The Cold Girls of Winter

Are they brave or just insane? Meet the underdressed women of the Warehouse District nightlife scene.

BY KARA NESVIG | PHOTOS BY BRE MCGEE
Updated 2/7/2014

 

 

The girls are out. Down the streets of the Minneapolis Warehouse District, they prance in high heels past clubs vibrating with Rihanna. They hold their heads high, the excitement of a night out written all over their faces. Lines form on cold sidewalks but the girls don’t wait long; in their skimpy clothes they’re ushered safely inside the warmth of bars packed with people. These girls, legs bared to the winter, are brave soldiers, refusing to bend and shift their wardrobes to the demands of the cold. They aren’t scared of the glaring potholes and the consequences of a windchill. Beat on, you courageous, cold girls.

For those of us who spend the winter swaddled in bulky parkas, unflattering Moon Boots and double layers of pants, these valiant souls shock and amaze us. We shudder at the thought of what frostbite can do to a bare foot in an open-toed heel. We might scoff at these girls as we drive past, watching them huddle together in miniskirts, coatless — but we envy them, too. They’re not scared of the cold like we are. They’re young, they’re beautiful and they’re out to have fun, weather be damned.

 

 

CARIN BUSSE, 22, WEST ST. PAUL

Spotted near Aqua (with Emily Greenhaw)

“Minnesota girls are hottest because they’re brave. During these long winter months, it isn’t too often we get to see any skin, especially from females. When they do get to expose a little leg, they take full advantage. Minnesota girls are sporty, outdoorsy, sexy and classy, all in one.

“I go out often; I enjoy dancing. I usually go to clubs that play Spanish music, like Bar Abilene. My other favorite places in Minneapolis are Sneaky Pete’s, Pourhouse, 508, Brothers and Buckhouse. They offer a fun, younger crowd.

“When it isn’t above 30 degrees, I certainly wear a coat! I’ll wear my big Carhartt jacket just to ensure that I stay warm; it’s not the cutest but coat check will get it out of my hands once I’m in the bar. It beats being sick the next day.”

 

 

LYNDSY GILBERTSON, 22, DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS

Spotted outside the Brass Rail

“Only true Minnesotans understand how difficult it is to dress fashionably in these harsh winters. We might be brave, but I’m sure 99 percent of the girls throw in a few curse words or whine the entire time they’re outside. It actually helps us feel better about going out. We’re making a deal with the devil we call winter to look beautiful! There’s always one guy who makes a stupid remark about girls dressing as we do, but you wouldn’t look at us if we were wearing a snowsuit at the Lounge, would you?

“A lot of my closest friends are gay men, so it’s nice to have their input and be the stylish girl in the group. I love my heels. I never wear flats to a lounge or club. I wouldn’t feel put together. Make sure you know your limits. If you can’t walk or stand long in heels, especially in the snow, don’t push yourself. Seeing girls stumble in heels is not a cute trait. I always make sure my coat is dressy when I go out. Big winter coats are definitely for daytime. I was freezing … the things you do for fashion.”

 

 

RAHILA HUNGIAPUKO, 24, UPTOWN Minneapolis

Spotted outside Club New York

“I tend to dress for myself, and that tends to get people’s attention. I prefer glam rock that’s edgy, with a hint of classy. Mini-dresses are so college freshman!

“The most important thing to keep warm is your boobs! If they’re cold, you’ve made a mistake somewhere. Minnesota girls are so brave to wear barely anything because we crave excitement, attention and can’t stand to part from cute clothes, especially for four months of winter. We’re not outside for a long portion of time, so we manage.

“I don’t go out downtown as much as I used to. If I do, my favorite places are Pourhouse, 508, Aqua, the W and Marquee. My coat was in my friend’s car in the parking ramp!

“Sadly, Minnesota style is kind of generic: Ugg boots, North Face, Coach purses and big curls. In other words, Midwest couture.”

 

KENNITRA WILSON, 24, UPTOWN

Spotted outside Club New York

“Minnesota girls are the hottest because we can dress and look fly no matter the season. It’s always cold, so we’ve learned to deal with it.

“Coat check in Minnesota sucks. You can find a booth to leave your coat, guaranteed one person in your party is just out to be out and is going to sit all night. Most of the bars are close together, so you can brave the cold because inside is warm. Lines are relatively fast. Park the car, leave your coat, have a good time. If I’m staying on two blocks it’s not particularly cold.

“I’m still trying to figure it out [Minnesota style]. It’s the state to be you. I love Minnesota hipster style.”

 

 

KRISTINA PELL, 27, MINNETONKA

Spotted on Hennepin Avenue

“Frostbite isn’t cute. Throw some tights on with your favorite dress or skirt to make it winter-appropriate. There are so many amazing jackets and boots out there that blend fashion and function. I’m not trying to impress everyone; I want to feel pretty and polished in a natural, effortless way. I still need to look and feel like myself.

“I dress to impress my fiancé! I wasn’t cold; it gets a little warm in there [Mason’s Restaurant and Barre] after four hours. The cocktails could have contributed, too. Jordan offered me his jacket. Actually, he told me to put it on. My top was sheer and he knew it had gotten colder. He’s very sweet like that. I haven’t worn a coat the last two days!

“I hate when my ears get cold! I get that brain-freeze feeling. The worst part is when they start to tingle and feel really hot once I’m inside and they start to thaw. If we didn’t brave the elements, we’d be stuck inside six months out of the year. Going out in the winter makes us appreciate all the beautiful sunny days and warm nights we get to spend on rooftops and patios.”

 

 

CARLY BLACKOWIAK (left), 24, UPTOWN & KATELIN MUSSELL, 25, EDEN PRAIRIE

Spotted outside Kieran’s Irish Pub

Carly: “Katelin and I go out together a lot. We were sorority sisters at Iowa State. We went to 508 and ended our night in Uptown.”

Katelin: “If you want to go out, you just have to risk being cold. If you are afraid of being too cold, you end up staying home. Sometimes staying at home is just no fun. We’re the fittest city in the country. Minnesota girls are the best of both worlds: sexy metropolitan girls and girls next door.”

Carly: “I personally hate carrying a big coat when I get into the bars. [But] if my toes are frozen, I am cold the entire night. Thirty degrees in Minnesota is considered a heat wave, so I was just fine in my leather coat. Leather jackets are a great piece to have in your winter wardrobe; they keep you warm and work with a variety of outfits. When I go out, I dress for myself. I don’t know how to describe my style; from hightop sneakers to heels and jerseys to dresses, I wear it all.”

Katelin: “Adapt your style for the winter. Add tights, a leather coat, a cute scarf. Know where you’re going. If you have to be outside for extended periods of time, dress appropriately. No matter how cute your outfit is, it’s not cute to be frozen.”

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