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what exactly constitutes "layers"?

Kyogle
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what exactly constitutes "layers"?

To put this into perspective, where I live we consider it cold if we have to wear a jumper in the middle of winter...

So, I am reading the thread about winter coats and layers. I also will be in Paris in late March and need to know what to pack - bearing in mind that my current winter wardrobe is pretty limited.

Does layers mean, thermal underwear, jeans, long sleeve shirt, jumper, jacket and overcoat, or could you get away with less than that? For eg, indoors would it be warm enough to wear a short sleeve shirt and a cardigan, and add the jacket and coat for outside?

I knowEurope is better at heating indoor areas than we are in Australia, so it is difficult to conceive of what the change in temperature will be like. Likewise, sitting in 36 degrees right now it is difficult to imagine how cold it will be in Europe in March and given that we will leave before winter stock hits the shops, it is hard to juggle my limited wardrobe.

Any tips greatly appreciated.

Paris, France
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1. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

Layers means sweaters, long sleeve shirts, windbreakers, jackets, gloves, raincoats. It does not necessarily include parkas or thermals but there are no rules.

Temperatures so far this winter have been from 0˚ to 10˚C with occasional rain.

Brisbane, Australia
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for Brisbane
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2. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

Coat and scarf, lightweight pullover and shirt/blouse. So you can remove the coat or scarf as needed ... be aware that in Europe public buildings for some reason are uncomfortably warm for Australians. It can be freezing outside and around 28dg indoors and stuffy especially in a crowded building ... so forget the thermals as you are stuck with them on.

New Hampshire
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3. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

One of the most difficult concepts is trying to figure out how much clothing you'll need for temps much colder than you're used to or have experienced.

The challenge in packing for Paris is that temps are so variable from one day to the next, even throughout the day and evening, that you must be prepared for a wide range so as to be comfortable while out and about. And, you also have to keep in mind that you'll likely be outdoors for longer periods of time than you would ordinarily at home, especially if you get from one place to another mostly in your car.

SO, the first layer would be normal clothing, skirt or slacks and a cotton tee, blouse, (long sleeves), etc. For March, you would not want thin fabrics, but something more substantial.

For March, you'd probably want to have two layers of outerwear - one that's water/wind proof (with a hood precludes the need to carry an umbrella all over) that layers nicely (comfortably, so you can move) over a warmer layer such as a warm sweater, polartec, fleece. Though not necessarily essential, it's usually practical if the outer layer covers below your bum, as you may be sitting on cold seats (outdoors, for example) from time to time, or just to keep that area warm (and dry if it rains). All depending on the weather any given day, you may need one or the other or both. But, removed indoors, you'll be comfortable in your usual clothing.

Depending on the forecasted low temps for the days of your visit, and depending on your tolerance for cold, you may want to add socks or tights (not wool) and, perhaps, a set of long underwear which takes up little room in the suitcase, is a perfect "extra" layer if needed, will not cause you to be overheated indoors (silk, Cuddlduds, not "thermal" or the wool or ski vacation variety, just a very thin layer) and doubles as pajamas or lounge around wear.

I would caution you against hoping to "get away with less" or you may be freezing cold and uncomfortable between doorways, on your way to the metro station, standing in lines outdoors, etc.

It's also essential to dress warmly if you plan to enjoy open air boat rides, the upper levels of the Eiffel Tower, etc., where it will be chillier and breezes/wind will make you feel even colder.

It's not so much that the indoor heating is better, rather that busy places (restaurants, shops, museums...) full of people generating heat can be very warm.

Once in Paris, you may want to add some beautiful scarves (you'll see them on everyone and for sale, inexpensively, everywhere) excellent for extra warmth.

I completely understand the difficulty of packing for chilly/cold while it's hot where you are. But, you do have to focus on temps where you'll be.

Jakarta, Indonesia
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4. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

layers = number of upper body clothes you're wearing (not including underwear)

just shirt / polo / t-shirt = 1 layer

t-shirt + sweater = 2 layers

t-shirt + sweater + coat = 3 layers

thermal + t-shirt + sweater + coat = 4 layers

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

I haven't done winter in France, but we have been in Europe when it is fairly cold.

I always carry a banlon spencer (a sort of thermal I guess) and have worn it a few times. I also carry a pair of thickish tights that I can wear under slacks if I need.

Then short sleeve Ts, long sleeved blouse, one turtleneck sweater, a light weight knee length coat, slacks.

I can then rug up for a very cold day with thermal, tights, slacks, T, sweater and coat, or decrease the layers to slacks and a T for a warm day.

Last time in Paris I noticed many women wearing slacks and a pretty top and then either carrying or wearing a substantial jacket or coat.

Toowoomba, Australia
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6. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

I am much the same as Lynn. Long sleeve shirt/blouse, sweater, wool coat or parka, and if extra cold and we are going to be outdoors a lot I will add a spencer. And gloves and scarf. Then just remove the layers as necessary. We travel from early spring and I have never been down to spencer and shirt.

Sitting here in 37C it is hard to imagine , I know. We are off at the end of March.

Kyogle
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7. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

Thank you all.

My problem is being very short of long sleeved shirts. Jumpers I can manage and I have a soft shell jacket and a bottom covering warm coat that I can comfortably wear over it, but I mostly have short sleeved t-shirts and I can't see there being much turning up in the shops in the next few weeks.

I guess I will just pack what I can. Our first port of call on this trip is Bristol in the UK which I believe is good for shopping so I can always hope to pick up a few things there.

Brisbane, Australia
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8. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

Oh my very first question on TripAdvisor was about layers. My advice would be to wear what you might normally wear on a winter's day in Kyogle with a coat over the top. I've been though some very cold weather in both France and the UK and that worked best for me. If you have too many layers you will too hot inside buildings, even after removing your coat.

I remember I nearly expired of the heat my first day in a very cold London.......too many layers!!

Edited: 20 January 2014, 12:57
Paris, France
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9. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

Layers can be whatever you want them to be. I tend to wear several lightweight layers under a light and protective coat/jacket. Sometimes I'll have a tank top or camisole, a t-shirt, a cotton knit sweater type top, a more substantial and or longer sweater, plus a light weight nylon coat.

New York City, New...
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10. Re: what exactly constitutes "layers"?

Paris weather is unpredictable. You may get a few warm sunny days while there. So you need layers that you can unlayer and wear alone.