Winter is my DH's favorite time of year. He would probably build himself a snow cave and live in it all season if he could. The one thing he has taught me is the importance of layers to stay warm, dry and comfortable this season. Before we dated, I probably would have donned a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt and just complained about the cold. But, now going outside and enjoying the day here in the Pacific Northwest is no sweat. It just takes a few keys. When I saw that TwitterMoms and Cuddl Duds were looking for submissions on layering, I knew I had a big to say!
If you have never heard of Cuddl Duds (sadly I had not before) and plan to go outside this season, here is a bit about them. You might want to swing past and see what they have to offer. It could be the difference between outdoor fun and outdoor misery.
About Cuddl Duds:
Cuddl Duds designs and manufactures high quality intimate apparel. As the leading warm underwear maker in America, Cuddl Duds has become synonymous with comfort and “feeling good.” Cuddl Duds is a wholly owned subsidiary of Komar.
Komar, the 102-year-old privately held apparel, consumer products and distribution services company, designs, markets and manufactures women's and children’s sleepwear, loungewear and lingerie. Komar is a progressive company with a global sourcing network that includes factories in fourteen countries andstate-of-the-art distribution facilities. Founded by Charles Komar in 1908, who stated “you only have one reputation,” the third-generation Komars adhere to this guiding principle while running the company today
Okay, ready for my Top 10?
1. Keep Cotton in the Closet. It may be a fabric for my life, and I love it, but when it comes to the wet and cold months I keep it for inside. Cotton doesn't add much insulation or wind resistance. This means you get cold. There is nothing worse than skiing in jeans. I have seen many a novice skier end their fun because they can no longer feel their legs. Go for wool, bamboo or synthetics to wick moisture away from your skin (aka sweat). These materials are easy to find these days and any reputable outdoor shop will be able to steer you to many fabulous options.
2. Try a Bit of Bamboo. This is one of my all time favorite materials for clothing. My son has a pair of Pjs in bamboo. It is soft, light weight and incredibly insulating. When you layer it is important not to get too bulky and bamboo can really help there. When I taught English in Japan, I wore bamboo undershirts and leggings every day in the Winter. There was no heat in the classrooms and this made my class time bare able.
3. Touch it. I am very sensitive to textures. I usually try to find the softest and most comfortable fabrics to have close to my skin. Depending on your activity, there may be some friction involved and rougher garments should be farther away from your skin. Think about a skier moving their arms. No sense getting a rash under your arms from the constant movement.
4. Go For a Color Palette. This may be a touch girly, but since I often pile on the clothing for warmth I want everything not necessarily to match, but at least not to clash. If you keep to a basic color palette it is easy to still look sharp and stay warm & dry. My colors are red and black. My DH likes mainly black for his under layers and blue for the outer layers.
5. Take Care of Your Stuff. Okay, once you find the perfect gear you should plan of taking care of it. Read the care instructions and remember that line drying may extend the life of some garments. We wash our more technical gear in a detergent free cleaner we find at the outdoor stores. It doesn't leave a soap film and helps maintain water proof layers. A little extra time will keep your layers good for many years.
6. Long Johns are not just for Miners & Cowboys. When I think of "long johns" I get an image of the scratchy wool, red jammies with a hatch in the back. Okay, that is not what long underwear is these days. It is simple, comfortable, fitted and fabulous! I have several pairs. All are thin enough I can wear them under pants, a long skirt, as well us under my ski bibs. I love them!
7. Carry Along Extra. I always dress in a basic long underwear against my skin, then depending on the day I wear or take along a thin pair of fleece pants. These I can wear under rain pants or ski bibs. The long underwear allows me to be able to slip on the other layers modestly. So I am comfortable keeping a stash with me. If the weather turns colder I am prepared.
8. Worth the Price. There are many affordable options available, but remember that investing in a good pair or two will probably take the place of several cheaper pairs. The choice is up to you, but you might really enjoy splurging a layer or two that are more "top of the line".
9. Start then Young. I guess this can apply to many things, but if you get your kids used to smart layering at a young age, they will have the skills to always be dry, warm and comfortable outside. We have thin socks, bulkier versions so my son can regulate his temperature. Believe me, they will let you know if they are uncomfortable.
10. Can You Move? Ultimately you need to be able to enjoy whatever activity you are doing outside. By keeping layers thin you will have a greater range of movement. And of course, the more you move, the less layers you will need. We always slightly under dress when we go out. If our activity doesn't warm us up enough, we carry a small pack with more options to throw on. Luckily modern synthetics make movement much easier. Just look around for the combination that works the best for you.
Now with this list my family will be going out and trying some skiing with the little ones for the first time. We also yearly trek out to cut down our own Christmas tree from the mountains. I know that keeping them comfortable can make or break our day so layering will be key. I hope you will get out with your family this Winter and armed with these tips you can enjoy the wet and cold, too!
More info: http://www.cuddlduds.com
Become a fan of Cuddl Duds on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cuddlduds
*Disclaimer - I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Cuddl Duds blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.