By Kassie Hoffmeister | Photo by Seth Binsted

With the weather dropping below freezing, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start shopping for warmer clothes. Throughout this process there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to fabrics that ensure warmth.

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Cotton

Cotton is the principal clothing fiber of the world as it is suitable for all types of weather. Since air can get trapped under it, it is known for thermal insulation during the cold temperatures.
Belle Stempler, owner of Ragtime Fabrics, recommends layering. “Personally, I prefer to wear cotton or rayon as an under layer and wool as an outer layer,” Stempler said.
Sophomore Dwight Richardson, a political science major, also believes in layering. “In addition to a long-sleeve shirt, I would pull out a zip-up fleece, gloves and a scarf, all covered by a thin jacket for extra warmth.”

Wool

Wool is known for its qualities of comfort and warmth. It is a natural fiber so it breathes and keeps the wearer dry while sweating, and cool when he or she is hot. Wool doesn’t wrinkle and it is resistant to wear and tear. Cashmere (though expensive), felt and tweed are good sources for the attractive appearance wool can have.

Freshman math and quantitative finance double major Lauren Cavalieri said, “My wool jacket keeps me very warm and fashionable during the winter weather.”

Down

Assistant Professor of Costume Design, LeVonne Lindsay noted, “Wool, alpaca or mohair is better for sweaters and outer layers especially if you’re allergic to these types of animal fibers or have sensitive skin. There’s all sorts of new lightweight fabrics used to line ski jackets and athletic wear. My winter jacket is filled with natural down and once temperatures dip below 40, I don’t leave home without it.”

Down is a popular filling for jackets because like any good insulator, it keeps us warm by creating pockets of still air between our body and the outside elements. However, one stipulation is that down is only warm when it is dry. When it gets wet, it bunches together and loses it insulating ability. With this quality, down could be considered inferior to synthetic fills, such as polyester or acrylic, which dry faster and retain much of their insulating ability even when wet.

Fleece

Fleece is the fabric of choice when it comes to producing excellent products. It brings very good insulation, as it is able to maintain warmth even under harsh conditions.

Jessica Maddra, a freshman anthropology major, makes sure to grab her North Face jacket in ensuring warmth for the cool winter. Other fleece jackets can be found by brands like L.L. Bean and Columbia.