing Game” have carried me through many dreary winter days. I also enjoy listening to Faye Webster throughout the winter months. Her soft melodies are especially calming during the quiet days throughout the semester. I find myself always gravitating back to old favorites during winter, as they provide me with a sense of comfort and familiarity. A few more favorites that frequent my winter playlists are Japanese Breakfast, Serena Isioma and Duckwrth. These artists fill me with a boost of warmth that helps me get through the particularly long finals days during the winter months.
Country Music in the House
Country music and Chicago & Detroit house music fill by bones with so much warmth, no matter what time of year, but for entirely separate reasons. With country music, there’s so much depth behind the instruments and voices. The raw tone of the guitar, a gravelly yet smooth timbre of the vocals… There’s nothing quite warming like an intimate country track. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 70’s-80’s Chicago & Detroit House music provides a loud wall of music, beats, and rhythms that transport me to a sweaty, packed basement club in the heart of some random city where the music unites everyone. One of my favorite tracks right now, Mr. Fingers’ Can You Feel It – Vocal, has a breakdown throughout the track about the spiritual community behind house music. In the style of a sermon, this track’s vocals warm my soul on any chilly day.
Soft Girl Vibes
During the dreary Wisconsin winters, I like to listen to a playlist I have dubbed “soft girl vibes”. This includes tracks by Clairo, Rex Orange County, Daniel Caesar, Beach Bunny, and Frank Ocean. My two personal favorite songs from this list would have to be “4EVER” by Clairo and “Corduroy Dreams” by Rex Orange County. It’s a somewhat eclectic combination of songs that are a little bit melancholy, to match the weather, but generally have a warm and wholesome vibe. These songs feel like putting on a sweater, drinking some hot cocoa, and reminiscing about the good old days. Even though a lot of these songs are not necessarily happy or high energy, they provide a sense of contentment that is just right for cold days.