The OG. At least in my mind.
For three years in high school, I worked part-time in the intimate apparel department—aka, ladies’ underpinnings—at the Marshall Field’s on the west side of Madison, Wisconsin.
...Oh right, I should explain. Marshall Field’s, for those who don’t know, was a regional department store that got its start in Chicago and has since been acquired by Macy’s. What’s that? Hmm, okay...a department store is a big, big retail store where people would go to buy all kinds of things, from bedding to clothes to makeup before everyone started Amazon Prime’ing all that stuff directly to their door.
Okay, are we all on the same page now? Great, moving on.
Marshall Field’s was a goddamn palace and I still miss shopping there (they turned the one in Madison into a Macy’s, which is...fine, I guess). But I get especially nostalgic for my l’il section of the Madison store in the cold weather months. Specifically, the chilly Saturday mornings of fall and early winter when UW football had a home game on the schedule. You should have seen the women flocking in, frantically buying out the entire wall of Cuddl Duds long underwear to keep warm while cheering in the stands that day.
It took last weekend’s surprise snow in NYC (well, a surprise to me when I woke up from an afternoon nap and found the ground outside covered in white, anyway) for me to remember that the need for warm and stylish winter gear isn’t over yet! We’ve already covered winter boots and outer layers like turtlenecks and fleece pullovers. Today, let’s talk base layers to keep you guys looking good and staying toasty all the way through to spring.
The OG. At least in my mind.
I only just learned that Cuddl Duds makes men’s thermal wear when researching this piece, so maybe you’re already on the CD train. If not, try the ClimateSport collection for the perfect warm-but-not-too warm midweight layer.
I’m pretty sure every guy in New York owns some Uniqlo Heattech. Maybe after you’ve established residency, you receive a postcard in the mail, jury summons-style, informing you of the need to pick up one or two pieces from the Japanese retailer’s signature base layer collection immediately
Start with the long-sleeve crewneck tees, made from bio-warming materials that provide warmth without adding bulk, to go under sweaters and hoodies, and build your collection from there.
Right now is a great time to shop Icebreaker and their weird, surprisingly un-itchy wool base layers. You can get 30-50% off select styles on their site as part of the end of season sale.
Getting in a last-minute ski or snowboard trip? Stock up on the BodyFitZone collection for wearing under your gear. This heavyweight base layer features optimized fabric zones for active performance to keep you warm and dry as you make your way down the mountain.
The Maine-based folks at L.L. Bean know from cold. That’s why you can trust them to make affordable, quality base layers in a range of warmth and thickness.
Try their silk long underwear (a true steal at only fifty bucks) to wear under your jeans on a cold weekday. You’ll stay warm during your commute but won’t feel so bulky at the office as to want to awkwardly take them off in a men’s bathroom stall in between morning meetings.