This post is part of Stand-In Central’s deep-dive series into the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to stand-in work in TV and film. For more posts in the long-running series, visit https://standincentral.com/coronavirus.
— The Editor
It’s that time of year again! The weather is getting colder, windier, and snowier. And right now we need to take extra precautions to stay safe during this pandemic. But the show must go on! Here are tips about what to wear to keep warm when standing in outside during the colder months — and during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
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. Also, try to find a jacket that is water-resistant in case you are working in wetter conditions.
These jackets can be more on the expensive side, but they are a smart investment that you will have for years. You can find cheaper, quality options at discount stores such as Burlington. There are also wide, reasonably priced selections at Uniqlo and The North Face. You should choose a neutral color, 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, turtlenecks, 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.
Bottoms and Socks
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.
I highly recommend purchasing a pair of down pants. They are lightweight and can be packed in your bag easily. They are also usually water-resistant, so they can help keep you drier if you are working outside in wet weather. You can find some great options on Amazon.
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. Smartwool socks are a great option. In order to trap your body heat, 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. Walgreens offers a selection of warmers in bulk quantities at affordable prices. Be sure to read the packaging — some warmers are not designed to make direct contact with your 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 will 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.com) in case you need to make a return or an exchange.
Other components that will help keep you warm include scarves, neck warmers, 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.
Be aware that even though you may have gloves on, you may still be touching surfaces as you would with your bare hands. Treat your gloves the same as you would a reusable mask: wash them at the end of the day. And it’s also important to continue thorough hand-washing as you would normally.
Uniqlo is a Japanese clothing company that has created a signature line called HEATTECH. I highly recommend this technology — I own HEATTECH tank tops, turtlenecks, leggings, extra thick leggings, tights, and socks. And the prices are very reasonable!
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 glad you were prepared for changes in the weather.
The most important thing you should be wearing right now (not only in winter): your mask!
Even if you are working outside, you still need to protect yourself and others from coronavirus by wearing a mask. Covering your mouth with a scarf or a neck warmer is not a proper substitute for a mask. Make sure you are wearing a type of mask that is approved on your set. Production can provide one to you if you need one. Bonus: It will keep your face warmer.
Stay safe out there this 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!