How to Dress Your Family for the Winter Cold

Pandemic winter is here. 5 p.m. feels like midnight, and 50 degree days are now considered warm. In KC, we’ve just had our first big snow of 2021 — although our first snow of the season was that storm back in October.

KC’s First Snow of the Season!

This winter season, COVID prevents us from spending our days at many of the indoor spaces Kansas City has to offer and we can’t make like the bears and hibernate. So unfortunately, much like the rest of the last year, we can’t fight it. And unless we want to be stuck inside our homes for three months, the only thing left to do is embrace the cold weather. 

I’ll be honest, I would rather embrace an angry porcupine than the Midwest’s freezing cold temperatures, but for the health of our children and our own mental health, we must. To survive this winter, I will lean on the sage advice of Scandinavian mothers who famously believe that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” 

So how do we dress ourselves and our children in “good clothing” for winter weather? We dress in layers. Specifically, a base layer, mid-layer, and outer layer. 

Base Layer

The base layer’s job is to wick the sweat away from your body because if you get wet, you get cold. 

Dos: Snug fit, Merino wool, or Synthetic fabrics

Don’ts: Loose fit, Cotton

Base layers will probably be labeled:

  •  “Lightweight” for cool temps
  •  “Mid-weight” for cold temps
  • “Heavyweight” for below-freezing temps

 The heavier the weight = the thicker the fabric and the warmer the layer. Unless you plan on doing a lot of polar hiking, I would go for the mid-weight range because you can always go heavier on the next layer, and you don’t want to overheat! 

Top-Rated Amazon Base Layer Sets for Women,  GirlsBoys, and Men


The mid-layer’s job is to trap and retain your body heat. 

Dos: Fleece, Wool, or Down

Don’ts: Cotton, Super tight or super loose,  Fleece can’t be your final layer because the wind will go right through it, but it is a good middle layer!

Top-Rated Amazon Mid-Layer Jackets for Women, Girls, Boys, and Men

Outer Layer

The outer-layer’s job is not necessarily to keep you warm, it is to protect you from the elements (wind and rain). 

Dos: Loose-fitting to fit the other layers underneath, peacoats, puffy coats, wind resistant and waterproof if possible or necessary

Don’ts: You know I’m going to say it, COTTON. Tight-Fit and Non-breathable fabrics

Top-Rated Amazon Outer Layer Coats for Women, Girls, Boys, and Men & Outer-Layer Bottoms for Women, Children, and Men

Hands, Feet, and Head

Don’t forget to top off your triple layered look with thick wool socks, gloves (with touch screen capabilities!), a hat or earmuffs, a scarf (if needed), and warm winter boots!

Top-Rated Amazon Winter Gear:

For the little ones

I recommend these products for smaller babies or small children in strollers:

Two important kid safety reminders:

  • Check their temperatures (back and chest) to prevent chill and overheating.
  • A child should never wear a coat while in their car seat!
External Heat Sources

For an extra guarantee of warmth, add an external source of heat with any of the following:

Unlike many Scandinavian mothers, I probably won’t be setting my son outside to nap in the cold anytime soon. But much like our northern sisters, this winter, I plan to use our good clothing choices to embrace the “good” winter weather!


Kelsey Pomeroy
Kelsey was born and raised in Branson, Mo. It was there, in the town that boasts the “World’s Largest Banjo” that she met her husband, Samuel. It was his first day at a new high school and she was the only person to say “Hi” to him that day, so he married her! A decade later and now they take up residence in KC-adjacent-Suburbia, but tell out-of-state people they are from “Kansas City” because it is way easier. Kelsey taught high school English for 6 years, but now she stays home to hang out with her adorable toddler, Theodore. Her passions include traveling (34 countries and counting!), playing board games, writing murder mystery parties, reading, and talking to as many people as possible.