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Winter Attire Requirements

Smeal MBA Class of 2015 student Lauren Rizzo contributed the following information which is very beneficial for incoming students looking to prepare for the colder months in State College:

The Main Event: Winter Jacket - $60-180
Find something that is either down-filled or synthetic-filled (puffy coats) or double-layered. Double-layered jackets and parkas are ideal for winter and spring and usually consist of a wind-breaking and water-resistant outer layer that can be zipped away from a fleece-lined inner layer. Some manufacturers make the inner layer reversible as well. If you're planning on taking up skiing or other winter/snow sports, double-layered is probably the way to go. If you're small and can fit into children's sizes, they work just as well and will be less expensive.

Best brands in mid-range price are Columbia, Marmot, and North Face which can be found at a variety of retailers (Appalachian Outdoors, downtown, is carrying a number of these brands). Expect to pay up to ~$180 for these brands, but sometimes you can find great sales that brings the price down to about $100. If you're looking for less pricey options, check Kohls by the Target in State College. They carry brands called ZeroXposure and Tek which are relatively low-price for decent quality (probably 2-3 years of use, if I had to guess).

Gloves/Mittens -  $15-25
Leather gloves will only get you so far, as will stretchy polyester blends. In the dead of winter, you'll want gloves or mittens that are fleece-lined or have other heat-capturing properties. Gloves with water resistant exteriors are great for playing in the snow, and cleaning off cars when it's 10 degrees out.

Hat - $8-20
Personally, I'm not picky about hats. You can find fleece bands that just cover your ears, or go for a full hat. You probably don't need help on this one. Most hats do the trick just fine. In winter, I add a fleece lining to my knit hats for additional warmth, but most people don't even go that far. You can probably find PSU hats at every store downtown.

Scarf or Neck Gaiter - $8-28
Between your coat and your chin is your throat, and winter likes to bite. Protect yourself with a scarf (not a fashion scarf), or a Neck Gaiter. Gaiters are a tube of fleece fabric that slides over your head and protects your throat and can be brought up to cover the nose and mouth when the weather makes your saliva freeze. Brands like Turtlefur are well-known can be bought at outdoor clothing retailers like Appalachian Outdoors. You can probably also make your own with a quick trip to Joann's fabrics by the mall. Scarves can be purchased at places like Walmart, Target, or Kohls for a decent price.

Boots - $30-$90
Good boots will keep you from slipping on ice, protect your feet from that 4-inch-deep puddle of slush you accidentally walked through, and keep your feet nice and warm. As with any shoe purchase, make sure the boots are comfortable when walking around. Wear medium- to heavy-weight socks to try on boots (the idea is to keep you warm). Kohls also has a great selection of boots that should easily last you a couple of PA winters and they're usually on sale. Good boots should reach to at least higher than your ankles and ideally hit mid-calf if you anticipate walking through snow. They should also be insulated with fleece or synthetic material (this is the difference between winter boots and work boots).

At Kohls, look for Totes, Sorel, or Therma brand boots. You can also find Totes brand boots at the Sears in the Nittany Mall. Additionally, there is a shoe store in the mall (Shoe Dept) that carries a wide variety of brands at discount prices. Look specifically for Timberland. With boots, you generally get what you pay for, and decent winter boots should run you no less than $30.

Snowpants: Generally unnecessary unless you're planning for a good romp in the snow. Also usually pretty expensive. When buying snowpants, look for a pair that is water-proof and has a separate seal on the ankle cuff that will fit around the outside of your boot to prevent snow from falling in. Make sure you're able to comfortably sit and jump. Look for pockets to keep things like your ID and keys as it's pretty hard to get to these items in your under-layers. When trying on snowpants, they are generally worn over another pant-layer such as thermals, jeans, or sweatpants.

Thermals: Thermal underwear and thermal layers are generally tight-fitting layers that are closest to the skin and can be worn under jeans, sweatshirts or other long-sleeved items. They work by keeping your body-heat in and are great for days when you know you'll be outside for a long time.

Glove and Boot Warmers: You can buy pairs of packets of boot and glove warmers at most clothing outfitters in the winter. These are for days when you anticipate having to walk home in the cold, or wait a long time for the bus. Crack a packet open and put in your gloves or boots. You'll be surprised how hot these get.

Ski Socks: The thickest, cushiest socks. Probably unnecessary unless your feet get very cold when walking around. These are pricey though and will probably run you about $15-25 a pair.