How To Wear Thermal Underwear As Outer Wear

How To Wear Thermal Underwear As Outer Wear
Carly Jacobs

I’m a hard core winter lover but I must admit, this winter is kicking my butt a little. I know it’s a particularly cold winter but my body fat percentage is lower this year than it was last year and I’m REALLY feeling it. I can’t leave my house without thermal underwear at the moment. Growing up as a Canberra kid, thermal underwear is something I’m very familiar with. Although back in my day thermal underwear was always cream coloured, with little punched hole designs and I’d jam them into my thick wool tights I wore for school. Not exactly the most attractive things in the world and strictly reserved for wearing underneath clothing or ski gear. I used to have to spend 15 minutes spraying water on my car and scraping off the ice before I drove to school in the morning and the only thing that kept me alive in those sub zero temps were my ugly thermals.

I’m in Canberra at the moment and we arrived on the coldest weekend the territory has had in 20 years. Marvellous. Thankfully Mr Smaggle’s parents are electric blanket junkies so I’ve been sleeping in a little hot box every night and it’s been bliss. This doesn’t help me much during the day though so when it’s particularly freezing,  I’ve started wearing my camping thermals as regular clothing. Gasp! Blasphemy right? Nah, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Thermal Underwear


Top and bottom Thermals from Icebreaker 

Dress from Marimekko – Dear Marimekko, please make this dress in every one of your fabrics. I will buy them all.

Shoulder cosy and arm warmers from Crochet Coach patterns (learn to make your own here – seriously it’s so easy and super warm! Makes for a gorgeous gift too! If you’re super new to crochet, join now because there’s a live lesson this Sunday 9th July at 3pm for Crochet Coach members to make these arm warmers – if you want something lovely and snuggly to do this weekend!)

Boots from Ecco 

Tips for wearing thermals as outer wear…

Thermal Underwear

1. Pick sensible thermals you don’t mind people seeing 

There are all kinds of weird and whacky thermals that are super tempting to buy (I saw these neon green and pink ones that Claudia Kishi obsessed me would have loved 15 years ago) but it’s always better to stick with classic colours and styles. I actually wanted plain black thermals and they only had this sporty dark blue colour but I bought them anyway and I don’t mind them. Black tends to weigh outfits down quite a lot so it’s nice to have a break with something a bit lighter. The trick is to buy them as if they’re tights and wear them as if they’re tights. They so toasty and warm and if you get a plain colour they look exactly the same as regular tights. These ones are really soft and comfortable too – I bought them in extra large because I wanted a bit of extra room (I hate feeling constricted!) and these are perfect. They don’t dig in or fall down. Exactly what I was after. They’re also great for travelling. We drove around the US at the end of winter last year and I needed to pack something a bit warm but I needed something practical I could wear adventuring too – these thermals were the best and saved me on many a cold night. I can also sleep in them which is super useful when you go away for a weekend and it’s a bit colder than you thought it was going to be.

2. Care less

I avoided wearing these thermals as tights because they’re a bit sportier than my usual style  but on a freezing cold day, I honestly don’t give a shit. They’re so warm and they don’t look too bad worn as tights. I almost look like a super hero wearing my super suit under my regular clothes. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. Also you tend to wear a coat all day in winter so what does it matter? It’s about survival on those brutal days. You can look cute when the sun comes out.

Thermal Underwear

3. Layer them 

Australia is pretty temperate so I can generally wear most of my clothes all year round. This cotton Muji dress is a touch hot for the middle of summer but it’s perfect for layering in all the other seasons. I’m wearing a thermal top and thermal bottoms under my dress it’s super toasty. I feel like you can’t complain about the weather if you’re not dressed appropriately for it. I knew it was going to be -1 degree today so I wore my full thermals, my wool shoulder cosy and my full down jacket. You can’t wear a summer dress out on a winter day and complain about how freezing it is.

How do you keep warm in winter? Any secret squirrel tips I haven’t heard of?

P.S If you’re freezing your butt off and looking for something cosy to do, why not learn to crochet? One of the easiest projects to make is the shoulder cosy I’m wearing in this post – for real. And it doesn’t even take that long to make. Perfect winter Netflix project.


  1. Kelly 3 years ago

    Ha ha I live in Brisbane and we complain if it gets below 20 degrees. Probably not much cause for thermals or extreme lengths to stay warm but today it is raining so it feels cool enough to wear my knee high boots … finally!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 years ago

      I know! It cracks me up every time Nikki from Styling You breaks out her knits and it’s like 21 degrees. 🙂


  1. […] going to be an evening game and you know the temps will drop later in the game, you may want to wear a long sleeve thermal shirt underneath the jersey or throw a long sleeve flannel, denim jacket, or coat over it for some […]

Leave a Reply