To brace for the cold weather, you wear three sweaters underneath your heavy-duty jacket. Not only do you end up looking like an inflated version of your former self, but you also still feel a bit cold.
What if you could avoid piling on so many heavy layers? All you need to do is wear the right type of fabrics for the cold, and correctly layer them. That way, you can feel warmer with fewer layers.
The following fabrics work best during the winter, especially when properly layered.
Make sure you stock up on wool sweaters for the winter—this fabric is the warmest you can find. As you probably know, wool comes from sheared sheep (and sometimes other animals). It has natural insulating and moisture-wicking properties that keep you warm in wintry weather.
If you’re worried about wool fabric making you itch, try the merino variety instead. It’s much softer and more comfortable than regular wool.
Silkworms create silk as they craft their cocoons. Although you might not think about silk when it comes to cozy fabrics, this material works as a great insulator. That said, you shouldn’t wear silk as an outer layer. It’s lightweight and breathable material, making it work best under another layer.
Unlike wool and silk, fleece is made of an entirely synthetic material: polyester. It’s meant to imitate wool and does a good job at it—fleece manages to keep you warm without weighing you down. It also dries quickly, allowing you to wear it in wet conditions or while exercising in the cold.
Down is a phenomenal insulator. However, it’s a bit expensive as it comes from the feathers of geese and ducks. When down is used in coats, it’s typically stuffed inside a waterproof outer layer. The more down feathers a coat has, the warmer you’ll feel.
Nylon isn’t just used in umbrellas and pantyhose—it’s also great for winter clothing. This synthetic fabric is modeled after silk. While this material won’t keep you super warm, it’s a reliable waterproof material that’ll help you remain dry in the snow.
How to Effectively Layer Your Clothing
Now that you know the different types of fabrics, it’s time to learn how to effectively layer them. If you don’t layer your clothes correctly, you’ll either end up feeling sweaty, uncomfortable, cold, or all three. This foolproof layering method will keep you warm all winter.
Your bottom layer goes underneath all of your other layers. The main purpose of this layer is to help you remain dry. When you’re outside for a long period of time, you’ll get sweaty no matter how cold it is. If your base layer doesn’t keep you dry, your skin will eventually become damp and cold.
The best material for your bottom layer is something light and airy. For this, you’ll want to wear a long-sleeved merino wool or silk shirt.
The middle layer works as your insulator. This layer may keep you warm, but that doesn’t mean it has to weigh you down or cause you to overheat.
That makes fleece the best middle layer—it traps heat while remaining breathable. A light down jacket is also a suitable middle layer, but it’s not ideal for strenuous activities, as it gets hot fast.
The final layer sits on the outside of all these other layers. Since this layer will have to face the elements, it’s important that it’s waterproof and windproof. Go with a jacket made of nylon to keep snow, ice, and rain out. A down jacket with a waterproof shell works as well.
Less Is More During Winter
You don’t need five layers of wool sweaters to prepare for the winter weather. In reality, you only need about three layers made with specific fabrics. Just remember that the more heavy layers you have, the colder and sweatier you’ll feel.
A jacket made of waterproof Gore-Tex fabric is another practical choice for your outer layer. If you already own one, make sure you know how to take care of your Gore-Tex jacket.