Female fashions are challenging. Whether women are freezing and not admitting it while men are overdressing for the temperature or the sexes have different physiologies for thermostasis, bare skin, thin fabrics, and painfully tight shoes on women in cold weather need explaining somehow.
(Or men overdressing needs explaining somehow. I’ll get to that.)
One claim might say that women being “hot” is not as figurative as we thought, if there is a physiological difference, but I doubt it. I’m not an anatomist, but females’ brains, kidneys, livers, lungs, stomachs, hearts, and so on are probably too similar to males’ in structure and size to matter for warmth. The organs are likely a touch smaller, but only a tad. Women usually do have less muscle mass, needed for generating heat, than men have. Shivering works in muscle mass, and that’s especially in the chest. Women are smaller, thinner, and less muscular than men on average. So, if all else is equal, women should shiver for more hours or bundle up more than men do. But my impression is that women don’t. I haven’t heard of a difference in shiver rates and women’s coats are, if anything, slimmer than men’s. (Fur coats are not much warmer than furless coats and likely support convection, so may even be cooler for all their bulk. Fur coats don’t count.)
A recent study showed that females metabolize less than men do. A commentator said that women have different body shapes and clothes, which likely mean more convection. Women may be comfortable at environmental temperatures about five degrees Fahrenheit warmer than what men want, at least in offices, where people tend to be rather sedentary. The females are likely to feel cooler in their hands, nose, and feet. Offices should be adjusted to fit the science but a five-degree difference probably does not explain the total issue.
One woman said stockings keep her legs warm. That may be aesthetically or psychologically true, but it could hardly make a real boost in warmth. If stockings were enough, you wouldn’t need a coat; a shirt would be plenty, but it isn’t.
Physiology and Social Expectation
Not admitting to being cold because having an approved appearance is more in demand is more plausible. But that should lead to more scarfs and other accessories that could be draped or ditched as circumstances change. Maybe it’s not fashionable to carry that much stuff, but fashion designers and trendsetters could have fixed that by now. To a large extent, women’s clothing fashions reflect what men want, so not admitting to being cold may be just another part of social relationships, one that can gain men’s protection indoors. That would be sexist but not beyond common consideration.
A man pointed out a man wearing shorts as likely being too cold, in May, but he didn’t point out any women, and there were many at that hour wearing shorts and minis walking by on the same sidewalk.
Men overdressing in moderately cold weather: That’s the likeliest explanation.