Cold weather clothing for short men & for elderly men.
September 13, 2021 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for cold-weather clothing & base-layer recommendations for shorter men.

I’ve picked up my poor elderly dad and a the 20-year old kid and moved them somewhere very, very cold. It’s only September in the northern hemisphere and already there’s a lot of angst about how I’m going to keep them warm through the frigid, windy winters.

I’m looking for recommendations for base layers for two individuals. The younger guy is 5-5”. I’m concerned a lot of the base layers will be too long for him. Do I just need to take those items to a tailor? I can’t seem to find any where you can select an inseam. My dad has some minor limits to his mobility so something that he has to work too hard to squeeze into will not get worn. He is always cold, though, so the warmer the better.

Thank you for any suggestions. Bonus points if you have any other good-quality warm clothing suggestions. My dad is very partial to flannels and shirt jacks. They are both on the shorter side.
posted by diamondsky to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Men’s Uniqlo tends to run shorter.

Otherwise for basics, I’d look in the boys department.
posted by oceano at 10:46 AM on September 13

Silk undershirts/johns.
Merino base layers
Non cotton socks. Make sure they aren't binding.
Fingerless mitts for in the house.
Water bottles in bed . Heated mattress pads (better than blankets)
posted by Ftsqg at 10:49 AM on September 13

For the 20 yr old, I’d recommend jumping jacks.

For an elderly person, battery-heated vest.
posted by at at 11:49 AM on September 13

Uniqlo will also hem pants to your choice of inseam length for free, and I think they have lined jeans. (I buy men's jeans from them for my 5' 3" not a dude frame because I like the fit and the giant pocketses.) That doesn't solve your base layer issue, but it does give you pants with another layer built in which are pretty awesome and for your mobility-limited family member, means he doesn't have to put on and take off two pair of pants.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:03 PM on September 13

LL Bean sells flannel-lined jeans and chinos -- inseams go down to 29 inches.
posted by jabes at 12:41 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]

Seconding L.L.Bean. In addition to the flannel-lined pants, they have fleece-lined flannel shirts that Mr. gudrun is a big fan of. They also have flannel-lined shirts as well, but the fleece-lined flannel shirts are the warmest. Bonus is they have them in a variety of fits, from slim fit, to slightly fitted, to "traditional". My father was on the short side, and did not have any problems with L.L.Bean. Merino base layers are great, and non cotton socks. I also have started wearing sock liners. Mr. gudrun is also a fan of Glerups. (And yes, some of the larger boys stuff will probably work as well.)
posted by gudrun at 1:44 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]

LL Bean carries lots of base layers, lined pants, wool/fleece sweaters/vests, warm socks, slippers; you can call and chat with a rep about good options. I get cold easily and I live in Maine (and work for LL Bean sometimes), sigh. I wear a base layer, typically acrylic leggings/tights, then maybe pants or a skirt. Maybe a long underwear layer on top, cotton turtleneck, wool sweater. I have lots of fleece, but wool feels warmer, resists dirt, and is pleasant to wear. I have a stack of wool shawls and fleece throws for being warm while sitting.

A small, safe, space heater helps keep a person warm while not heating the whole house. Hot water bottles are fantastic. I pick up metal water bottles at thrift shops and use them with hot tap water to have cozy feet at night, even with the flannel sheets and down comforter. I sometimes use a hot water bottle if I'm at my desk in case my feet want to be warmer. Such a low tech but effective solution. If your Dad will wear a hat, it would increase warmth and comfort. A wool cap is snazzy, but a cheap watch cap will do. If you are around, take mugs of warm beverages to Dad regularly. Once you get cold, it's hard to warm up, esp. if you're older, and a cup of tea is a big help.

If necessary, gather around a central table, use a sheet as a tablecloth, and put a space heater under the table, Japanese style. It keeps the lower body warm, and that usually keeps people comfortable. Americans are out of the habits of staying warm, relying on turning up the thermostat, but this is not a sustainable practice.
posted by theora55 at 2:29 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]

We recommend electric couch throws for the elderly dad for whenever he’s stationary. We’ve bought them for several friends and they love them.
posted by serendipityrules at 3:00 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I just wanted to pop in and thank you all for the suggestions. I love these folks so much and I feel guilty for moving them somewhere so cold. This will really help me get both my guilt and their comfort under control!
posted by diamondsky at 4:00 PM on September 13

I do not recommend LL Bean for the short person. I'm 5’5” as well and their shirts are always way too tall and the pants have a huge awkward rise that is definitely meant for someone taller than me, even if the inseam is 29”.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 4:51 PM on September 13

Of utmost importance are warm feet! Be sure to get super warm boots for your dad especially, and get some with very good traction if he's gonna be walking on snow or ice. I haven't lived in the cold in a while, don't know what to recommend, LL Bean used to have pretty good really warm shoes.

Really, seriously, no amount of base layers etc will make up for cold feet! And mittens are way better than gloves. And cashmere knit caps are awesome.
posted by mareli at 5:38 PM on September 13

Consider alpaca in key pieces like a sweater or hat. I have a double-knit alpaca hat that is soft and dreamy against my skin but too warm for all but the low-20s F or below. It is an astoundingly insulating fiber. I pick up cheap (and ugly) dad sweaters at thrift shops if they are alpaca and embrace the cozy.
posted by minervous at 5:53 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]

I don't know how cold you are talking, but the great thing about long underwear is it really doesn't matter if the legs are a little bunchy. My gotos for long underwear are Lands End and LL Bean, although Costco has had some nice stuff by 32 Degrees recently. Those same stores have great flannels and fleece or flannel lined pants as wool. Merino wool is a nice layer and can also be found at those stores. Eddie Bauer can be another good goto.

I would be happy to make more specific recommendations if you can give us a rough temperature range. I used to live in Minneapolis and now live on a Great Lake, for reference.
posted by notjustthefish at 7:23 PM on September 13

Lands End silk long underwear is nice. The pants have fairly snug cuffs so even if they're a little long they should be fine.
posted by doift at 8:03 PM on September 13

The extremities are some of the easiest ways to warm someone up, and also the most one-size-fits-all. A warm hat -- a toque (or knit cap), warm (wind/waterproof) mittens and thick warm socks will add a ton of heat to a body. Scarf/face tube/neck warmer/balaclava as needed.
posted by Superilla at 10:00 PM on September 13

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