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What to Wear if Watching the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony

Spectators may see some colder temperatures on Monday

Spectators who watch the presidential inauguration ceremony live can expect to see temperatures anywhere from 43 degrees all the way down to just 28 degrees, if past weather patterns are any indication.

According to the National Weather Service, those are the average high and low temps for a January Inauguration Day.

While the weather forecast for this year's ceremony hasn't been set, temperatures reached just 29 degrees for the 2009 inauguration.

Hudson Trail Outfitters, with stores in Pentagon City, Fairfax and Tenley Circle, expects to see plenty of people stopping by to stock up on supplies to keep warm for the inauguration in the event the forecast takes a turn for the cold, according to John Holcomb, director of store operations.  

“A lot of people come into town as you get closer to the event. People run out of hand warmers, overcoats, hats,” Holcomb said.

So what are some tips for staying warm while waiting for the ceremonies to begin?

Holcomb said one of the most important factors in staying warm is proper layering. You’ve probably heard this before. But it’s because it’s good advice, Holcomb said.

“Layering traps heat and enables you to shed layers as you warm up,” Holcomb said, adding that the Metro ride back from the festivities is sure to feel stifling.

Holcomb also said that the base layer worn should be made of a synthetic material instead of cotton, because cotton tends to make you sweat.

“It’s like wearing a wet towel,” Holcomb said.

Layers are also important for the hands and feet. Hand and toe warmers work anywhere from six to eight hours, Holcomb said.

“They are great for making friends during the inauguration,” Holcomb added. “If you offer a pair of hand warmers to the person next to you, you have an instant friend for inauguration.”

A fabric or “space blanket” can also be a help. A space blanket is made to radiate heat back to you, and are most effective for helping block out the wind, Holcomb said.

“A stadium blanket is good for a group of kids,” Holcomb said. “Maybe it will help them stay warm in that little area.”

Holcomb also said it’s important to shop a few days before tourists start coming into town.

“If you are planning to go, shop sooner rather then later,” Holcomb said.

Also, keep in mind that all people attending the inauguration parade have to pass security screenings. The Secret Service issued a list of prohibited items along the parade route, which includes backpacks, coolers, glass or thermal containers. 

Portable chairs are prohibited on the U.S. Capitol grounds for ticketed viewing areas. There are also size restrictions on bags. You can view the full list on the Secret Service website.

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