Thermal Underwear and Clothing For Stylish, Fashionable Women
How Hot Women Keep Warm!
Thermal underwear is essential wear this time of year if only because an especially cold winter is predicted on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011 2012. Thermal clothing is specifically designed to be relatively thin and light weight while still keeping the wearer warm in cold weather.
Thermals are often mistakenly associated with the elderly but whatever your age, thermals can be sexy! For a start, thermal undergarments mean we can wear gorgeous revealing clothes but still keep warm! And. lets face it, the modern girl doesn't look her best swathed from head to foot in thick woollen sweaters, hats and heavyweight jeans.
Diana Princess of Wales was once asked how she managed to keep warm when wearing fabulous, sensuous gowns for Winter functions. Bear in mind she would often need to handle photo calls outdoors. She explained that ‘Damart’ was her secret.
Damart is a French/UK company specialising in lightweight thermal clothing both for expeditions and also garments that enable the wearer to wear thinner fashionable clothes but still keep warm. Before we go any further, here is a little science.
Thermals are not only great for making you look fabulous when outdoors. You can also use them to keep snug while turning the heating down at home and saving on winter fuel!
The Physics Of Keeping Warm
When we feel cold, what we are experiencing is a loss of heat. Cold is simply a lack of heat just as darkness is a lack of light.
Fortunately, a healthy human body is constantly generating heat as the food we have eaten is oxidised and turned into energy.
The trick to keeping warm is making sure we retain enough of this heat to prevent us cooling down too much. There are 3 main factors that influence how much heat we loose:
- Wind chill
If we are warmer than our surroundings then our bodies, like any other hot object, radiate energy. If we stand naked in the snow, on a windless day (no I have never actually tried this, honest!) then we will quickly cool off and get cold. Winter clothing insulates our bodies by reducing the radiation.
The higher the insulation properties of the clothing we wear the less heat we loose. Insulation is also improved if we layer our clothes because air trapped between the layers is also a good insulator.
Another factor in cooling down is wind chill. If a strong wind is blowing, this greatly increases the heat loss from any exposed flesh. This cooling effect is even worse if our skin is damp.
This is why it is important to wear windproof garments in extreme winter conditions and to avoid having parts of our bodies exposed. For example, in extreme conditions, not wearing a hat or gloves can result in the whole body cooling down to a dangerously low body temperature.
It is also vital that our outer garments can ‘breathe’. In other words, allow trapped moisture to escape. If not, then when we exercise, there will be a build up of moisture inside our clothing from sweat that will cause us to cool down rapidly.
This is because as water evaporates, it has a cooling effect. You notice this particularly on a windy day when your skin is wet. The stronger the wind the more evaporation takes place and the colder you will feel.
Types and Styles of Thermal Clothing
The most obvious parts of our bodies to show off in a cold weather are the legs.
We can keep our legs warm by buying thermal tights. Look out for them in bright modern shades.
If you can't find thermal tights in a suitable colour then you can always go for thermal long johns in a thin material such as silk and then wear your chosen tights on top.
Add a thermal vest or tee shirt and you can safely wear a mini skirt of shorts with ankle boots and still keep nice and snug!
Another approach to keeping warm in winter is to buy a thermal dress. You can find both stylish maxi dresses and minis made from thermal material.
You can also buy thermal socks, stockings, hats and gloves. By mixing your regular clothes with thermal alternatives you can always make sure you warm yet fashionable!
Thermal fabrics can be either be man-made or made with natural fibre. In practice most proprietary fabrics are made of a mix of both.
Natural fibres with good thermal properties include silk, wool and cotton. Silk is the most expensive (comes from the silkworm) but is also exceptionally light and is efficient at allowing water to pass through it, keeping the skin dry and sweat free.
Wool is a natural fibre which is ideal for thermal garments. It provides:
- Good insulation
- Ability to allow moisture to pass through keeping skin dry
- Maintains its thermal properties even when wet
The most common types of wool used in thermal clothing are: Angora (from the rabbit of the same name), Merino Wool (from the Merino Sheep) and normal sheep's wool.
Normal sheep's wool has coarse fibres and is therefore itchy to wear. Angora and Merino wool has finer fibres and is therefore more comfortable next to the skin.
Cotton is a relatively low cost and comfortable fibre but not as good an insulator as ordinary sheep's wool. When wet the thermal insulating properties reduce even further.
Also, cotton does not effectively conduct moisture away from the skin. This means that if you are sweating, the material will tend to remain wet and will no longer keep you warm. However, pure, 100% cotton materials are great for summer wear.
Thermal Blended Fabrics
Damart have a proprietary artificial fabric called Thermolactyl that is blended from Chlorofibre and Acrylic. Many other materials are a blend of natural and artificial fibre. here are some examples:
- 50% Angora, 30% Virgin Wool, 20% Polyamide
The Angora gives this material a high level of thermal insulation but keeps the body dry. Polyamide makes the garment stronger than one made from pure wool and provides elasticity to ensure it keeps its shape.
- 80% Cotton, 20% Angora
This is 100% natural fibre - ideal for those looking to avoid synthetics and the associated itching. The cotton gives a light comfortable feel, with the Angora providing extra warmth.
- 60% Virgin Wool, 40% Modal
Excellent wear and thermal properties. Modal provides a slight sheen to the material and gives an extra soft feel.
- 70% Virgin Wool, 30% Silk
A blend of wool and silk creates a fabric that can be worn next to sensitive skin. Besides it's light, soft texture, the wool/silk blend makes it warm for winter and cool in summer.
Don't be caught out this Winter walking home in the Early Hours after a great night out, dressed in unsuitable clothing. An Arctic blizzard and frost on the ground will persuade you you really should have invested in some decent thermal clothing plus a decent winter coat!
Checkout what thermal clothing and underwear is available on the Internet and get yourself properly kitted out ready for a harsh Winter!