Temperatures are getting colder, so we return to Sara DeRosa’s sage advice on “Winter Wear” for when you’re standing in during the cold season. She has some added suggestions this time around!
– The Editor
It’s that time of year again! The weather is getting colder, windier, and soon it will be snowier. But the show must go on! Here are tips about what to wear to keep warm when standing in outside during the colder months.
Get the Details
First things first: Find out when you will be working outside! You will need to check the upcoming weather conditions and prepare your winter gear.
If you are on a production regularly, try to get a callsheet or ask your casting director, background PA, or an AD about the next day’s shoot. If you get a call to join a production just for the day, ask casting if there are exterior shots.
One of the most important pieces of clothing that will help you keep warm and toasty is a good jacket.
I recommend buying a full-length, down-filled jacket. The long length keeps more heat trapped against the length of your body. Most come with a bidirectional zipper so you can unzip the jacket from the bottom, giving you options for more ventilation and for more legroom when walking.
These jackets can be more on the expensive side, but they are a smart investment. You can find quality options at lower prices at discount stores such as Burlington Coat Factory. There is also a wide, reasonably priced selection at Uniqlo. You should choose a neutral color for working on set, and it’s best to buy one with a hood and roomy pockets.
For tops underneath your jacket, you should layer different types and thicknesses of shirts.
Layers are great because you can always take layers off or add more as needed. Different options for tops that are good for layering include long-sleeved t-shirts, cardigans (for a light sweater option), and heavier sweaters or sweatshirts.
It helps to have a tank top, t-shirt, or long-underwear top that you can tuck into your bottoms for your first layer to keep you as insulated as possible. Longer length shirts that cover your middle and longer sleeved tops that cover your wrists will also help with keeping in your body heat.
You’ll also want to layer up on the bottom as much as you can. Start with leggings or long underwear that is tighter so it will fit under a pair of your jeans or other pants. You can always remove this layer if you get too hot.
Sometimes it is difficult to fit a full pair of leggings underneath a pair of jeans that are tighter around the waist. To still get full leg coverage, a great alternative is American Apparel Thigh-High Socks.
Another suggestion for those really cold days is down pants or ski pants. They will give you an extra layer of warm insulation. They can help protect you from snow and rain as well. I recommend searching Amazon for “down pants” or “ski pants“. Be sure to read the reviews about fit and functionality to find the pair that’s best for you.
For socks, layer starting with the thinnest pair, and add two or three more pairs, ending with very thick socks. This may seem like a lot of socks, but your feet and toes are one of the hardest parts of your body to keep warm. In order to keep your body heat trapped, make sure some of your layers are long socks that will cover areas your pants don’t cover.
Toe warmers — as well as hand warmers and back (or “full-body”) warmers — are often available on set in cold weather situations, but they are also often a commodity. If warmers are a requirement for you to stay warm, buy a box before the winter weather season begins. Because local stores may be out of stock when it really counts, order warmers online to ensure you have a personal stock when production has none to offer. The website drugstore.com offers a selection of warmers in bulk quantities at affordable prices.
But make sure you don’t put warmers directly on skin! Affix them to the first layers of clothing where you’re using them.
As mentioned above, feet and toes are one of the hardest places to keep warm. Boots are the preferred type of footwear for standing in outside.
Look for a snow-boot type pair with good insulation and thick lining. Ones with a short heel can be beneficial because with your foot at a slight angle inside the boot, the blood is encouraged to flow downward to keep your feet warm.
Also, look for information about the water-resistant properties of a boot. It’s very important to keep your feet dry, so it’s best to be prepared for wet weather conditions.
When shopping for boots online, read the reviews! Look to see what people say about the fit of the boots, how warm they are, and how they hold up in wet weather. Shop on websites that offer free returns (such as Zappos) in case you need to make a return or an exchange.
Ben Hauck, editor of Stand-in Central, wrote a great, thorough article about NEOS Overshoes last season. After his recommendation, I bought my own. I’m so glad I did! They were well worth the money, and I will definitely be using them for years to come. Check out the article here:
Other components that will help keep you warm include scarves and gloves. You can layer more than one pair of gloves, if necessary. Covering your ears with hats and headbands are a must as well, but a hood may be your best defense against the cold, especially if it is windy outside.
If the hood on your jacket is somewhat loose, wear a sweatshirt with a tighter hood underneath your jacket, or keep your hat on under your hood for double protection.
Uniqlo is a Japanese clothing company that has created a signature line of HEATTECH apparel.
I am a big fan of this technology. IT WORKS! And it is inexpensive. Uniqlo has recently expanded and has stores located on both the East and West Coasts. And you can now shop online via their website:
If color cover is given to you while standing in outside, find a way to wear it in addition to your outerwear. Wear the color cover over your jacket, even if it has to be draped around your shoulders. Figure out a way to make it work without sacrificing any of your layers.
Other Tips for Keeping Warm
Keep moving! Walk around the set area when you have short breaks from standing in. Pop inside a warming tent if there is one available there. If you have a longer break when you are not needed for a scene, head back to holding and ask the PA there to give you a warning when your next scene is coming up.
Warm liquids will help keep you warm. If you’ve already had too much coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, drinking warm water works, too.
And most importantly, layers layers layers! Bring extra layers with you to set — shirts, sweaters, and socks. You will be prepared for changes in the weather.
Good luck, and have a wonderful winter!
What do you wear to keep warm while standing in outside in the winter months? Do you have tips for keeping warm while on set? Please comment below!