Welcome to winter in the PNW. The time of year when we ask ourselves, "How many layers of clothing will be enough today?" The answer is a complex equation of temperature, humidity, wind chill and wetness.
To combat the "Seattle freeze," you could fly to the southern hemisphere — or you can cradle yourself in warmth from local companies, both inside and out. Here's how to keep cozy, thanks to a few Seattle companies.
Layer up with Woolly's merino wool gear
The dog might be thrilled to walk out the front door into the invigorating 7 a.m. air, but it only takes about five minutes to chill us humans to the bone. This is when the magic of wool shines through. James Kelly, a co-founder at Seattle-based Woolly Clothing Co., said that merino wool is among the softest natural fibers out there.
"It's designed by nature to regulate temperature in hot and cold, so it's great year-round," he said. "It's also moisture-wicking, odor-fighting, and antibacterial; all great qualities for next-to-skin insulating layers."
When it comes to keeping warm with Woolly's merino layers, Kelly said the underwear and t-shirt lineup make for great baselayers, and the Pro-Knit layers are ideal from fall to spring in the Pacific Northwest.
Merino wool also has a major benefit: it's a plastic-free material.
"Our landfills and oceans are full of plastic-based consumer goods," Kelly said. "Our mission is to move people towards natural options that look and perform just as well."
Shop the entire Woolly lineup online with free shipping always.
Get cozy with Feathered Friends
Is there anything more comfortable than relaxing in billowy-down bedding on a cold evening? Since 1972, Feathered Friends has been making down apparel and sleeping bags right here in Seattle. Some have taken Feathered Friends on Himalayan expeditions to the world's tallest peaks, but they also cater gear to those of us who prefer to hang out closer to sea level.
Juna Gates, the general manager at Feathered Friends, said that down is an ideal cold-weather material because of its warmth-to-weight ratio. It's both lightweight and incredibly packable, stuffing into any spare corner of the suitcase.
Gates said one of her favorite layers is the EOS Down Vest, perfect for layering in the Pacific Northwest. But she's also a fan of the down comforter and the down throw for warmth you can carry all around the house. It can also double as a cape. Gates also adds that down clothing and bedding are machine-washable, so even if you're a notorious coffee spiller, down can still be your friend.
Visit the Feathered Friends South Lake Union storefront at 263 Yale Avenue N. (a candy shop for outdoor enthusiasts) or shop the collection online.
Run, but still be able to feel your fingers and ears, with Brooks gear
Seattle can be a runner's paradise. Green Lake, the Burke-Gilman Trail, the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop and Seward Park are a few of the idyllic running routes we're blessed with. The problem with running in Seattle settles in when the chance of feeling fingers and ears drops far lower than the outside temperature.
Battling cold-weather running involves dressing in layers but without restricting movement. The Brooks Trailhead is conveniently located in Fremont along the Burke-Gilman Trail and is outfitted with every layer needed to keep the momentum of running through the cold winter weather. From the trail-to-errands Heritage Pom Beanie, the Notch Thermal (a hood and pockets), and so many glove options to choose from, running into Brooks is the coolest - but also warmest - thing to keep you moving this winter. The Run Visible collection is also around to help with runs that happen in the seemingly 20 hours of January darkness.
Brooks Trailhead flagship store is located at 3400 Stone Way N, or shop the entire collection online.
Hot drinks all day long, thanks to the insulation of MiiR
Cold months call for warm drinks, including but not limited to hot coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, hot toddy, hot mulled wine, hot apple cider and hot Irish coffee. These drinks start out hot, but they so often become the forgotten mug of room-temperature beverages. The simple solution is to keep those drinks warm for hours with MiiR's lineup of drinkware.
Made of premium stainless steel, MiiR is a Seattle-based company that uses Thermo 3D Double wall vacuum insulation to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. The camp cup is a solid choice for coffee or the tumbler collection is great for on-the-go drinks. Coffee or tea fanatics know the importance of precise water temperature, which is where MiiR's pour-over kettle comes in handy with its built-in thermometer. It's also great for making hot chocolate that won't scorch your mouth on the first sip.
But not all winter beverages are best served hot. A handful of holiday libations are best when chilled, and the MiiR cocktail shaker set and bar tools mean you can make cocktails anywhere, impressing friends as the traveling bartender.
Shop the entire MiiR collection online.
Kick up the warmth with Papa Tony's Hot Sauce
One of the most effective ways to warm up is by heating things up on the inside.
A pandemic project turned business, Papa Tony's Hot Sauce marries Tony Wilson's love of cooking with his love of spice and heat. Papa Tony's began with four original hot sauces: garlic habanero, ghostly garlic, mango habanero and scorpion's kiss — a scorpion pepper and strawberry hot sauce for a sweet and spicy flavor.
While you really can't go wrong adding hot sauce to any dish, Wilson recommends adding Papa Tony's Hot Sauce to your winter dishes of beef stew and gumbo. Both make for a hearty and warming winter meal, made perfect with the addition of thoughtfully crafted hot sauce.
Shop Papa Tony's Hot Sauce at all PCC locations, at the West Seattle Farmers Market(every Sunday year-round), and online at Papa Tony's website.
Lauren Allain is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. See more of her work here. Note: Some products mentioned were provided free of charge. However, we were under no obligation to write anything other than our opinions.