When dressing for the winter, certain fabrics will be more successful than others at keeping the wearer sufficiently warm. Paying attention to what material your clothes are made of will go a long way to making sure you stay comfortable when spending time outside during the colder months of the year. With some tips and know-how, keeping warm during the winter will be easy and stress-free.
Wool is one of the most insulating fabrics, making it ideal for winter clothing. Some wools are tightly woven, making it a good fabric for wind resistance, and it releases moisture slowly. This means the wearer can sweat from the warmth of his or her clothing without the wool causing a chill. Popular wool items include sweaters, scarves and mittens. Wool is characterized by an elastic, woven fiber, and is taken from animals of the Caprinae family, usually sheep.
Fleece is a synthetic fabric, typically made of a plastic material like polyester. It is a good insulator, and dries very quickly, making it a good option for those who will be exposed to snow and ice, like skiers or mountain campers. Fleece can be made thin, so it is a good layering fabric, though it is not the best wind resistor. Because of this, fleece clothing is sometimes backed with a more wind resitant fabric. Popular fleece items include scarves, gloves and jackets.
Cashmere's makeup is similar to wool, but a popular substitute as it can sometimes feel softer and less itchy than wool, though it is typically more expensive. Cashmere typically comes from the cashmere goat. Though cashmere is lightweight, it still acts as a good insulator, as its fibers are tightly woven. Many different types of winter clothes can be made out of cashmere, including scarves, sweaters and dresses.
Silk can sometimes be associated with warmer months, as it is sometimes used for light clothing like camisoles, but is also useful in the winter as an insulator. Though a thin fabric, silk is one of the most tightly woven fabrics, and when worn close to the skin, can act as a good warming fabric. Silk is a protein fabric, usually made from the cocoons of moth caterpillars. In the winter, silk clothing can include long john underwear, pajamas and scarves.
Down is often thought of as a good choice for pillows or comforters, but is also a successful fabric for winter clothing, especially coats. Down feathers are a natural insulator, and are commonly used inside a quilted fabric for cold-weather clothing like ski outfits. One factor to consider is that down feathers tend to stick together when wet by snow, so it's important that down is protected by a water resistant fabric, typically a synthetic material.