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XiaoMandyX's avatar

Are you supposed to wear normal underwear under thermal underwear? Or are they underwear?

Asked by XiaoMandyX (165points) August 17th, 2018
27 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Heading north for college so I bought several pairs of these to wear (huge sale!), enough to wear every day. I’ve never worn them before, coming from the south.

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zenvelo's avatar

Wear regular underwear under the thermals.

Thermals are called “underwear” because one wears them under shirts and pants.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@XiaoMandyX – One observation.

Yes, the thermals will keep you quite warm WHEN YOU ARE OUTSIDE.

But you will go outside to get from building to building for your classes, and then spend an hour or more INSIDE the classroom before you go outside again. Sometimes longer.

So you run the risk of being uncomfortably hot when you are inside.

ScienceChick's avatar

Viking-type lady here. Depending on where you are going, wool really is the only answer. I don’t know what is in these Columbia garments you purchased, but I can make some recommendations on how to layer and use of good wool underwear.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I see it as a personal preference. Try it BOTH ways & see which way works best for you!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

How far north? Thermal is great for sustained periods of being outside. What @elbanditoroso said.

And they aren’t underwear like regular underwear that you wear so your clothes won’t get soiled. They’re underwear like a bra and a slip are underwear.

XiaoMandyX's avatar

@Dutchess_III Not terribly far north, just the Midwest. But I’m from the South so that’s cold for me. I have to walk to my classes so my plan was to wear these under my normal clothes. Isn’t that what most people do in winter? Will I actually get too hot if I’m just siting in a lecture hall?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@XiaoMandyX – The midwest is not monolithic. Winters are much colder in Minneapolis than in Cleveland. WInd is worse in Chicago than in Indianapolis.

KNOWITALL's avatar

We usually wear undergarments underneath them here in Missouri.

Dutchess_III's avatar

May I get an idea of which state? I’m in Kansas. We never have weather that calls for thermal under wear. Well, unless you work outside. But just from going from one heated building to another, they aren’t needed.

LadyMarissa's avatar

As someone who lives in the South & fully understands that anything below 50 is colnsidered cold, I don’t think that the thermal underwear will be as useful as you think they’re going to be when walking from building to building. I think you’ll be better off layering so you can add or remove as needed. YES, once in class for an hour or so, you will most likely be sweating & then when you go outside you will be colder than you normally would have been.

Most definitely take them with you because you will definitely need them when socializing with friends while outside. It won’t take you that long to learn when to wear them & when not to!!!

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

wool really is the only answer

I am huge fan of wool, but synthetics and silk have their place. Cotton is the last choice and to be avoided for sports because it’s no good when wet/sweaty.

I bicycle in the winter with a wool t-shirt, under a wool cycling jersey, under a nylon vest. That is good down to about 25 F (-4C).

But I’ve had similar outfits from synthetics and silk that work just as well.

OH AND regarding the original question. I go back and forth. I have also found it confusing. Sometimes I wear only thermals, sometimes thermal over underwear.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, layering.
If you do wool, you’ll have to put a cotton shirt underneath. It’s scratchy.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Wool isn’t scratchy. Rough wool is scratchy.

I’ve had people disbelieve that my smooth-weave shirts are wool. They seem like a slightly fancy cotton. Also wool/nylon blends have the warmth and loft of wool with great durability.

Ibex and Icebreaker are two brands that make really nice wool base layers. They aren’t cheap. I buy them when I find bargains on Sierra Trading Post and on eBay.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OH. Well. My Mom brought back a wool sweater from the Dutch Isle of Texil, where my ancestors came from. It must be rough as hell!! But of course I can never get rid of it.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Although the weather feels cold to us here, it has to get really, really cold before the wool sold in stores here isn’t scratchy. Most wool needs to be dry cleaned so I’m not willing to spend the price to have to do a special cleaning plus take the chance that it won’t be scratchy!!!

@Call_Me_Jay has found the magic combination for him; but, I tend to lean toward cotton because it holds in the warmth without making me sweat. @XiaoMandyX will need to be flexible to decide what is best for her!!!

kritiper's avatar

Yes, you should. Their purpose is to keep you warm, not absorb skid marks.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Most wool needs to be dry cleaned

I wash my wool t -shirts at home. Usually I air dry them to save wear and tear, but sometimes I put them in the dryer to save time.

Here’s the care tag from one of my Icebreaker shirts:
“100% Merino Wool
Machine wash warm with similar colors
Do not use softeners, do no use bleach
Line dry in the shade do not tumble dry”

JLeslie's avatar

My recommendation is cotton long underwear.

Having a layer next your your skin is a huge help with the cold. It does not have to be long johns, it can be a snug fittting long sleeve t-shirt or turtle neck under a sweater or wear shirt, or heavy jeans that are close fitting with long socks. It really depends how cold it is. Long socks make a big difference, because air gets up the bottom of your slacks. If you are going to have boots on that might be less of an issue.

My school was kept really warm inside, so once inside, long johns weren’t really necessary. Thing is, classes could easily be a 20 minute walk outside, so I just gauged it depending on where I was going.

A long coat can help more than people think if long underwear is too hot for you inside, but you need more protection for your legs. I know most men don’t like long coats unless they are wearing a suit, but I recommend it. I don’t know if you are a man or women.

I would definitely have at least one pair of long underwear (cotton) to begin with, and then go from there.

I usually wear underwear under mine, but like anything you can do whatever is comfortable for you. First time out I’d wear underwear just in case you want to take them off half way through the day.

Also, I know this might seem obvious, but you don’t have to wear both top and bottom. If your legs tend to be cold you can just wear them under your slacks. If you tend to be cold in too, just wear a long undershirt (long underwear top) and just slacks or jeans without the extra layer on your legs.

Basically, the main thing, don’t have naked skin exposed to air, and layer, first layer of shirts/tops against the skin. Hat or ear muffs or long hair. Scarf for your neck if you don’t have a turtle neck on.

I don’t know where you live in the South, but much of the South doesn’t dress well for the cold even when their weather is very cold, so they feel colder than they need to. A Floridian in 30 degrees still has on one layer and a light jacket, someone in Michigan would have on two layers and a coat in freezing weather. No wonder the Floridian thinks they can’t deal with the cold.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Panty hose is a good insulator too.

kritiper's avatar

The cotton 2-piece is what I’d go for. You may only need to wear the top portion, or the bottom portion, and you would be most comfortable. Wool underwear is something I would wear in Alaska, not the lower 48.
I live here in southern Idaho where the clime isn’t too bad. But it can get cold.
And I see kids wearing no coats, and shorts!

ScienceChick's avatar

I can wash my wools on the wool cycle of my front loading washing machine. You can buy some really soft nice wool undergarments where I live. I wear wool tights or leggings almost every day in the winter, but I wear underwear underneath. I change my knickers (underwear) every day, but I’ll wear the same wool leggings for a few days. It saves on wear. On the stop, I have some very nice wool blend long sleeve shirts for really cold days, and if I get warm, they look nice enough to wear on their own. Here, I found this. It seems like a good guide.

XiaoMandyX's avatar

Hi everyone. First THANK YOU for so much advice. I know much of it was aroud what material to buy, but unfortunately, I’ve already bought these ones (and quite a few pairs!)

@LadyMarissa You brought up a good point that I should just try them out to see if it works for me. On the first day I feel cold, I’ll wear the set and see how I feel throughout the day! Great advice! If I get too hot on day 1 I’ll wait till a colder day before trying again.

@JLeslie You said your long johns weren’t really necessary once inside, but did you find them too warm you were in class? I hadn’t even thought of that before posting here, since I have a 20 minute walk to class that I don’t want to freeze every day!!! And yep I’m a woman. And that’s a good point about not needing both top and bottom, I just assumed if it was cold enough for one, then why not the whole outfit?

rojo's avatar

I would wear underwear unless it was a pair of Drop Seat Union Suit thermals.

JLeslie's avatar

@XiaoMandyX You’ll just see how it goes. My school was kept quite warm, Michigan State U has its own heating system, steam heat from a central system like NYC, so it’s just constantly pumping out. It has to be under 30 degrees for me to bother with long underwear under my slacks/jeans. On top I wear a lot of layers though. During the winter I have at least two layers on top, plus my coat, sometimes it’s three.

Yes, you will enter buildings and it will likely feel very warm. My experience having lived in the Deep South, FL, Midwest, and Northeast, is the South does not keep it nearly as warm inside during the winter as up north. I was colder inside in NC and TN than NY and MI.

I hate a bulky feeling on my arms though. I often take off my coat before getting in my car if I’m driving far.

I don’t mind being cold outside, I hate being cold inside. I especially want to be comfortable in my home. Bracing for ten minutes outside isn’t that big a deal in my opinion. I’m assuming it’s at least 20 outside. Once you get in the teens it’s brutal.

rojo's avatar

Layers, removable layers are your best bet. I have seen people (and been people) who end up wearing just the thermal top as the final indoor layer after removing the coat, sweater and outer shirt to cool down.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo Yeah the top, but you can’t strip down to your thermal underwear under you pants when in class. In the dorms you can sure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This time of year, and in Spring, I have clothes scattered all over southern Kansas!

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