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Choosing clothes for the winter can be a difficult task if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Shopping for winter clothes can be fun and give you a chance to update your wardrobe, but your efforts will all be for naught if your clothes can’t protect you. So what should you know about the clothes you wear?

Materials

Merino Wool

Merino wool is thinner and softer than regular wool, although both help regulate body heat. Merino wool can remove sweat from the skin, unlike some other types of wool, and is odor-resistant and good for layering.

Silk

Silk is an interesting material because it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. By insulating and dispersing heat, silk can help you brave the cold. It also can absorb and wick moisture without leaving your clothes wet from the perspiration.

Faux Fur

Faux fur acts much like real fur, insulating heat and sheltering us from the wind. For this purpose, clothes with faux fur are a favorite among people in colder climates.

Cotton

Cotton is an insulating material that is well known for its comfort and warmth. However, cotton as a winter material is up for debate. It does not wick moisture and when it becomes too wet it loses its insulating properties. Rain, snow, and sweat can render it useless as protection. This means it is best left as a base layer of clothing.

Clothes

Winter Boots

Thick boots, especially those lined with faux fur, are ideal for winter. Sandals, slippers, and some brands of tennis shoes do not take to the winter elements and can leave you cold with wet socks. Find boots that are durable and comfortable for the winter months.

Long Underwear

Long underwear, or long johns, are a smart and practical trick to keeping warm. Layering can often be difficult because of the thickness of clothing or lack of protection some articles provide. Long underwear keeps you warm beneath your clothes and acts as another layer to protect you.

Protect Your Eyes

In the winter there are many dangers you should be aware of when it comes to your eyes. The excessive UV light from the reflective snow can damage surface cells of the cornea, and wind and snow can cause dry or watery eyes. Wear protective eyewear in the winter, and especially in the snow, like sunglasses and ski goggles.

Hats, Gloves, & Scarves

The cold can be biting, making it especially dangerous for your ears, fingers, and neck. Hats, gloves, and scarves are easy to forget but are a vital part of your winter gear. Hats seal in heat, keep you dry, and protect you from UV rays. Gloves prevent your hands from being exposed to wind and cold and trap heat so that your hands stay warm. And scarves prevent exposure to the wind and sun.

Socks

Wool or cotton socks can keep your feet warm in the winter and provide an extra layer between your shoes and your feet. Wool socks can wick away moisture, and cotton socks are comfortable and thick.

Winter Layering Guide

Base Layer

The base layer, or underwear layer, is the layer that wicks sweat off your skin. This is important because the moisture from your sweat in the cold of winter can cause you to become extremely cold and even hypothermic. This layer includes:

  • Underwear
  • Leggings
  • Socks

Absorbent, breathable materials are ideal for this layer. Natural materials like wool and synthetic materials like polyester or nylon are ideal for your base.

Middle Layer

The middle layer retains body heat to keep your clothing insulated in the cold outdoors. This layer includes:

  • Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Leggings

Like the base layer, breathable materials should be used for the middle layer. But rather than being absorbent, water resistance is key. Rain-resistant materials like polyester fleece are ideal.

Outer Shells

The outer layer is a shield between you and the elements. This layer will protect you from the wind and rain. The outer shell includes:

  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Coats
  • Boots

Materials vary depending on the article of clothing. For example, wool hats and scarves serve their purposes the best. Coats are preferably waterproof and breathable, and in regards to materials, there are a plethora of options to choose from. Boots must be waterproof and can be one material or a combination of a few, like leather, rubber, and nylon.

Making practical clothing choices comes easy once you know what you’re looking for. Take what you’ve read here into consideration this winter season to ensure you are warm and protected, even in the worst weather.

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