Antarctic Fashions

What on earth does one wear in Antarctica? That really depends which part of the continent you are planning on visiting, and what time of year you are there. It is much warmer in summer time, with 24 hour sunshine reflecting off the ice and creating some very interesting sunburn lines if you don’t watch out…

On days when the wind is howling a gale though, you’ll want all of your ECW (Extreme Cold Weather Gear) on. The mittens even come with fluff on the back of the hand for easy nose-wiping in sub zero temperatures! Antarctica New Zealand have made this time lapse video showing all of the layers New Zealanders take down south. Notice the bright orange colouring of the jackets? That’s a safety feature, making expeditions more visible in the snow.

Wearing different colours also helps to differentiate people from different National Antarctic Programmes. The famous red parkas mark out the USA contingent, while our Australian friends wear yellow.

Tourists also need to be well prepared before heading south. Layers are key! Thermals, polar fleeces, puffer jackets, windproof parkas… you may not need everything when you head out, but the weather can change very quickly, so it definitely pays to be prepared. Alok Jha from The Guardian has a good example of layers.

Antarctica has also inspired designs for clothing that can be work elsewhere, such as this fleece inspired by Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Station:

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Burberry and thick wool may once have been the order of the day in Antarctica (see Robert Falcon Scott below), but no longer. It pays to wrap up warm to survive the elements with all limbs and fingers still intact!



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Cult Antarctica correspondent
Hanne -

Antarctica is a place for peace and science that has a habit of stealing peoples’ hearts and imaginations, and I am a case in point. I research representations of Antarctica in cultural production, and work as a polar guide and lecturer during ...

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About Antarctica
About this place

Although it is technically a continent as opposed to a country, Antarctica is represented on Cult because it reveals a unique and fascinating side of human civilisation and our existence on planet Earth.

Antarctica has no permanent population and no government. The Antarctic Treaty, signed by 50 nations, reserves Antarctica for scientific research and bans military activity. The continent is normally inhabited by around 5,000 scientists and suport staff, who live there temporarily. There is no capital city, but the largest settlement is based at McMurdo Station - about 1,000 people.

Normal ideas of time don't apply on Antarctica: it is where all of the world's timezones converge, so people there can choose whichever timezone is most convenient. In winter it is constantly dark, and in summer it is constantly light. In many ways it's a frontier of our shared civilisation on Earth, but like much of the world, it's often easy to forget it's there.