To Singaporeans, the idea of rolling around and playing in soft, powdery snow is nothing short of divine. Getting the chance to experience winter opens a whole new world of romantic strolls on snowy paths, sled races, and a host of other possibilities that existed only in daydreams before. However, excitement and thoughts of snowball fights or roasted marshmallows by the fireplace should not cloud your judgment; for all the pretty images that the word ‘winter’ conjures up, there are certain hazards that come with it. Failure to prepare may cause you a slew of unfortunate ailments, ranging from the mundane stuff like windburn and chapped lips, to the downright complex and fatal like frostbite and severe pneumonia.
The prospect of donning glamorous winter coats and scarves in place of your casual, tropical attire may be very exciting, but don’t let it be your number one priority when it comes to your preparations. Unless you want to return home with your degree but minus a few fingers or toes, it would be a good idea to read up, gear up, and winterize for your upcoming sojourn to snowflake territory.
There are different kinds of winter coats and jackets, with plenty of materials and styles to choose from. One popular choice is the fleece jacket, which has a synthetic lining, and as it is made entirely of fleece, it is soft on the skin and suitably warm. For the fashion-conscious, a wool coat is be a good choice as it is stylish and naturally water-resistant at the same time. The only glaring disadvantage is that most wool garments require dry-cleaning, which may be too expensive and time-consuming for a student. Nylon parkas are perfect if you do not want to appear bulky, as the material is light but still effectively warm. If you need something with a little formal flair for important events, lengthy outerwear such as trench coats and quilted down coats will keep you snug and looking dressy at the same time.
If you are prone to allergies or asthma attacks, avoid jackets or coats decorated with materials such as fake fur and feathers. While they are indeed charming to look at and can provide sufficient warmth, they also collect dust easily and disintegrate into minute fibres that will irritate your already sensitive sinuses.
You should also pick up some good quality thermal underwear. Thermal underwear uses trapped body heat to insulate against the cold, and worn under your daily wear, gives you enough warmth so that you don’t have to bundle up too much. Remember, considerations for your health and well-being should be your top priority; the last thing you want is to come down with some winter-related sickness when your family’s not around to take care of you.