After living 22 years in Kuwait and 2 years in Richmond, VA wearing mittens and gloves were more of an accessory rather an essential to be warm!
I have been thinking and recalling the difference I experienced when I go shopping for gloves/mittens in the there cities I lived in (Kuwait, Richmond, and Minneapolis). When you shop for a pair of gloves in Kuwait, you would most likely find really "nice looking" gloves and mittens. They are usually knitted or leather. nothing very thick or waterproof!
In Richmond, you would find a "nice looking" pair of mitten, and you can also find the very thick, and water proof ones. However, when you shop at a department store like Macy's you would only find the simple, normal mittens.
After observing and looking for places to buy mittens in Minneapolis, I came to a conclusion that you can buy thick mittens anywhere!! even from CVS :)
Also, I wasn't aware of how much warmer your hands can get if you wear mittens rather than gloves before researching and asking a couple of people about why they prefer mittens rather than gloves.
After observing people use of mitten and gloves, I noticed the following:
-people wearing gloves do not mind keeping it when they are in a warmer area (bus), because they can use their phones.
-people wearing mittens tend to take them off as soon as they get to a warm place.
I have talked to few people on my bus ride about winter in Minneapolis and about their recommendation to me as a newbie here, and most of them advised me to invest in a really heavy coat, good boots, and mittens (not gloves).
Also, I was wearing my Texting Gloves (which I will talk about in a bit) and I got into the bus. It was so cold and I was rubbing my hands to feel warmer. A man sitting next to me said: "get a pair of mittens not gloves" (that was before this project) and his justification was that mittens tend to keep your hands warmer.
Another approach to explore further about the subject was interviewing.
In one of my interview questions, I asked the interviewees to talk about their favorite mitten/gloves, explain why is it their favorite, and send a picture of it to my email. Here are interesting feedbacks..
I have interviewed:
Ben Banna, a Ph.D. in Design student who had a background in fashion and merchandising for few years in London.
Lucia Weilein, mitten/gloves consumer
I tend to go through mittens/gloves quickly (if they aren't the thick versions, I tend to lose them or wear holes in them), so my favorites are usually cheap and short-lived. My parents gave me some fleece-lined, multicolored knitted gloves as a gift one year that feature a hole in the side of the thumb (for phone/iPod use) and a mitten flap that folds back to reveal fingerless gloves. They are my favorite because of the warmth factor (fleece lined with a wool knitted exterior), the colors, and the functionality--I can wear them as mittens or fingerless gloves, which means I can use electronic touch screens. (did not send a photo!)
Reem Dashti, mitten/gloves consumer
Another step to this research was to try out different pairs of gloves/mittens while observing what works well and what doesn't.
A Knitted, lined with polyester mittens
This was my first ever mitten experience! I am used to wearing gloves not mittens..
Advantages of this mitten:
-materials (interior/exterior) very soft and I moved my hand easily.
-my fingers are close.
-little grip thing in the middle to help hold stuff.
-big in size. It was harder to fit my hands in my pockets.
-and if I didn't keep my hand in my pocket, I felt like a little person with gigantic hands.
-the grip patch is small. If I was holding a big thing it can easily slip.
-couldn't use my phone to dial/text/browse.. I took off my mitten to pick up a phone call and had to switch hands to put the mitten back and talk over the phone (my phone almost fell while I was doing this!)
-it is hard to keep them in my pockets when am indoors.
-do not last for long (get dirty easily)
-a little clip to keep both pairs together!
-larger grip patch
-interior material is very soft.
-Hard to stain!
-my cat loved it!
-grip batch is still small. I almost slipped a bottle of soda!
-still hard to keep in pocket.
-I couldn't use my phone.
-I can text, browse, answer calls.
-can be folded to fit in my pockets.
-I was able to use all my 10 fingers!
-doesn't keep you warm in colder days.
-material is thin, air goes through.
-things sometimes can slip from my hand.
-do not last for long (get dirty easily)
-the touchscreen doesn't function as good as without the gloves.
People need warm and stylish mittens/gloves because keeps them warm and adds to their outfits.
People need a way to keep their hands warm without sacrificing any of their real hand features because they want to have full control over their hands to be able to do everything they would without a mitten/glove.