It may seem like a no-brainer that staying warm in winter means wearing lots of clothes, but there are some fabrics which perform so much better than others in cold conditions and we thought we’d take a look at the do’s and don’ts of your winter wardrobe. Whether it’s for exercise or every day wear, we’ve got a fabric for you.
Wool keeps you warm in cold weather because it draws moisture away from the skin and keeps it there, allowing you to maintain a decent body temperature. Obviously wool can be itchy, especially on sensitive skin, so wearing it with a base layer is the most sensible option.
On a warm day, cotton is fantastic as it soaks up moisture from the skin and then keeps the skin cool by keeping the moisture in contact with the body. In winter, however, this can be fatal – hence the old saying “cotton kills”. Wearing cotton for outdoor pursuits in the winter is advised against by anyone who knows anything about this kind of activity, especially if you’re a sweaty person.
Merino fibres can absorb large amounts of moisture and allows it to evaporate away from the skin. It’s what is known as an ‘active fibre’, which means it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’s also naturally resistant to odour, fire and even provides UV protection making it the perfect all-year clothing. It’s also completely renewable and biodegradable, if your conscience needs reassurance. It can be very expensive but is usually a good investment.
Polyester is a man-made fabric, designed to protect against the cold. As with merino, it will keep the cold out and warm air in, as well as reducing the contact of moisture with your body. The tightly-woven fibres mean that it’s harder for moisture to seep in and it can also be chemically coated to repel water, making this perfect if you’re going to be outdoors in the rain or snow.
Silk is an excellent choice for layering as it provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. It’s not as good at wicking away moisture as merino but is still better than cotton and because it’s so sheer, it can be worn as a base layer under even the most form-fitting jeans. It also has a luxury feel which will likely make you feel pretty special while wearing it!