Leaving the front door in the morning is an uncertain time for Haligonians, because our weather changes by the minute. It’s not an easy task to prepare for the ever-changing weather in Halifax, but figuring out your outfit for the day is a necessary challenge.
As a student, you may be commuting from opposite ends of Halifax, across the bridge, or even just from residence. It’s a good idea to figure out your attire for the whole day before heading out.
Spring and summer on the East Coast tend to be steady throughout the day, the fall and winter months throw curveballs 24/7. In February 2022, we’ve had multiple winter storms and record setting warm weather. Feb. 12, 2022 was the warmest Feb. 12 in Halifax’s history, when temperatures rose to, coincidentally, 12 degrees. Plus, you’ve always got to look out for the turbulent Halifax winter winds.
I have certainly added more jackets to my wardrobe since arriving at Dalhousie in 2020, including my first actual raincoat (I know) and a large Patagonia parka. Every time I think I have the weather figured out here, it tests me once again.
Long days and nights on campus, followed by a bite to eat with friends, calls for loads of layers and preparation.
One October, I remember playing a game of spike ball on Wickwire field in shorts. Later that day, I was digging for snow pants in the basement of my residence from a bin labeled “January clothing.” This is when I realized what Halifax weather really brought to the table.
Go-To Winter Wear
Layering may not be the most comfortable when you have five textbooks and a laptop on your back. If you choose your clothing wisely, however, wearing a hoodie and a padded parka will distract you from the weight.
For me, comfort is key. When a long day turns into an even longer one, you’ll be happy you chose your favourite fleece and not a tight button-up shirt.
Base layers are a good starting point for nearly any season. Whether hitting the slopes at Wentworth just 40 minutes north of Truro, or walking down Spring Garden with 40-km/h winds. Smartwool Merino, Patagonia, and Burton are some of my favourite go-to’s as an avid snowboarder and daily commuter.
Tossing on your favourite long sleeve over base layers in the cold months of January-April is a safe bet in the city. It’s also an easy option to store in your backpack or tie around your waist if you get warm.
Another go-to are baggy hoodies and fuzzy crewnecks. There’s something about a fancy fleece that turns heads.
My favourite winter item is my Patagonia Synchilla. If you don’t own one of these amazing fleeces from the sustainable outdoor brand, put it on your bucket list. This fleece comes in a variety of chic styles, is made from recycled polyester and is fair trade certified sewn. You can browse for your own at Patagonia on Lower Water Street or Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) on Granville Street.
Rain in Halifax is something that comes with living here; it’s inevitable. If you have the proper gear it becomes natural to walk to class in puddles up to your ankles without being bummed out. You can find the perfect lightweight and affordable waterproof gear at The Trailshop on Quinpool Road to get you prepared for Spring.
Remembering your favourite beanie or ball cap when you leave the house is also key because the day you decide not to, it will drop below -20 degrees and your ears will pay the fine. I can say from personal experience that gloves and a warm hat make walks more enjoyable. I toss my AirPods in both of my ears along with my warmest beanie and I am ready to trek to class.
Spots to look out for around Halifax
Halifax is home to some amazing local clothing boutiques, including small thrift stores, major brand outlets and tons of outdoor apparel shops. These are some of my favourite picks and ones to check out next time you go outside for a shopping trip.
The Black Market Boutique, located in the heart of Halifax’s downtown core on Grafton Street, has small accessories and room décor to spruce up your dorm room or add something unique to your outfits. It’s a small store with great vibes and murals surrounding the shop.
The Loot is a vintage clothing shop currently moving locations and preparing to open its new spot on Barrington Street in February 2022. Locally owned, this small thrift store will provide you with anything from the perfect vintage winter coat to a pair of black washed Levi’s from the 1990s. The perfect store for any thrifter or someone who loves to support local entrepreneurs.
The Biscuit General Store is a great shop if you are looking for a small gift for a friend or some new accessories such as tote bags or bracelets for yourself. With good prices and distinctive clothing pieces. Finally, my favourite locally owned store located on Quinpool Road, The Trail Shop. If you want to find one store in the city that will fit you with everything you need to wear in a day, this is the one. They sell anything from Hydro Flask and Yeti to The North Face and climbing gear. This is an amazing small shop with amazing staff that are willing to help you out with all your outdoor clothing questions.