Over 50 style

What I Wear to Keep Warm in Winter in the UK

Updated September 18, 2023

Wondering what to wear to keep warm in winter here in the UK? I’ve got you covered.  Whether you’re traveling in the fall, winter or spring be prepared. Here it is the first week of March and it’s snowing and 34F!

Wearing light layers is the secret to staying warm

Light layers are the secret to staying warm and comfortable. If the weather warms up or you have a hot flash, you can take off or add a layer!

I live in my M&S thermal tops all winter long, in fact I sometimes sleep in them! It’s a very lightweight almost sheer thermal (Layer One photo), not a waffle texture. The scoop neck means it stays hidden under your other layers.

If you’re naturally a cold bunny, go ahead and add another layer especially if you’ll be spending time outdoors.

Start with the basics.  Layer your synthetics with natural wool for the best insulation. Cotton is fab in the summer but not the winter, it just won’t keep you warm enough, trust me.

This is how to make layering work for you.

What I Wear to Keep Warm – Upper Body

1st layer: 

Thermal long sleeve top (this is Marks & Spencers Heatgen Thermal )

2nd layer:

Synthetic or lightweight wool long sleeve top (mine is a discontinued Athleta top)

3rd layer:

Wool, or cashmere sweater | jumper (this is a Marks & Spencers Cashmere crew neck)

4th layer:

Lightweight packable down vest or gilet (mine is a down vest from Costco)

5th layer:

Down or synthetic quilted hip or knee length jacket (mine is a discontinued jacket from Eddie Bauer)


What I Wear to Keep Warm – Legs, Lower Body

I wear jeans most of the time but when it’s really cold, I’ll add a thermal legging under my jeans. Marks & Spencer’s makes a thermal Heatgen legging. The ones I wear by Cuddlduds, available in the US are similar.

The true secret to staying warm?

Keeping your FEET warm with wool socks and insulated shoes or boots. I’ll double up on socks and wear a Smart Wool low ankle sock under a soft wool hiking length sock when it’s really cold. Bee sure to leave some wiggle room in your boots because that breathing space is going to keep your tootsies warm and toasty.


Don’t forget to have a pair of gloves handy too because keeping your hands and feet warm is the key.


My toes get really cold so in addition to warm socks, I’m all for an insulated or sheepskin lined boot. It can make all the difference when navigating cold train platforms, wet sidewalks and extended walks. I’m currently wearing a low Uggs boot and my insulated Blondo’s


So that’s how to stay warm in this chilly UK climate. Whether you live here or plan to visit, buy what you need before you need it. The shops have a cheeky habit of discontinuing cold weather wear! I couldn’t find these thermal tops at M&S last spring because they’d already packed them away. Stock up when you see them. For more tips on wearing classic British style check out my recommendations.

About Author

With over 30 years in a creative role in advertising and publishing, and a lifetime of journeys between the US and UK, I've created Hipoverfifty for you. I hope my journey and perspective will guide you on yours.