Sneaky Ways to Stay Warm Without Adding Bulk

When it comes to dressing warm, it's easy to reach for chunky sweaters and puffy coats. All those layers of thick clothing designed to keep out the cold can leave you looking a bit like the Michelin Man.


When I moved to a cold-weather climate a few years ago, I vowed to stay stylish and not cover my cute outfits in thick, unflattering winter clothing. I discovered some sneaky ways to stay warm without adding bulk.

A Tank Top As A Base Layer


The key to beating cold temperature is dressing in layers. But they don't have to be thick to help insulate you. You might be surprised how well thin materials work. Start with a basic tank top. This is will help keep your core body warm, which is key to overall warmth. A tank can be easily hidden under a shirt or a dress and nobody will know it's there. But you'll feel that extra warmth like a big hug. You can use a basic tank you probably already have in your closet or go for performance materials such as silk that are ultra-thin but designed to keep your body heat in. Try the  100% silk one from Thermasilk or  this one from Silk Living that blends silk, cotton and Marino wool.

Base Layer Tops


Another layer you can add on top of your tank is a long-sleeve base layer. These are great under long sleeve shirts or sweaters. Notice how the one I'm wearing has a scoop neck and ¾ sleeves so it's not detected under your clothing. This  silk top from L.L. Bean is so thin you can see through it, but it's made of 100% silk, so I can easily throw it on under my clothes and nobody can tell. It might just save you from having to bring a bulky jacket so people can see your cute outfit wherever you go!

Base Layer Leggings


One trick I discovered for cold-weather dressing is loose-fitting pants. Forget those skinny jeans. Wide-leg pants are not only in style now, but they allow you to layer underneath them and keep your look sleek and chic. You can wear pantyhose, silk material leggings as previously mentioned, or regular cotton leggings you probably already have.


I really like the performance base layers from outdoor recreation gear companies such as The North Face, Patagonia and these I have on from Eastern Mountain Sports. They are designed with breathable materials to regulate your body temperature to keep you warm without overheating and wick away moisture. These light base layers come in leggings and tops such as the one I have on here from 32 DEGREES Heat.

Base Layer Slips


One sneaky and sexy way I love to stay warm is wearing a slip. With thin, smooth nylon, polyester and spandex materials, a slip can trap heat without bulk. Plus, they are super feminine. You can use a half-slip under a skirt or full slip under a dress. Pick out one with a bit of lace to feel like you've got a sexy secret all day long. They also keep skirts from clinging to legging base layers when you walk!


It's All About the Base


So get your sneaky ways to stay warm without adding bulk by adding thin-material base layers into your wardrobe. They'll take you from those first chilly days of fall straight through to the last lingering cold breezes in springtime. They'll help you pack lighter on vacation too.


Plus, if you get too warm inside places with the heater cranked, you can easily excuse yourself to the ladies' room to slip them off and tuck them in your purse. Then put them back on when you're ready to head back outside. Sneaky huh!

Join the conversation

2 comments
  • Miriam Illions
    Miriam Illions
    on Feb 23, 2021

    Such  great  tips!!!  It's been a cold, layering kinda winter here on the East coast with non-stop snow, so this post is PERFECT!

Your comment...