How to Dress When Braving the Beast from the East

Jasmine Humphrey gives us her best tips to staying warm in St Andrews.

Although there are signs of flowers poking their heads through the wet grass outside the library, nobody can deny that winter is still around. The howling wind that met me on my morning walk to lectures last week turned my umbrella inside out, and I felt I was battling the Beast from the East (or new-and-improved Pest from the West); my jeans were soaked through, and my beloved Chelsea boots were sodden to the core; fluffy socks damp.   

This begs the question: how should we dress in this winter weather? It’s Scottish weather: rain and wind, but also snow, and everyone still wants to look their best, even if that means rushing to the dryer in Buchanan to desperately dry off your shirt. The Costa baristas questioned my outfit choice the other day, laughing when I told them I came from the West Highlands: “You should be used to this! Wrap up warm.” So, with my coffee in my painfully cold hand, I walked with my head lowered in shame onto Market Street. 

Photo: Pixabay

But this had me thinking – what is the right thing to wear during these cold but wet and windy, dark months? There’s a big difference between being outside in the rain and in a lecture. Here’s a (not exhaustive) list of ideas: 

  1. If you’re prone to cold but you also care about how you dress, maybe invest in some thin layers. Layering is stylish and pragmatic. You’ll thank yourself for wearing long-sleeves under your jumper when you arrive at your lecture toasty warm.
  2. Coats are something I struggle with. While I love a cheeky trench coat, the chance of rain puts me off. No one wants to come to lectures damp!  Try a waterproof coat like a Barbour.
  3. As for accessories, this type of weather gives you lots to work with – try out a beanie and a good scarf. My friend always tells me that a scarf can make any outfit look put together, even if you’ve just rolled out of bed. If you’re feeling down about the dark, cold months, maybe try out a bright, colourful scarf.  People will  respond to your bold colour choices, and it will
    Photo: (flickr)

    brighten their day! A pro tip is to always keep an extra pair of gloves in your purse for when the weather gets shifty.

  4. Concerning footwear, Docs are the way to go. They are waterproof, durable, have good grip, and are always stylish. You could be twinning with half the library, but who cares. But really, in winter, nobody is looking at your feet – they’re just trying not to fall over in the ice.
  5. Now what to stay away from. Umbrellas in St. Andrews are good in theory, but they’re very deceptive.  It rains sideways here and so to be frank, umbrellas don’t work.  A good raincoat will get you further and keep you drier.

Overall, during these months it’s most important to remain comfortable. Though this can make outfit planning difficult, most people are too busy worrying about how they feel to notice that much. Go for stylish but comfortable, and don’t let wet feet and raw, red fingers stop you from enjoying the last of the wintry weather.



106 thoughts on “How to Dress When Braving the Beast from the East

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