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Commuting in the Elements

written by Rachel O’Donnell Dec 31st 2018
Person walking through snow

If you don’t like the weather in New England, give it a minute. It’s an old joke, but not one entirely inaccurate. Because the weather can change so quickly, it’s important to properly prepare for commuting as the temperatures fall and the chances of encountering precipitation increases.


Layer up! That can be some of the best advice mom ever gave us. With the notoriously fickle weather that New England experiences, layering is crucial to a safe and comfortable commute. Wearing many thin layers will actually keep you warmer than wearing one thick layer because air is trapped between each layer, insulating your body. It may sound inconvenient at first, but not only will it keep you warm, but in the event that temperatures rise as the day goes on, you can shed layers to keep yourself comfortable.

  1. Jackets

While everyone loves fleece—it feels warm and soft to the touch—it may not be the best option to keep you warm when it’s windy out. Too much air passes through the fleece, so an additional layer is needed to block the wind. The level of thickness for this outer shell can vary from light and breathable to warm and bulky, so it depends on your personal preference and judgment based on how cold and windy it is. The outer shell comes in especially handy on rainy days, but for really cold days, you might need something a bit heavier. Down jackets are one of the warmest coats you could wear, and the more it covers you (aka the longer it is), the warmer you’ll be. Bonus points if the jacket has a hood!

  1. Pants

Possibly the best part of the cold months is that it gives you an excuse to break out the fleece-lined pants! These types of pants do an excellent job of keeping out the cold, making them ideal for commuting during Massachusetts’ Winters. While fleece-lined pants are comfortable, they don’t protect you from all that Mother Nature can throw your way. When the rain really comes down, pants can get soaked. Since no one enjoys sitting in damp clothes all day, it’s a good idea to carry an extra pair to work with you or keep an emergency pair of pants at your desk.

  1. Footwear

The wrong footwear during a wintry mix could be a disaster! Look for boots that have distinct treads on the bottom to help you from slipping on a wet or icy surface. These boots should be waterproof to protect you from the rain, snow, and slush. Make sure they are not too tight (a little bit of wiggle room will actually keep your feet warmer) but keep in mind the extra room you’ll need if you decide to wear them with warm socks. These types of boots may not be office appropriate. If that’s the case, simply leave a pair of work shoes under your desk or bring a pair with you. The last thing you want to be wearing on a rainy day is a pair of suede shoes.

  1. Accessories

When it comes to accessories, it doesn’t always have to be a choice of form over function; many times you can have both. Hats, scarves, and gloves can all help to keep you warm, while making your work outfit look even snazzier. Remember to bring an umbrella; you never know when a surprise rain shower will strike. Finally, if you carry a laptop to and from work, make sure that your commuter bag is waterproof or weather-resistant. You’ll want to be sure your most important items are safe from the elements.

It may seem like a lot, but dressing appropriately for your commute will help keep you warm, dry, and healthy too.

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