Base layer under clothes to stay warm

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  1. Hello all,

    It's starting to get cold here (and I'm always cold) and I am starting to look into products like Cuddle Duds and the like to try and stay warmer without adding a lot of bulk. Does anyone know of any more stylish ones?

    I'm looking for something that is machine washable and will work under crew tops or v neck tops. Right now I'm wearing J.Crew Perfect Fit Tees and it just isn't warm enough for me.

  2. cotton isn't a good layering option for warmth, as it gets damp and wicks away your body heat. Silk is best. Hanro brand has a good selection (price points are pretty steep, though)
  3. No suggestions from me because I'm actually looking for the same thing! Hopefully more people will chime in soon! :yes:
  4. People have mentioned WinterSilks on here before. I would also look into Hanro or Wolford if you have the budget for it. Agree that silk is better than cotton, but cotton isn't bad if you won't be doing much activity.
  5. Clothing does not generate warmth. It prevents warmth from escaping your body. The first part of the body you want to keep warm is your torso, where your heart is, because that's the heat generator.

    Depending upon your movements, the wind, etc, your body is constantly needing to change temperatures. It regulates itself by cooling off--sweating. If the sweat stays on your skin--it is water, after all--you will begin to freeze. OK in the summer, not so good in the winter. You have to get that sweat off your body. This is where your base layer comes in.

    Cotton is THE WORST for a base layer. Cotton is absorbent. Great for towels, bad for base layer. A cotton base layer will soak of the water and leave it there, against your skin, and you'll freeze. You need a base layer that wicks the moisture away--silk, merino, and some synthetic types.

    I prefer silk. You'll find such items listed under long underwear. They have no bulk to them whatsoever. Check out LL Bean, Lands End, and Winter Silks. And there is a New Zealand company that escapes my mind at the moment that sells wonderful merino products.

    As the base layer's job is to wick away sweat, the second layer is just as important. It is called the insulating layer. Generally, it is a fluffy material like wool, cashmere, fleece, etc. What this does is create air pockets around your body to retain the warmth.

    The outer layer needs to repel water and wind. Gore Tex gets great marks for this. It allows the sweat to be wicked up and out of all those clothes, yet doesn't let the rain in.
  6. I love winter silks. They are very thin and light weight. My only problem with them is the regular v-neck long 3/4 length sleeve silk top is not a wide enough V at the shoulders to not show under my normal v-neck sweaters.

    Does anyone else have that problem? Most of my winter sweaters are v-neck b/c I add a scarf for warmth then I can remove it to cool my body down indoors but I haven't found a v-neck that does not show.
  7. I assume the silk is not machine washable? I am allergic to wool so that is a no go, I will be itchy. I'm not worried about sweat or anything, I will not be doing any physical activity, I just want layers. I'm also not willing to spend more than probably 30 dollars an item.
  8. PixieGirl brought up another useful tidbit: the scarf.

    The first thing you do to keep warm is to retain the heat around your torso. Then, you need to look at where heat escapes from your body: first your head, then your hands and feet. Think of your body like a teapot. Most of the heat will escape through an open top, like your head. So, it is important to wear a hat. Now, to cool off, you can can remove the top entirely, or your can unscrew it. That's the scarf. You use the scarf to make minor adjustments in cooling off.

    The thing about bone chilling cold weather is that bulky knits really don't do any good. They're heavy, and thus restrict blood circulation, and you get cold. It's much better to wear multiple thin layers, which an be removed one at a time as you need them.

    Pixie, have you tried camisoles instead?
  9. Silk is absolutely machine washable. On a gentle cycle, in a mesh lingerie bag, with a gentle detergent like baby shampoo. NOT woolite. And NOT dryer safe. Hang dry.

    Also, not all wool is created equal. Most people who think they are allergic to wool because they itch are not really allergic, they are just irritated by the material. Good wool, like fine cotton, is made up of very long threads. When the threads are short, they are rough and therefore your skin is irritated as the ends of the thread are rubbing it.
  10. Good info e_nmn I wear leggings (non cotton) under my pants in the winter to stay warm. I'm usually ok on top because I layer with a sweater under my coat and wear a scarf too.
  11. I can't even tolerate expensive wool on my skin, I have to have a layer in between. Also, washing in gentle cycle and hanging to dry is not really "machine washable" to me. I do not have anywhere near enough time or dedication to do that... I need something that is wash and wear. I am looking for something low maintenance, that I can laundry with my regular clothes.

    I understand the concept of layering and scarves and all of this, but all I am looking for is a base layer for my tops, because it's too early for scarves. My arms and torso are always cold, even if I wear 3 or 4 layers and a jacket... I am just cold natured, so I want something I can buy a few of and wear mostly everyday as a hidden layer. If i don't do this, I end up dressing really inappropriately for the season because I just seem to not tolerate cold as well as other people.

    It's still too warm here for me to wear a wool coat and scarf without looking ridiculous, but I am cold and I have to figure out a way to stay warmer with hidden layers. I mean, it's going to be 70 degrees today... so I can't quite bust out the winter clothes, most people have on short sleeves or a hoodie, but I have on 3 layers and I'm still cold.

    I definitely do the leggings thing once it gets really cold, but it's just my arms right now!
  12. me too! maybe long sleeved tees that are a mix of fabrics will work well
  13. My Mom has used "Cuddle Duds" and likes them but they are a little ugly for my taste... J.Crew Perfect fit tees help a little but I was even thinking of borrowing my boyfriend's Under Armor at this point, LOL.
  14. I don't know if this will help, but I'd suggest going to an outdoor store. I once had to spend a few weeks in the mountains and ended up stocking up on baselayer items, so I could wear my normal clothes on top (it was for business, and I still had to look professional, i.e. not like a skiier or hiker). A lot of the base wear you find in these stores (especially for skiiers) is thin (because they need flexibility for movement), durable, warm AND very low maintenance. Some of the better brands, like Icebreaker, use merino wool, but you'll find other non-wool alternatives in poly-blend etc. materials. I'm not a fan of the latter, but if you want something unfussy and non-silk/non-wool that might be a good option. I ended up wearing everything I bought for this trip year after year, because it enabled me to wear summer and fall clothes well into winter.

    Another alternative would be something like Uniqlo's Heattech. A lot of people I know have raved about it - their pieces look exactly like regular t-shirts/tanks and can also be worn alone. Again, because they use a poly-blend material, the items can be washed with the rest of your laundry in a normal cycle.

    If silk is what we want, check those out. If you sign up as a new customer through Sierra Trading you get an email link for 25% off your first order.

    I'll more than likely go this route for DH and myself this winter!

    Thanks e_nmn_m for explaining all of that! :tup: