Winter Hack: How the Chronically Cold can win at winter

By Aditi Arora

Hey guys,

So let me introduce myself:

1) My name is Aditi
2) I study an MPhil (Masters in Philosophy) in Education, Globalisation and International Development
3) I am often the coldest person in the room

As the Michaelmas term progresses, I’m finding the days get shorter, darker and significantly, colder. It definitely feels like survival of the fittest – dodging sneezing classmates in hope to avoid getting ill, popping (always legal) pills when I am inevitably ill etc.

So in this article I thought I would share my wise wisdom, accumulated from years of trial and error on a chronic quest to unravel the secret ingredients of ‘what keeps one warm?’ during sub 20 degrees temperature?

Here are five of my top tips ‘n’ tricks:

Although this may be the most logical piece of advice it is one that I often overlook. Sometimes I find that I’m so keen to be warm as soon as possible that I end up throwing on the thickest and/or fluffiest jumper I can find. However I soon discovered that this is ineffective, given that I’d heat up walking to lectures, or be sitting in a hot sweaty lecture hall and find myself unable to take my jumper off because I’m not wearing anything underneath #freethenipple. So I’d recommend starting with a vest and/or t-shirt as a base layer before progressing onto a long-sleeved t-shirt before a thin jumper (turtlenecks are the best I find) and potentially then the super fluffy jumper!

N.B. This is the most basic layering model – any stages can be multiplied for additional warmth.

This is a very personal insulation trick of mine. You know how everyone has his or her own signature item like a watch or necklace or something? Well mine is blanket scarf.

Blanket scarf has been my trusty companion for pretty much all of my outings outside of the June-August period. If you mentioned ‘blanket scarf’ to my friends they would know exactly what you’re talking about!

Not only does this aesthetically pleasing garment retain heat surprisingly well but also it is actually bigger than my entire body (see photo evidence below). Therefore blanket scarf can be doubled up as a shawl! To be used, for example, when you’re studying in the lib and feeling a taaad chilly but don’t fancy sitting with your coat on. Nifty huh.

Blanket scarf
The photographic evidence I mentioned

Then of course as the name suggests, this exquisite scarf by day unravels to a lavish blanket by night.

Fun fact: I have genuinely used this accessory as a blanket on the odd occasion that I have drunkenly slept on the floor…

Speaks for itself doesn’t it? A classic combo of instant warmth and minimal effort. This goes out to anyone who has told me that they “only feel the cold on the upper half” of their body – just try this and feedback to me. Every little helps!

N.B. This is the most basic model – there is an option to wear socks under the tights too. Colour tbc.

Keeping warm doesn’t just have to be practical; it can be cosy af too. I keep mine on my chair, ready to drape on whenever I fancy. I recommend buying one a few sizes bigger so you can really maximise the layer capacity underneath.


Following on from the ‘cosy af’ point, what is better after a long day of supos than snuggling in bed with an insulating duvet? Snuggling in bed with two duvets! Perfect way to keep toasty in a student house.

More eco-friendly and less risky than an electric blanket…Christmas themed too!


Okay I doubt you’re ever going to see the word layering so many times in one article #sorrynotsorry but it really can be applied anytime anywhere!

So this bonus-layering tip is for you Cantabs. Do not – I repeat DO. NOT. Make the mistake of thinking that your gown over your suit/dress is gonna be sufficient for that walk to the location of your formal and back. Do not trick yourself into believing that the gown operates like an actual coat and retains heat. In fact I find gowns pretty drafty and spacious, ideal for concealing additional layers.

Coat under gown
Looking like a voluptuous dementor

So I hope you’ve enjoyed my over-share of my 21 years worth of survival techniques to stay toasty this winter.

Stay happy and healthy,


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