I've been reading up on dressing for cold weather in preparation for next winter's trip to Switzerland. I'm a warm weather gal, and have never really been in freezing temperatures for longer than an afternoon of skiing. "Layers" seems to be everyone's answer to dressing for the cold. Okay. But how many layers? Doesn't all that bunched up fabric eventually cause difficulty bending at the elbows and the knees? I don't want to amble through Zurich like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
When I typed "How to dress in layers for cold weather" into Google, I got a very helpful link to REI with some useful information. REI recommends a base layer, a fleece layer, and then a warm waterproof jacket or shell. The most important layer, I've learned, is apparently the base layer next to your skin. According to REI and several other outdoorsy websites, the base layer should be crafted from a moisture-wicking fabric, i.e. some kind of polyester blend, and definitely not from cotton because cotton absorbs moisture. So here's my question: why are all my old thermal underwear sets (yeah, okay, they're from the '90s) 100% cotton? And when I search on-line for warmwear I find lots of waffle knit thermals made from cotton.
Are these for people (like me) who might not be aware of the dangers and discomfort of traipsing out into freezing temperatures without the modern protection of moisture-wicking? Or are they for people (like me) who flinch at the price of hi-tech synthetic apparel they will probably only wear once or twice?
And I don't even want to discuss the lower half of my body. I can barely button my jeans as it is, not to mention attempting it with "layers" on underneath. Should I buy a couple pairs of jeans two sizes too big? For heaven's sake, what's that going to look like? I can tell you right now you won't see any photographs of me from the waist down next year in Switzerland.