What to Wear When Traveling to Russia

Light is how we’re traveling to Russia. I’m sure most ladies will agree with me that this is quite a daunting task especially because we need to look fab in all the location photos we take and that might entail having your entire closet right by your side. Maybe I should put up a wardrobe surfing service, a fashion counter-part of the couch surfing and the car-rental services? Until that is in place, here are some general tips on how to plan your wardrobe for travel which I customized to fit my Russian trip:

1. Know the Local Weather

The weather forecast was 14-18 degrees celsius with intermittent rain in the next 2 weeks.  My clothes should then be rain- and mud-proof so definitely no whites and light colored articles no matter how tempting it seems to be. More importantly, they should be able to keep me warm. What’s the point in looking pretty when you’re freezing to death?

who needs wool trench coats with this temperature

2. Know Your Body

Are you thin? fat? muscular? Are you dark or light skinned? Are you hairy or not? Are you sporting long or short hair?

Your body make-up also plays an important role in the way temperatures affect you. Muscles help you stay warm even without contraction according to a Cambridge study. The fitter and more muscular you are the more you can manage cold weather. So good luck to me on that!

Majority of our body heat escapes through our heads but hair provides insulation when the body temperature drops. When we are exposed to cold temperature the hair on arms and legs also activate our hair follicles trapping air that keeps our bodies warm. So if you are planning to stop by the salon to get a haircut or have your legs and arms waxed before your trip, think again…

Russia is  that part of the world, where seasons are defined as very cold, cold and not so cold which means that petite short haired tropical girls like yours truly need to bundle up  like this —

looking like an eskimo girl with these layers

3. Know Your Fabrics

I have a confession. I stupidly flew to Vienna for a winter-spring break without a single winter article packed in my luggage 6 years ago. Thank God, Ate Cielo (my Austrian – Filipina cousin) and I share the same clothes’ and shoe size.

Layering is the trick but this trick only works if you know what kind of clothes to layer. Bulky does not automatically translate to toasty. Wear thermal underwear which are made of silk. The beauty of silk is that it’s incredibly thin yet warm. I like wearing a simple pure cotton long sleeved shirt topping it with a pure cashmere sweater and then a wool or leather jacket depending on how cold it is. Add 1 or 2 scarves to make the outfit toastier. The best thing about cold season is having an excuse to wear colorful tights and knee-high leather boots.

wearing my leather jacket for the boss concert in april 2012

4. Know Your Activities

Exploring 3 cities would mean a lot of walking, hiking, and commuting. My clothes and shoes should be good for 10 hours of daily walking, hopping into trains, removing and slipping back into during airport security checks, and yet stylish enough to be worn in classy places such as restaurants, ballet theaters, and friendly visit.

The pair of leather boots we got in Paris and the new palladium oxford shoes I bought are tasked to do the job.

got this pair in a shop near Versailles after my UGG boots’ sole came off while exploring the place in winter

5. Know Your Style

I love simple and classic clothes. Actually most of the items in my closet are black and white. Maybe, I’m Russian deep inside. The colorful things would normally be a gift from my mom, sis, or hubby such as this bright yellow scarf I wore in Prague.

wearing a yellow Azeri silk scarf in prague during winter 2010, the first gift from the hubby when we were still dating

To compensate for the gloomy weather, I gave in to my mom’s advice and threw in colorful silk scarves and dresses in my luggage.

Whatever the weather is, I simply cannot leave without my sunglasses. I feel naked without them.

Check out how my hand-carry looked like after I finished packing.

Yey! I was able to fit them inside

This is gonna be my mobile closet in the next 8 days. Let’s see how I manage…

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