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Warmest underlayer to wear with dresses in winter
December 9, 2013 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a really warm underlayer for dresses for when I cannot bulk up on sweaters.. merino slip?

Moving back to the midwest and need some WARM underlayer/base layer to wear under my clothes that might not otherwise cut it as far as warmth..
I get cold very easily. Usually wear 2 t shirt and 2 sweater (cardigan+ v neck/turtleneck..)

Now need to wear more dresses, business attire, etc.. and can't bulk up so much with sweaters.
Also looking to warm up some great sweater dresses that are not cutting it warmth wise.

I am looking at icebreakers/smartwool merino wool shirts and leggings. which looks ok for when wearing crewneck etc..
but I am also need something i could wear under sweaters/tops that have boatneck/scoop neck or even under dresses (think business style sheath dress or light sweater dresses).

Maybe a sleeveless merino wool slip? or whatever that can keep me as warm as possible and stay as invisible as possible.
Was condering a slip, but dont feel like it is going to help with warmth.. They all seem to be designed with shaping in mind.

Any advice?
posted by kirikara to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I'd take a look at the Winter Silks catalogue.
posted by Ollie at 7:12 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've owned silk underthings woven with a little Lycra - FANTASTIC!
posted by jbenben at 7:14 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is silk super warm?
posted by kirikara at 7:15 AM on December 9, 2013

Silk is so warm and comfortable! Silk silk silk.
posted by discopolo at 7:18 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes, silk is suprisingly warm! It doesn't even need to be heavy. It's also easier to wash than one would imagine – you can wash it in warm water and line-dry (do avoid machine dryers). It also lasts forever. My favorite base layer is a silk undershirt so lightweight, it's see-through... and yet it is so very toasty. I've had it for 15 years now, always wash it in warm water on regular, and line-dry.

Plus, silk is breathable.
posted by fraula at 7:21 AM on December 9, 2013

Silk is super warm and is IMHO superior for activities like skiing.

For non-bulky warmth you are looking for silk underwear.
posted by jbenben at 7:21 AM on December 9, 2013

Awesome..! sounds cheaper than icebreakers too.. I am checking out winters silk. looks pretty good but maybe a bit baggy.. I am size 2 which apparently is equal to XXS. Any other suggestion ? they dont stock much in my size.
posted by kirikara at 7:24 AM on December 9, 2013

You may have better luck with some of Cuddl Dud's product, though I don't think they offer a slip; they do have leggings and tank tops, both of which should work under a sweater dress if not a true sheath in a lighter fabric. I'm a size two (but my stuff is old enough that the tag is gone) so they should still offer something closer to your size.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:33 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here in frosty Minnesota, Mrs. Advicepig has fallen for Uniqulo Heattech. Super warm, form fitting, and available in scoop necks.
posted by advicepig at 7:35 AM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]

Looks like lands ends has some silk underwear but obviously all the black XS are gone...
posted by kirikara at 7:43 AM on December 9, 2013

Seconding Heattech. I had a heattech shirt and heattech socks on when I was hiking in Moab in the dead of winter last year; while on a hike I slipped and stumbled ankle-deep into a a stream, and was a 45-minute walk from the car. The heattech actually kept me and my wet foot warm enough that I actually had to unzip the top of my jacket a bit because I was getting hot - and while the cuffs of my jeans actually froze solid, my wet foot stayed warm.

Heattech. It works as advertised.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 AM on December 9, 2013

[Heya, kirikara, glad you're getting some useful advice but it's better not to add running updates to the thread other than to specifically clarify/elaborate on info that folks need, etc.]
posted by cortex at 8:08 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hate the name, but I really like Cuddl Duds underlayers. You can get them at JC Penney, Khols, etc.
posted by neushoorn at 8:14 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have a cashmere slip/dress from Mai and it is so warm and awesome. It makes me feel like a super fancy person, too.
Now that I am looking, 3 versions are on sale! Maybe I need another...
V neck
U neck
posted by rmless at 8:27 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Silk is pretty warm and does not add any bulk, but it generates static electricity like nobody's business. It's already so dry and staticky everywhere, the personally I can't stand silk long underwear. I default to merino camisoles with merino tights under dresses because there is significantly less static and the camisoles work with a variety of necklines. Sierra Trading Post is pretty good for prices on wool underthings. As for the tights, I prefer the Wolford to the Smartwool (for softness and stretch), but the best pairs are Nordstrom house brand, which are vanishingly difficult to find.

Hanes used to make a bamboo modal long underwear (Jockey makes one now, and I can't seem to find anything that indicates Hanes still does) which are very low profile and much warmer than I expected. I still use my wool for outdoor activity, but I find the modal does fine for work and home. If I can't find short length pants (Cuddl duds is the only brand I've ever found that makes long underwear shorts for wearing under skirts), I just cut them off and hem them.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:29 AM on December 9, 2013

Heattech, definitely. So warm, so thin, so many styles, so CHEAP.
posted by HotToddy at 9:14 AM on December 9, 2013

nthing Heattech. It's the real deal. While silk is lovely, it's fiddly for laundry, especially in winter when you can't rely upon a warm day for line/rack drying.
posted by holgate at 9:29 AM on December 9, 2013

Sweater tights.

Sweater tights.

Sweater tights.

(Alas, if you say it three times into a mirror, the temperature does not magically warm up to 80 degrees...)

Seriously, though, the only way to wear skirts and dresses in the winter is with sweater tights.
posted by Sara C. at 9:49 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Re: sweater tights, I just discovered SmartWool makes tights. The other SmartWool stuff I own is incredibly warm and incredibly thin, so I want a pair of these ASAP. Machine-washable, too.
posted by Brittanie at 11:26 AM on December 9, 2013

Yes, the SmartWool tights are really nice. I've had them for years but kept hearing about how great the Wolford ones were. Just got some and they're nowhere near as good, just not as elastic so that even though they're the right length, they still bag at the knees. Probably can't return them, either.
posted by HotToddy at 12:00 PM on December 9, 2013

Nthing Heattech. I have much more expensive warm underthings, and Heattech stuff from Uniqlo matches it at a fraction of the price. (They're constantly putting stuff on sale and giving free shipping on orders over $50 or $75, FYI.)
posted by nosila at 12:11 PM on December 10, 2013

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