When the snow starts to thaw and the temperatures hover closer to 40s than 20s, you may start to dream of the day when you can return to al fresco dining at your favorite local restaurant. After all, some meals taste better when someone else prepares them for you, no matter how good you’ve gotten at homemade naan or tortillas during the cold winter months. That outdoor seating is calling your name. You’re ready for people-watching, for ambiance, and for someone else to mix you a mean cocktail (or two). Why sacrifice that delicious meal when you can dress appropriately for the weather and enjoy that not-quite-spring breeze with a side of oysters or french fries?
Don’t let the weather take a bite out of your outdoor dining experience. The next time you have a hankering to dine al fresco, just follow our simple tips to stay warm and comfortable as you slurp on specialty ramen or enjoy a few tacos.
The outerwear you choose for your next outdoor dining experience will probably spell ultimate comfort or miserable chills. That’s why it’s so important to choose wisely. When you’re dressing for late winter or early spring, it’s best to err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed. Given you’ll be sitting for up to two hours, you’ll appreciate your cozier coats. Before you decide, check the weather in your area. If it’s hovering in the 30s or below, opt for a warm down winter coat. If the weather is nicer, you can choose a wool or fleece coat with plenty of layers underneath.
Before you make a decision, you should also keep some specific features of your outerwear in mind. Coat length is an important consideration. Because you’ll be sitting, longer coats will generally serve you better as you dine, particularly considering many restaurants opt for metal furniture for their sidewalk or backyard cafes. Because you’ll be eating, choose a coat or jacket with sleeves that fit snugly or are easy to roll up. After all, you don’t want to get ketchup on your favorite coat.
When you’re spending long periods outside and the temperatures are hovering on the chilly side, you can’t underestimate the power of layers to keep you comfortable. Remember that you won’t be moving around as you wait for your meal, so bundle up before you gobble up!
That means building your cozy outfit from the underwear out, starting with women’s long underwear and cozy wool socks. Then add comfortable layers you’ll enjoy sitting in, like loose-fitting joggers and a cashmere sweater or light fleece pullover. Finally, add an extra layer around your torso, like a women’s winter vest. The extra insulation will help you generate more heat and feel more comfortable.
Does this sound like a lot? Are you sweating just thinking about it? Don’t worry—the beauty of layering for outdoor dining in the last few weeks of winter is you can always shed a layer or two. Grab a tote bag as you leave the house. If it’s warmer than you expected or if the restaurant has heat lamps, you can store your extra layers there.
In addition to several layers of clothing, you should up your accessories game to complement your outdoor dining experience. Even if spring is in the air, you should bundle up in weather-appropriate winter accessories, including a hat, scarf, and gloves. If it’s feeling truly balmy out, you can swap your beanie for a baseball hat.
Lastly, throw on your favorite pair of women’s winter boots. They are built to withstand long periods outside, and your toes will thank you.
Have you layered up in all your comfy clothes to keep you cozy as you eat? We have a few final hacks to keep in your back pocket should the weather call for it. Are you someone whose fingers always get cold? Because you can’t wear your gloves as you eat, sneak a few hand warmers into your pockets for quick warm-up sessions in between bites. They are an affordable option, and they will last for the whole meal. Lastly, if it’s required (or if it makes you more comfortable), keep a fabric mask around your neck and pull it up as the waiter approaches. It’s polite, and it’ll pull double duty in keeping your face cozy.
Now that you’ve got the outfit, the accessories, and the “hot tips” for your next lunch or dinner outdoors, all you have to do is choose the cuisine you’re craving and make a reservation. After all, if you’re venturing out into the chill for up to two hours, you don’t want to add on another 30 while you wait for a table. So, what’ll it be? Italian Cucina? French bistro? Chinese dim sum? Bon appetit!