My 85 year old mother is travelling to Germany in November/December. She is not used to cold weather so I wanted to buy her some long underwear. Any suggestions whether I need to get thinskins, cotton or wool thermals? thanks, sam
Sam, IMO you can not do any better than silk. It's lightweight but very warm and not bulky, this is the biggie for me, it does not hinder movement. Thick, bulky stuff is terribly uncomfortable. Wool is scratchy against the skin. Cotton, once damp with sweat will not dry till you take if off and hang it in front of a fire.
Also, make sure she keeps the extremities warm, hands, feet and head. Silk socks and gloves work well although mittens are warmer because you keep the body heat all together.
Next tip is layering. Wool mittens over silk gloves. Long sleeved silk pull-over shirt, then maybe a short sleeved t-shirt, then long sleeved wool shirt, then a vest, then the parka if needed. Absolutley do not forget a good cap for her head.
Where in Germany is your mother going? My wife was born/raised in the Rhine River valley, and we travel back to see her family just about every 2-3 years.
Depending on where she is going, it isn't much different than the Pacific Northwest (cloudy, overcast, rainy) during the winter months. Lows don't get below freezing too often, but the daytime highs don't get that warm either. Down where you are, you claim it's a dry heat. There, you'll claim it's a wet cold. You wonder if the sun will ever shine again, but you won't freeze to death. I do remember one brittle day at the Dortmund Botanic Garden, but I also like cold.
If she is going to be in the Alps area, that's a different matter.