When the Forecast Says Snow and You Wear Flip Flops

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As many of you probably know, we live in Texas. More specifically, we live about 90 miles from the coast in East Texas. In other words, even in the winter, it is warm and muggy more days than not. Sure, we celebrate cold fronts on occasion where it can dip below freezing and maybe even spread top-notch levels of joy and delight with a few snowflakes every few years, but none of this last longer than a day or two before we start inching back towards shorts and flip-flops temperatures.


As I write this at home in Texas on a December morning with the Christmas tree glistening in the background, we are forecast to reach about 80 degrees with the sun shining. I can just about guarantee my husband will be working from home in his standard issue shorts and flip-flops before the day is through. However, before too long he will have to transform into a businessman version of Cinderella and hop in a carriage, er, airplane, and head to the Big City where it is not 80 degrees and sunny.

I glanced at the extended weather forecast for him last night out of curiosity and noticed that his next scheduled trip will not be like any of his previous New York City trips since he started this travel schedule back in May. This time, there are currently snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast.

Let’s be honest, potential travel delays aside, snow is a very exciting thing for most Texans regardless of where it happens. Even when I spent a couple years living in New York City, snow remained a very exciting event during the winter months…even after I lived through a pretty crazy blizzard that shut things down for a bit.

My street in Brooklyn after a blizzard

However, when I first moved there on a mid-January day from Texas, winter was far from fun. If you have ever read my post about Moving to New York Knowing Nothing and No One, you might remember why. One of the big reasons that winter wasn’t any fun at first was because my Texas shoes and coats were totally, completely, and 100% inadequate. They were fine for the 24 hours or so of freezing weather we would have in Texas, especially since the furthest distance you usually had to travel outside was from the house to the car, but in New York City, you were often walking blocks, if not miles, and I was freezing and miserable every step of the way.

I was also in grad school, had just spent the small amount of extra money I had moving to NYC and wasn’t exactly in the position to go on a Fifth Avenue winter wardrobe shopping spree. I tried for a week or two to just add layers and suffer through the cold weather until spring, but it was getting colder and that plan wasn’t working. One afternoon I shivered into a nondescript shop around 8th and Broadway and bought the biggest, ugliest, longest grey wool too-big-for-me coat that was on the sale rack. I don’t think I looked any more stylish in that ill-fitting coat than I had in my Texas mishmash of winter wear, but I was warmer, and that counted for a lot.

Fast forward to present day and if we aren’t careful, Josh will be in essentially the same predicament, although in his 40’s and surrounded by NYC professionals instead of being a 20-something around other mostly-broke NYU grad students. We now own snow gear that is appropriate for the slopes, but I’m not sure if his clunky fuzzy North Face boots and ski pants will look totally on point waltzing into an office big city office building. I mean, I could be wrong, but I’m thinking not. I know for sure they won’t pack very efficiently in his carry-on bag.

As a family traveler who does occasionally venture into cold spots like Norway, the Rockies, and British Columbia, I know that the key to any successful cold weather trip is the right gear, so I did some panic driven online shopping last night so he won’t freeze or look like the village snow idiot heading into work a la Ralphie in A Christmas Story. I think he has a decent enough wool coat that barely gets used here in Texas that should work for now, but footwear that was neither a flip-flop or big North Face boot was an emergent need given the potentially slushy forecast. Not really knowing what was best, I settled on these big city snow boots that were on sale.

If I were placing bets on the situation, I’d bet that his other gaps in big city winter wear will quickly come to light on his first real winter work trip to the city. Traveling to different climates is very interesting whether you are doing it with your whole family or for work. The kids’ bathing suits from the summer don’t always fit for a beach trip come January and those of us in the south don’t usually have perfectly fitted snow gear just waiting to be used when the forecast at our final destination says 28 degrees and snow.

Whether you are heading to the snow or the beach, I recommend doing as my broke 23-year-old former self finally did at that shop on 8th and Broadway and spend the cash to get the gear you need so that you can comfortably do the things you want. The alternative may keep a few more bucks in your pocket, but at a great expense of comfort and utility.

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  1. Got on a plane in Houston one time for an October trip for 2 weeks of outdoor work in West Virginia. Didn’t even pack a coat since I wasn’t paying attention (and of course it was still 90 here). Wintry mix most of the week. I now have some winter coats as souvenirs from that trip! 🙂

    • Ha ha – yes! We did that on a trip to Spain when it rained a good chunk of the time so we had some nice new rainboots and such to wear home on the plane after that trip. Ha!

  2. I live in Minneapolis so I guess I can be of some help if you need. 🙂 🙁 Coming from a tropical country to live in one of the coldest metro areas in the US I have learned a lot about winter and how to dress for it. The main thing you will learn is to dress in layers. You won’t see Minnesotans wearing heavy jackets but several layers of warm clothes so you add or take it out as needed. If you only wear a very heavy coat you may be good outside but will sweat like crazy inside buildings or in a car. As for footwear, I have a North Face boot that I use when I need to clean my driveway but for everyday I wear a pair of leather UGGs with rubber sole as it does the job. I leave a pair of social shoes in the office and change when I get there. Don’t forget a good winter hats and a pair of gloves. You need to protect fingers and ears from the windchill. Last, I can attest you I feel much colder in NY or Europe than in MN. Here you don’t walk outside in the winter. You drive most of the time and this don’t spend much time outside. Now in NY, London, Geneva, etc.. you walk in the cold and that damp weather together with the wind is a killer to me.

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