Wool base layers for tiny people.
January 14, 2010 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Looking for wool base layers in the UK to fit a small adult. Options?

I have one at the moment, made by Orca (this one), and it fits ok (it's fairly long, both in the body and sleeves; I imagine they sized it for someone about 6"-8" taller than me). The purpose is to keep me warm during my cycle commute into the office --- lightweight wool works very well under a waterproof.

I would like one that fits really well, and that is proving rather difficult. The big (ha!) catch is that I'm both short and skinny --- 33" chest and 5'4" tall. Further to my annoyance, many manufacturers either do not have a small size, or seem to think that a "small" chest is in the 36"-38" range (and, consequently, do not have an extra-small).

So, any suggestions as to who makes a decent, close-fitted, wool base layer for tiny people? Available in the UK, preferably.
posted by joeycoleman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
Obvious question, but have you looked at kids wool long underwear? My guess (as a 32" chest and 5' tall person) is that Large/XL might work.

(e.g., this from REI (I have no idea if it's available in the UK, sorry).)
posted by leahwrenn at 1:10 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: Howies go down to a size eight.
posted by cluck at 1:20 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Trekmates? They have XS in their range, and also their ladies' merino long-sleeved Ts would probably double perfectly well for a man.

Also try EDZ

You could also try these - it's a kid's clothing website but the merino base layer for 13-year-olds and upwards has a chest of up to 90cm (35 inches). And they're only £12.
posted by essexjan at 1:39 PM on January 14, 2010

Or, if not kids', how about women's stuff? Might be cut slightly differently, but I imagine base layers are not particularly shaped, so might work. Your only challenge will be finding something that's not in the ubiquitous pastel shades that many designers of outdoor wear seem to think are the only colours women wear.

(On preview - aha - Howies seem pastel-free!)
posted by penguin pie at 1:41 PM on January 14, 2010

Response by poster: I just realized I edited out the bit where I explicitly say I'm male; sorry about that.

The problem with women's sizes --for close-fit stuff-- is that a 33" chest seems to come with a 24" waist; mine is more like a 30".
posted by joeycoleman at 1:58 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: Helly Hansen baselayers come in an extra small (Chest: 34 - 36.5, Waist 28.5 - 31).

I have a HH baselayer (not wool-based though) that has been great at keeping me warm and has lasted 5+ years really well.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:14 PM on January 14, 2010

I'd think, then, that looking at long underwear for boys would be even more likely to work, since you don't have to worry about hips and busts---and I imagine it's really hard to find mens' stuff that small.

For example, Land's End's XL kids (unisex) claims to have the right waist, although it will be too long, probably....(click on the size chart)
posted by leahwrenn at 4:40 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: You might check Rapha. I.. uh... can't really speak to their small sizing, but I really like their wool cycling base layers.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:07 PM on January 14, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers; I've finally had time to go through the links.

One of the major problems is that many brands (Smartwool and Icebreaker, for example) start the adult male size at 36"–38" and stop the kids sizes at 31". What you're supposed to wear if you're in the gap, I don't know.

REI is effectively US-only, as they have an large list of brands they won't ship outside the US and the shipping is expensive. It's a bit of a shame as I've heard good things.

Howies and Trekmates both look promising; thanks for those. With the latter I'll just have to find out if they actually make the shirts in XS. I'll have to check out the HH baselayers, too.

Rapha I'd never heard of, but looks very interesting.

Thanks all.
posted by joeycoleman at 5:27 AM on January 17, 2010

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