Base Layer for Buffalo!
November 28, 2010 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a base layer (long underwear!), for a Buffalo winter, please! Specific needs inside:

I need a base layer that meets the following criteria:
- warm enough to keep me reasonably unfrozen on my short (~10 minute) walk to work if worn under my thin poly-cotton scrubs but not so toasty that I will boil at work (my workplace is not roasting hot)
- versatile enough that if worn under warmer clothes like jeans, I will stay toasty for long (2+ hour) dog walks
- comfortable and easy/quick to put on (I have used thick tights for this in the past, but they are annoying to put on and take off)
- slick enough to allow clothes to slide over them easily without catching
posted by biscotti to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Definitely silk long underwear.
- they are obviously silky so your clothes will glide over them
- I find them very windproof which is great for long walks
- but they are a natural fiber and quite thin, and shouldn't make you overheat during the day (if you are very active in a heated environment, you might get warm, but it's worth a shot!).

I've bought mine from REI and WinterSilks. They'll last for years and years if you wash them on gentle or put them in a lingerie bag when laundering. I always hang them to dry. Get two pairs and rotate!
posted by barnone at 3:20 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Icebreaker merino leggings. The also come in a lighter 200 version if the 260 grade seems too thick. They're pricey, but everything Icebreaker I own has lasted years without showing any significant wear so I'd say they're worth it.
posted by Lorin at 3:21 PM on November 28, 2010

I haven't done it myself, but had a friend who swore by simple panty hose under his camos on cold winter morning hunting trips. It's cheap enough to test.
posted by wsg at 3:28 PM on November 28, 2010

I've used the Eddie Bauer ones in Buffalo winters (although not for 15+ years! Don't shoot me if they've changed - I'm still wearing my hole-y ones!) I also just found something from Sam's club called cuddlez (or something cutesy like that) - they are good too. Basically you just want a lot of thin layers to trap body heat, so don't get too caught up on the brand - I've heard of other men doing wsg's hose thing and it working.

I also like the glove warmer one-use pad things that a lot of sporting goods places sell.
posted by cestmoi15 at 3:54 PM on November 28, 2010

Second the Icebreaker bodyfit leggings. Once you try them you'll never buy anything else.
posted by drewgillson at 4:04 PM on November 28, 2010

I just bought an under armour set (I got a female set, but there are male ones) They come in three levels of warmth, the lightest (1) looks the most versatile. I was looking for one for skiing. I have seen them at $50 each for a top and bottom, but can be found cheaper (got them at TJ Maxx in Cleveland for half price.
It is a bit pricey, but they come in black and are versatile to wear under tops such as scrubs. Here is a link to a picture:
posted by greatalleycat at 4:04 PM on November 28, 2010

Hi biscotti. I moved to Buffalo in 1993 with LL Bean silk long underwear. I hoofed it to and from the bus on South campus and all over North campus in the blinding wind for years. I now live in the Southtowns. I stand by the silk long underwear-- specifically the pointelle.
posted by oflinkey at 4:26 PM on November 28, 2010

Patagonia Capiliene. Number 3 or midweight.
posted by Phoenix42 at 5:37 PM on November 28, 2010

I nth the vote for silk long underwear; it got me through a February trip to Iceland handily, feels great and is not at all bulky. Before I discovered this, I got through many snow belt winters with Cuddl Duds, which may be what cestmoi15 is referring to; they feel more like brushed cotton pjs and are definitely cuter and more comfortable than traditional waffle long johns. You should be able to find options in either that will not choke you (v- or scoop neck).
posted by Morrigan at 6:56 PM on November 28, 2010

Smartwool. Lovely thing about wool is it won't make you completely roast indoors, but will keep you mighty warm inside. I feel like a Smartwool evangelist, but it has kept me happy and warm in Alaska this winter.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:50 PM on November 28, 2010

Another thing that I found I really liked in cold Cleveland winters was an extra layer just around my midriff. This is the idea, but I used a Target brand version of those Bella Band maternity accessories--they fit fine over a non-pregnant torso and are very easy to take off when you're inside.
posted by redfoxtail at 9:52 PM on November 28, 2010

Best answer: I use silk longjohns most of the time, then bump up to Patagonia Capilene 3 on coldest days in NYC. I could imagine the silk being inadequate in Buffalo winters (as I've heard of, but not experienced them) but they're the only thing that would be tolerable during the work day.
posted by xueexueg at 7:42 AM on November 29, 2010

For years I've used a pair of cotton flannel pajama bottoms under my trousers. Cheap, warm, and works well indoors. Vermont certified.
posted by partner at 3:49 PM on November 29, 2010

Thirding icebreaker merino wool leggings (260 weight). Like it has been said, a little pricey
posted by wcfields at 4:54 PM on November 29, 2010

Best answer: I also love the Icebreaker line (I have a beloved zip-up shirt too) but they could be too warm while working in a fairly active job indoors.

Perhaps the solution is to get one pair of silk long underwear for the days at work, and another pair of the Icebreaker merino leggings for long walks and hikes. You could get one set this year, and another set at the end of the season with the sales.
posted by barnone at 9:00 PM on November 29, 2010

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