Foolproof Basic Guide to Layering for Winter

by jiatongma

Jan 06 2023

Following the end of the pandemic’s traveling ban, more people are planning adventures to experience cold climates again. However, it can be pretty confusing for first-timers to layer up for cold places – and it could greatly impact one’s experience with the chills. Rest assured, this foolproof basic guide to layering will show you the science behind layering so that you will be able to choose your cold-climate outfits as you get protected with the right material. 

The science behind layering

Layering can be divided into three layers – the Base layer, Middle layer and the Outer layer. With the right combination and materials chosen, you will realize that the right layering will never interfere with your daily movements, as you feel as light as a feather for the entire day.

  1. The Base layer (Underwear layer)

The main purpose of the base layer (so-called the underwear layer) is to regulate your body temperature while keeping your skin away from moisture. If your skin is wet from sweat, wet skin could result in lower body temperature. Besides, the bottom-most layer will be the closest to your person. Do keep in mind that the base layer will be your main outfit of the day when you are indoors, so remember to wear something presentable and cuddly! 

Flannels, wool and polyester fabrics (or a blend of natural and synthetic materials) make great choices as base layer fabrics. Try to avoid cotton – as it absorbs moisture and is harder to dry up. If you unexpectedly got wet on your cotton base, you will feel cold and uncomfortable for a long period. 

When choosing for a base layer, you might come across with weighty options of either “lightweight”, “midweight” or heavyweight”. Thicker fabrics will usually bring a little extra warmth, so it’s up to the wearer’s preference. Heavyweight fabrics will usually be used on below-freezing temps. Furthermore, a wicking fabric has to be in direct contact with the skin to do its job, the reason why snuggly fits are the go-to choice for base layers. 

  1. The Middle layer (Insulating layer)

The middle layer is also essential in regulating your body heat. In Layman’s terms, the insulating layer helps you to retain the heat that’s radiated by your body – you will feel warmer as the insulating later traps more heat. But beware, it will not be warm if the layer or the inner is moist. It is important to choose insulating layers that are appropriate for your adventure.  

Typically, just like base layers, there is a broad range of options that make good middle layers. Think of wool, polyester fleece, down/synthetic insulated jackets and so on. There are a few primary factors to consider when choosing an insulating layer, including weight, materials and even jacket features. 

When you are choosing for the right middle layer, you can opt for different styles depending on the OOTD you wish to achieve. A cardigan or a pullover with a nice collar for smart casual, a blazer or denim jacket for a casual-stylish touch, or even a puffer vest for more insulation. However, don’t expect your mid-layers to be enough to protect you from rough weather, such as wind and rain. The right outer layer is still essential to protect yourself from extreme weather conditions. 

  1. The Outer layer (Shell layer)

The outer layer, also known as the shell for our layering, protects us from natural elements like wind, rain, snow and any harsh weather during your outdoor adventure. The outer layer usually consists of coats, jackets and pants. You can find shells ranging from pricey waterproof layers to budget-friendly wind-resistant layers. The shell will seal up all the layers to achieve overall heat retention, while allowing some perspiration to escape. 

It depends on your preference and the weather, to determine which shell layer material will be the perfect fit. If wind and water are allowed to penetrate to inner layers, one will get seriously chilled. The weather should determine the type of shell layer on you, as each material has different usages. For example, peacoats and wool/felt coats will provide insulation and wind protection, but they are not water-repellent. Trench coats won’t wrap up for better insulation, but works perfectly for rainy days.

Do you know that shells’ breathability can make a great difference to your adventure? Breathable layers are perfect for outdoor activities that require lots of movement. Soft shells make great choices as most feature fabric or fabric panels to stay comfortable during aerobic activities. Waterproof/breathable shells block rain and wind for breezy conditions. Non-breathable layers are typically made of coated nylon, and are decent for rainy days with light to no activity (e.g., fishing, spectating).

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To become an Atome user, all you need to do is download the app (get it here) and register by creating an account for free. Fortunately, the app works on Android and iOS devices. 

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When layering is done right, packing for your next winter adventure will never be complicated like the past. No matter rain or snow, never let the harsh weather be a barrier to your experiences! Zalora is here to witness your winter adventures together! With Atome as Zalora’s payment partner, you can easily split the payment of your winter outfits into 3-interest free payments!

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