Underwear edit: stylish thermals

Anyone else have a constant battle with your other half over the heating? You want it on because you can’t feel your feet; he’s sitting there in his T-shirt lecturing about the environment and energy bills. Which means it’s definitely time to get the thermals out, at least until it starts to snow and he can’t possibly object anymore!

Thermal underwear works by creating an insulating layer next to your skin to trap escaping body heat. Natural fibres such as wool and silk have great thermal properties and also help to regulate body temperature so you don’t overheat. Cotton, although a popular fibre because it’s natural, is considerably less effective as a thermal layer.

If you’re trying to keep warm, lots of thin layers are much more effective than a big jumper – lovely as that is – and starting with a thermal layer that fits snugly against your skin is the ideal way to go.

Thermal underwear has come a long way in recent years. In fact, it’s no longer just about underwear and retailers and brands are starting to come up with thermal ranges that looks just like normal garments, so you can stay cosy without looking like the Michelin man.

M&S’s Heatgen thermals range is one such, and the retailer has a collection of warm leggings and tops suitable for all kinds of occasions from casual to smart.

M&S heatgen thermal range

Clockwise from left: Heatgen thermal brushed leggings, £17.50; Heatgen Sweetheart spotted thermal body, £22.50; Heatgen raglan sleeve thermal top, £15. Buy from M&S.

Uniqlo’s HEATTECH range launched in the UK a few years and uses your body’s moisture to generate and retain heat and claims to raise your body temperature by up to 1 degree C. The range has developed a lot since its launch, and what started as a range of underwear basics such as vests and socks has transformed into a fashion range that includes tops, leggings and even skinny jeans. The clothing brand has also teamed up with designers such as Celia Birtwell and Orla Kiely to create HEATTECH collections in their distinctive patterns.

Uniqlo HEATTECH range

Clockwise from top left: Orla Kiely turtle neck T-shirt, £12.90; lace camisole, £9.90; Celia Birtwell boat neck printed T, £12.90; Fair Isle knitted legwarmers, £9.90.  Buy from Uniqlo.

Hanro is a Swiss brand that makes understated, stylish underwear from the finest materials and the brand’s thermal collection offers a selection of luxury base layers including tank tops and leggings in pure silk or silk/wool blends.

Hanro thermal underwear

Left to right: pure silk long sleeve top, £86.50; wool and silk spaghetti strap top, £39.50; wool and silk tank top, £43.50. Buy from Harrods.

For pretty and luxurious more traditional thermal underwear, Bella di Notte is a must. The North Yorkshire-based brand is built around the concept of stylish, thermal underwear in wearable styles and the collection is made from a Merino wool/silk blend for natural warmth.

Bella di Notte thermal underwear

Left to right: Maria short sleeve thermal vest, £39; Naomi long sleeve thermal vest, £69; Arabella sleeveless thermal vest, £29. Buy from Bella di Notte.


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