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Layering Clothes in the Winter

Layering clothes for the cold can be a hassle, but we’ll teach you the proper way, from head to toe.

Layering Clothes For The Winter Cold
Combat the cold with our helpful tips for properly layering clothes in winter.

If you live in the Midwest or Northeast, you’re no stranger to winter and everything that comes with it: the piles of snow, ice-covered sidewalks, the non-stop shoveling, and of course, the freezing temperatures. Staying warm when you’re not in your toasty car or house becomes a major priority for a large chunk of the year. Follow these tips on layering clothes for staying dry and warm during the next cold snap.

Wear a Hat and Gloves or Mittens

Even though it’s been debunked that you lose the most body heat from your head, keeping your head and ears warm is still important.  You don’t want to expose your skin to the cold, so wearing a winter hat is highly recommended. Another option is a fleece headband if you don’t want hat hair.

Remember to keep your hands warm, too. We are usually layering clothes for our torsos and legs, but forget about our fingers and hands. You can wear mittens if you’re in a mild temperature, but we recommend wearing sturdy, insulated winter gloves to keep your hands warm.

Base, Middle and Outer Layers

Using thin, warm layers instead of just a few thick layers will give you the ability to strip off layers if you get too warm or the temperatures increase.

Layering your clothes with a warm and thin base, such as long underwear, will give you a warm base to wear underneath your heavier winter gear. Remember, it’s important to have a base layer for both your torso and legs. Keeping your entire body well-covered and moisture-free is the best way to stay warm in the cold weather. Wool or synthetic fabrics are a great option. Their moisture-wicking properties will keep your body dry and warm.

Wearing a middle layer when layering clothes in the winter will provide insulation. The most common middle layer is a fleece jacket. If you find a classic fleece jacket too bulky, another option is to layer with a fleece vest, available for men and women.

Your outer layer’s main purpose should be protecting you from the weather. Picking an outer layer is going to depend on your activity level and what kind of climate you’re in. Softshell jackets have become popular because they are a lightweight option that will give you resistance against water and wind. A bulkier winter jacket is also a fine option. If you’re going to be in wet conditions, rain gear will come in handy. If you’re going to be outside working in the cold, bibs and coveralls will keep you warm.

Don’t Forget Your Feet

Wearing warm winter boots seems like a no-brainer, but many people forget about their feet. Finding a good pair of insulated boots can take care of cold feet. Buy boots lined with wool or synthetic wool. You can also buy lining to install in a pair of boots that don’t come pre-lined. We recommend buying boots that are two sizes larger than your usual size, and add the lining if you can’t find insulated boots you like.

Of course, wearing the proper socks will also protect your feet from the cold. Wool is the best option, but synthetic fleece socks will also do the trick. You can layer socks, but it may be uncomfortable and could close off circulation to your feet.


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