It's Cold Outside! -- Layering in Comfort
Instead of shorts, t-shirts and sandals, those who live in cooler
climates will soon be bundling up in layers before venturing outside.
winter ensemble includes an inner layer or long underwear, middle
or insulating layers including turtlenecks sweaters
or fleece items, and finally an exterior or protection layer,
your coat to serve as your guard against the elements of winter
-- rain, snow, sleet and wind. Sounds bulky, but when you first
step outside, you'll be glad you put all those layers on.
They protect you from what would otherwise be bone-chilling cold.
When it comes
to the layer of clothing closest to your skin, not all long underwear
is created equal.
When buying thermal underwear, look for national brands such as Fruit of the Loom or Hanes -- or shop your favorite sporting goods store for thermals that are used as a base layer in extreme winter sports such as snowboarding and skiing.
Work clothes specialists Dickies and Carhartt also offer their own thermal underwear products.
And, while it seems that cool colors and styles may be the last thing you might consider when choosing thermal underwear, some manufacturers have even come out "sexy" print thermals!
Choosing thermal underwear materials
Whle softer cotton is the traditional go-to fabric for most lines of long underwear, also look for lightweight merino wool, or wool and silk blends for extra warmth in colder temperatures. If your first priority is comfort look for synthetic thermal underwear that is lightweight and moisture resistant. For example, the Cuddl Duds company has the solution to this
problem with warm underwear
made of Comfortech, a lightweight stretch material made of
polyester and Spandex. Comfortech, unlike chemically treated fabrics,
provides temperature and moisture management inherently.
you begin sweating -- which you will definitely do with all the
extra layers on -- traditional long underwear will hold the moisture
in, keeping you damp and therefore cold. With the Comfortech fabric,
moisture actually moves through the hollow core, or microchannel
cross-section fibers of the fabric's yarn and evaporates
into the air. The end result, the wearer's clothes remain
dry and their skin stays warm, says Enid Katze, senior vice
president of merchandising for Cuddl Duds. She also points out
that unlike long underwear made of cotton that can be thick and
bulky, the modern design of Comfortech is sleek, soft, comfortable
and thin enough to fit under any fashion choices.
Dressing in layers for extra warmth
While long underwear is the base layer, the middle
or insulating layers can consist of turtlenecks, sweaters, sweatshirts,
vests and pullovers. If you'll be spending a lot of time
outdoors when it's cold, a good material to look for is fleece,
a synthetic which maintains its insulating ability even when wet
and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly.
layer, your jacket or coat, serves as your final guard against
the elements. It will repel water from snow, sleet or rain and
also take steps to protect your head, face, neck and extremities
from the elements. A hat of some kind is critical because up to
60 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered
head. A scarf
or fleece neck gaiter (like a collar) is also suggested; as are
insulated gloves or mittens and light- or medium-weight socks.
Boots complete the outfit.
winter gear should be a breeze now that you've gotten a refresher
course. One last suggestion -- don't wait until your favorite
style or size is sold out! Shop early and be prepared.
More about dressing warm in cold weather around the Web:
Staying Warm, Looking Cool This Winter