Tips for dressing warmly during winter weather - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tips for dressing warmly during winter weather

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By WRCB Staff

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- As you bundle up for the outdoors, you may be doing some things you think will keep you warm but they aren't.

Here are some tips for dressing for warmth and function.

 Layer Up: Look for thermal underwear made of a synthetic, usually polyester, fiber that has "wicking" power. This means the fibers will move moisture away from your skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. This keeps you warm, dry and comfortable. Silk is also a good, natural fabric that has the same abilities. Even though it's cold, you will sweat. The wicking layer should fit snugly (not tight) next to the skin in order to effectively wick moisture. Comfort is key for the insulating layer. It should be loose enough to trap air between layers, but not so bulky that it restricts movement.

Socks: Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have similar properties to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable.  Resist the temptation of putting on too many pairs of socks. You'll restrict circulation and actually cause your feet to get colder. Cotton absorbs moisture (sweat and snow), and retains it. When the wind blows, you will get very, very cold. 

Insulating layer: Fleece, a synthetic material which maintains its insulating ability even when wet and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly. Wool, which naturally takes away moisture.

Protection layer: Most genuine winter shells and pants are made waterproof and breathable to some extent by using tightly woven fabrics teamed with a coating or laminate. This keeps moisture on the outside but allows perspiration to escape, keeping you dry and comfortable. Depending on the weather and type of winter activity you will be doing, you may be interested in uninsulated pants and jackets/shells, or garments with increasing amounts of insulation. Look for functional hoods, cuffs, pockets and zippers.

Accessorize: Don't buy gloves or mittens that are too tight. There should be a little air space at the tips of your fingers, which acts as additional insulation.Don't wear jeans or street pantsCotton is a no-no.

Headwear: Up to 60 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat or headband is essential when it's cold. (Tip: If you wear a hat, you may be able to wear one less layer on your body.) There are thousands of styles of hats and headbands, usually made from fleece or wool. Many have non-itch liners. A fleece neck gaiter (like a collar) or face mask is a must on cold days.

Sunglasses: Sunglasses do much more than make you look cool. They also protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger.  Look for 100 percent UV protection in sunglasses. Make sure the glasses fit snugly behind your ears and rest gently on the bridge of your nose.

Gloves and mittens: Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer you less dexterity. Consider the type of activity you'll be doing.


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