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I'll likely be moving to Michigan,USA soon, and will most likely spend a couple of years there. Coming from the tropics, I have very little knowledge of what to wear to prepare for the winter there, especially when I've heard comments about how it can get pretty chilly there in January.

Therefore I was wondering how many winter clothes (jackets, long trousers...) I may have to pack, and how many layers of clothing is typically required when going outside on one of the colder days. For example, would three top layers be sufficient for keeping warm when walking outside on a really cold day there?

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  • January, February, November, etc....
    – ouflak
    Jul 9 '17 at 7:17
  • @ouflak yes I believe my question refers to any time between November and end of February when additional winter clothing would be required
    – user98937
    Jul 9 '17 at 11:43
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    Where in Michigan? Southern Michigan, Detroit or Ann Arbor, will not be the same as Marquette.
    – mkennedy
    Jul 9 '17 at 14:07
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This is hard to answer as we have no idea what you mean by "top layers". I am also not sure why you would want to (or how you even could) buy clothing in the tropics and try to adapt that to a winter in Michigan.

At the very least you will need a warm winter coat. Dressing in layers is also a good idea, but the number of layers you'd need are totally dependent on how warm your coat is, how cold it is outside, what your layers are made of, your personal sensitivity to cold, and what you intend to do when you are outdoors.

You will be much better off waiting until you are in Michigan to do your shopping. Most importantly, stores will offer clothing that's actually suited to the climate, and you can ask local people for their advice on what you should buy, as well.

You can check a website like wunderground.com to see historical temperatures for your target location. Describing Michigan as "chilly" in the winter makes me giggle as in reality it's quite cold. Not as cold as many parts of Minnesota or Maine, but it is regularly below the freezing point in winter. Also, in most northern areas of the US the chance for freezing temperatures does not end in February, more like end of March to sometime in April.

See here for an example for Detroit last winter: https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KDET/2016/2/10/MonthlyHistory.html?req_city=Detroit&req_state=MI&req_statename=&reqdb.zip=48201&reqdb.magic=1&reqdb.wmo=99999

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