Layering: Windchill vs. the World
  • Janet Chen, Hong Kong/London (Morgan Smith/North by Northwestern)
  • Balim Tezel, Turkey (Morgan Smith/North by Northwestern)
  • Benjamin Trachtenberg, New York (Morgan Smith/North by Northwestern)
  • Lim Li Keen, Singapore (Morgan Smith/North by Northwestern)
  • Chris Fayemi, Maryland (Morgan Smith/North by Northwestern)

Northwestern is notorious for a few things: ambitious students, a heart-breaking football team, an obsession with painting rocks and, most notably, the often-uncomfortable cold weather conditions. How do Northwestern students from different states (and across the globe) battle the colder fall weather, a far cry from what they’re used to at home? Five students shared their thoughts: 

Question: What is the weather like right now where you’re from? What would you were to be comfortable in the weather if you were home during this time of year? 

Janet Chen, Hong Kong/London, McCormick freshman: “Right now in Hong Kong it’s still shorts weather – you would still be waiting for it to get cold. I also lived in London all of last year to attend boarding school. Around this time in London it would be similar weather as Chicago, just more drizzly, so I would wear a similar outfit as here but carry an umbrella with me.”

Benjamin Trachtenberg, New York, Medill freshman: “If I were in New York right now, I would probably be wearing similar stuff as I was wearing in college. Typically my fall look is flannel, plaid shirts, jeans and desert boots, or work boots like Timberlands. I dressed like a hipster before it was cool.” 

Lim Li Keen, Singapore, Weinberg freshman: “During the fall the weather in Singapore is more tropical. T-shirts, shorts and slippers are the Singapore uniform during wet season. I always carry an umbrella with me, but t’s too hot to add much else to your outfit.”

Question: If you woke up tomorrow and it was 55 ºF and windy, what kind of outfit would you wear? 

Chris Fayemi, Maryland, Weinberg freshman: “Typically I would wear fleece-lined sweaters; I love them. I’ve found that most sweaters in the women’s sections of stores are pretty thin; I’ve found some nice, fleece-lined sweaters in the men’s section that have a nice, traditional fit. They carry a 1960’s aesthetic, which I love. One thing I also like to wear in this weather is chunky boots, especially black combat boots. When it’s warmer fall weather, I might wear a dress and tights paired with a cool pair of boots and a short, waist length sweater. Military green, army-looking jackets look great with fall outfits. I wear a beanie sometimes as well.”

Balim Tezel, Turkey, Medill freshman: “I would wear a sweater and a t-shirt, maybe with a light overcoat if it was windy out. The clothing chain Zara is really popular in Turkey, so I own a lot of their clothes. I also have fall pieces like sweaters from Topshop, which is popular in the United States. I wear leggings a lot, and short Ugg boots. The fleece in the boots helps keep me warm in colder weather.”

Trachtenberg: “In that weather, I’d wear a sweater, a pair of grey jeans a new peacoat I got from Crossroads for 20 dollars, paired with a navy blue watch cap. When it gets colder out I go for a sailor aesthetic.”

Question: What is one fall fashion item you can’t live without? 

Chen: “I can’t live without sweaters, because they can be worn in all seasons from October to spring. They’re great in different temperatures and great for layering.” 

Fayemi: “Probably my tall, black boots because they go with everything and provide a nice, polished look for any outfit. You can wear them with tapered sweatpants casually or dress them up with a skirt. They’re very versatile.”

Tezel: “I can’t live without my Uniqlo puffy jacket. It’s a very light winter jacket, but it's extremely warm. It’s easy to carry and helps keep me warm when the windchill kicks in.”

Question: As you’re adjusting to Evanston’s cold weather, what advice would you give someone regarding fall fashion at Northwestern? 

Trachtenberg: “My advice would be to learn to layer, especially if you're from a warm climate. Throwing on a thick coat won't help you out. It might be freezing for your morning class but by the time it's the afternoon the sun has come out and it’s less windy; suddenly you're sweating. I usually stick to a t-shirt, a flannel, mid warmth jacket, a hat and scarf. As the day goes on you can add and subtract those articles depending on how you feel.”

Li Keen: “The weather here changes really quickly. Always overcompensate for the weather with your dressing.”

Fayemi: “Don’t be afraid to overdress and look nice even though it’s the beginning of the year. Also, favorite pieces in your closet can be dressed up or down accordingly for fall weather. For example, layering a jean jacket over a formal dress makes for a great fall outfit.”


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