What Clothes Should One Wear for Winter?

Unless you live in a place that has the same climate year round, the way you dress in winter will be dramatically different from the way you dress in summer. With cold temperatures, snow and ice, you need to choose your clothing thoughtfully to stay cozy yet still be able to move easily. And when you are inside a heated building, you do not want to be too warm, either! So the key to successfully clothing for winter is layered dressing.

Requirements of Winter Clothes

With temperatures dropping, you need to find a way to keep your body warm and dry. But winter clothes also need to allow you to perspire properly.

Layered Dressing

Layers of clothes help fight off the cold on the outside while keeping your body warm. The goal is to trap warm air and let moisture evaporate away from the skin. What to wear and in what order is something you need to think about. Clothes directly on your skin need to move perspiration vapor away and dry quickly. Synthetic fibers and polypropylene work well. The second layer provides warmth and insulation. The third layer serves as the outside shell and as such is directly exposed to the elements. Outside materials need to keep moisture and cold out.


Cotton: Cotton feels nice when dry but is no help when wet. It is not a good first layer.

Wool: Wool absorbs moisture without getting really wet. However, if a lot of moisture is absorbed, the clothes can get heavy. Also, wool often feels itchy against the skin, and some people are allergic to it.

Pile, fleece: These materials are good insulators but offer no protection against wind.

Polypropylene and hydrophobic fabrics: They do not absorb water and hence prevent the skin from getting wet. These fabrics work well for the base (first) layer.

Down: Down works well as long as it is dry.

Super-thin fibers: These offer twice the warmth of down and are mostly used for outer layers.

Not Too Tight and Not Too Loose

Winter clothing should be neither too tight nor too loose. Tight clothes inhibit free movement, and loose clothes allow the warm air and body heat to escape. Zippers and buttons allow for ventilation and let off heat or seal it inside.

Additional Gear

Boots, socks, mittens, gloves, hats and scarves are additional pieces of clothing that keep you warm in winter.

Danger: Moths

When not in use, winter clothes should be kept in clothes bags to keep away moths. These pests take a special liking to wool sweaters and fur coats.