How to Survive Canadian Winter – the Russian Style


This post is by Maria Ushakova:

A few years ago, on a cold January morning, my co-worker walked into the office crying. I asked her what happened and she explained to me that she got so cold waiting for a bus that she couldn’t help but cry.

I felt really sorry for her but considering what she was wearing that day I wasn’t surprised that she got cold. Even though it was  – 25C with wind chill outside, she was dressed in a short jacket that hardly reached to her waist; she didn’t have any gloves or a hat and wore running shoes and a pair of blue jeans.

 I, on the other hand, came to work wearing a long winter coat, a hat, a pair of warm gloves and a very warm pair of winter boots. The difference between her outfit and mine was so striking that it was funny: I came to Canada from Russia and brought with me 3 suitcases full of winter clothing; she came to Canada from South America and had no idea how to dress in winter.

At that moment, I realized how hard it must be for those immigrants who come to Canada from countries with warmer climates to adjust to Canadian winter.

Dressing up warm in a country with a cold and long winter is an art and science that Russians start learning from childhood. Russian women even take it one step further and manage to not only stay warm in cold weather but look super stylish too.

What’s their secret? The answer is – careful selection of winter clothing.

It’s not possible to buy a whole collection of winter clothing you might need in one shot so I suggest you start with these items:

A Camisole

A Camisole by Change Lingerie


Are you surprised I am mentioning a camisole as a fist essential piece of winter clothing? Well, don’t be. You see, dressing up warm in winter is all about layers and a camisole provides you with an extra layer that can be worn under your outfit. Choose a camisole that is fitted and soft and buy a few of them.




Tights and/or Leggings

Leggins by Roots



Right now leggings and tights are in fashion and you can find them in almost any clothing store. They can be worn with skirts, dresses and long sweaters and as a second layer under your jeans or pants.




A Pair of Gloves and a Hat


Hat and Gloves Set




Did you know that you lose more heat through your head than any other body part? Even thought your head doesn’t feel cold, your other body parts are getting cold because your body sends all the heat to your head to keep it warm. So, please make yourself a favor and buy a hat and a pair of gloves to match!






A Pair of Warm Boots


Winter Boots by Ecco




Choose boots with a warm lining and make sure they are water proof. If city slush is leaking into your boots, you need a new pair. When shopping for winter boots always choose quality over price.






 A Winter Coat



A Long Winter Coat




Choosing a winter coat is also a very important task. Make sure it has very good insulation, a hood and is at least to your knees. Do your research before you buy. I suggest going for a brand that is specializing in winter coats such as NorthFace or Canada Goose. As with winter boots, choose quality over price.






If you already have all of these items – that’s a great start! If not, I seriously suggest you start planning your next shopping trip to the mall because before you know it the weather will be getting colder and colder and eventually it will start snowing. Canadian winter is on its way – are you ready?


Maria Ushakova

Maria Ushakova is the founder of and advocates optimal wealth and wellness for women immigrants. She created to inspire and empower women immigrants to live the most vibrant and happy lives.

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