Thermal underwear used to be something thought of as fuddy duddy – the sort of undergarments worn by your grandma when the temperature dipped. But, not any longer. Thermals now are stylish as well as being the most effective way to stay warm. This article has the best thermal underwear for women to make sure you are cozy rather than frumpy.

What are thermals?

First of all, what exactly are thermals? Thermal underwear can be made from different materials. The term really refers to the properties of the underwear. They help to wick any sweat away from your body to prevent cooling and, because thermals are made from two-ply material, they add not just one, but two extra layers to keep you cozy.

Why wear thermals?

Karen wears a thermal roll neck under her dress |

Why wear thermal underwear for women? Layering is the best way to keep yourself warm when the weather is cold. However, you won’t necessarily want to add lots of bulky layers. Thermals are thin, yet warm, making them the perfect underwear to choose to wear under any of your winter outfits.

Depending on what you want to wear over your thermals, you could choose a thermal camisole, t-shirt, long sleeve top, thermal panties, shorts or leggings.

You can easily wear a thin set of long john thermals under your sweater and jeans to stay warm without anyone knowing what you are wearing underneath.

Karen (above) is wearing a thermal roll neck top from Marks & Spencer.

Complete her outfit with this similar dress, sneakers and crossbody bag.

Below are some of the best thermals to choose for the upcoming winter season.

Thermals for women: Warm camisole

A camisole is such a useful base layer. Wearing one under your sweater can make a big different to how warm you feel. This one (below) is from one of my favorite thermal brands – the Uniqlo Heattech range. You’ll see quite a few Uniqlo Heattech choices featured.

Uniqlo HEATTECH camisole |

Uniqlo HEATTECH camisole

Thermal wear for women: Bodyshaping vest

Another Uniqlo Heattech option for you. This bodyshaping vest (below) is particularly useful if you don’t want your bra straps to show as it has thicker straps, rather than camisole style straps.

Plus, it can help to smooth out any lumps or bumps and give you a smoother silhouette as it contours your waistline.

Uniqlo body shaper bra top |

Uniqlo body shaper bra top

Best thermal underwear for women: Blue lace trim top

If you like to add a touch of lace to your underwear while still making sure that you’re warm, the lace trim vest (below) could be the perfect option for you.

Uniqlo HEATTECH lace bra top |

Uniqlo HEATTECH lace bra top

Long sleeve thermal base layer

Now, let’s move onto some base layers with long sleeves in case you need more warmth. The long-sleeve thermal top by Icebreaker (below) is made from merino wool so it provides warmth without adding extra bulk.

Icebreaker merino wool base layer tee |

Icebreaker merino wool base layer tee

Long sleeve top from Uniqlo

As well as having plenty of camisole and short-sleeve thermal options, Uniqlo also has a good choice of long-sleeved versions such as the crewneck below.

Uniqlo HEATTECH crew neck |

Uniqlo HEATTECH crew neck

Long sleeve thermal top

Well-priced and with good reviews, the Lapasa thermal top (below) comes in a wide range of color choices. Reviewers say they are thin yet warm and have a nice fleecy layer against the skin.

LAPASA thermal underwear top |

LAPASA thermal underwear top

Thermal moisture wicking shirt

Another good option from Amazon is the Duofold moisture wicking shirt (below) which takes moisture away from the skin so you don’t get chilly. Reviewers say these are thick but not too bulky. Many women advise to size up with this one.

Duofold  wicking thermal shirt |

Duofold wicking thermal shirt

MERIWOOL womens base layer

If you like to add a little luxury to your basics, then you could opt for a base layer made from merino wool. Reviewers say the Meriwool option (below) is warm and comfortable, and not at all itchy.

MERIWOOL base layer thermal shirt |

MERIWOOL base layer thermal shirt

Cuddl Duds top from Target

Target is often a good choice for affordable basics. And, if you’re looking for warm essentials, the Cuddl Duds range is definitely worth a try. Reviewers say they purchased two or more of the thermal active top (below), although some said it runs small so you may want to size up.

Warm Essentials by Cuddl Duds thermal active top |

Warm Essentials by Cuddl Duds thermal active top

Thermal underwear for women: Thermal panties

Moving onto bottoms, you will want to keep your lower half warm too! While you may not necessarily think of adding thermal panties to your closet, the Ecoable panties (below) feel wonderfully soft against the skin and keep your body temperature regulated so you don’t get too cold or too hot. Reviewers say they have bought several pairs, with one calling them the “best underwear ever”.

Ecoable thermal panties |

Ecoable thermal panties

Body shaper shorts

If you prefer a longer option, you could choose a pair of shorts to wear under your clothing during the winter. The Uniqlo shorts (below) help to smooth out the hips and thighs, and would also make sure you don’t have a visible panty line no matter what you are wearing.

Uniqlo HEATTECH body shaper half shorts |

Uniqlo HEATTECH body shaper half shorts

HEATTECH leggings

Now, let’s take a look at a few options for leggings. Leggings can be cold during the winter months, but if you choose a thicker or thermal pair, you should stay nice and warm. You could wear alone with a tunic top, or you could wear under your jeans when the weather is really cold. The Uniqlo leggings (below) come in a choice of neutrals and are designed to be extra warm for cooler climes.

Uniqlo HEATTECH extra warm leggings |

Uniqlo HEATTECH extra warm leggings

You’ll find more ideas in this article on the best warm leggings for winter.

Base layer leggings

If you’re planning to be out in the Great Outdoors during the winter season – perhaps you are skiing or hiking – you will definitely need warm base layers. The Icebreaker leggings (below) are mainly merino wool with a little bit of spandex to help them retain their shape under your clothing.

Icebreaker leggings |

Icebreaker leggings

Marks & Spencer thermal leggings

The best thermal underwear for women to wear under everything when the temperature dips |

Marks & Spencer has long been a favorite go-to for underwear and basic clothing. Its thermal range includes the black base layer set above .

If you don’t want a full set, you could try the Heatgen thermal leggings (below). Reviewers say they are comfortable to wear under jeans and also make good pajamas.

Marks & Spencer Heatgen thermal leggings |

Marks & Spencer Heatgen thermal leggings

Fleece lined leggings

If you really want to stay warm, then a pair of fleece-lined leggings could be a good choice. The Angelina fleece-lined leggings below are thick enough to wear alone as well as making a good base layer.

Angelina fleece lined leggings |

Angelina fleece lined leggings

Thermajane thermal set

The Thermajane thermal set comes in a range of neutrals and bright colors, and is well reviewed, with wearers saying they are ultra soft. Many reviews say these are best for those with long legs.

Thermajane thermal set |

Thermajane thermal set

Top and leggings set

A thermal set (or a few thermal sets) can be a good buy for winter. Pop them under your jeans or pants and your sweaters and you’ll stay warm no matter what the weather. The thermal set below from Marks and Spencer comes in either black or white.

Marks & Spencer thermal leggings set |

Marks & Spencer thermal leggings set

Fleece lined set

Fleece lined and super soft, the Mancyfit set from Amazon (below) has great reviews from women who say that the fabric is soft and silky against the skin.

MANCYFIT fleece lined thermal underwear set |

MANCYFIT fleece lined thermal underwear set

Just Love thermals set

You could beat the cold with the Just Love thermals set (below) which is thicker than some of the other options on this list, making it a good choice for pajamas.

Just Love thermal underwear pajamas set |

Just Love thermal underwear pajamas set

Rocky thermal underwear set

Silky on the inside, the thermal long johns and top from Rocky (below) are designed to be worn under clothes or on their own as pajamas. Reviewers who bought one set say they plan to buy another in a different color.

Rocky thermal underwear set |

Rocky thermal underwear set

Ultra soft base layer

With four-way stretch, the ultra soft base layer (below) by Pisiqi is comfy to wear under your clothes if you’re spending time outside during the cold months. Reviewers say they worked well as a base layer for skiing, making it one of the best thermal underwear for women choices if you love outdoor sports.

PISIQI base layer set |

PISIQI base layer set

Two sets of thermal underwear

If you feel the cold or you will be outside regularly during the winter months, it makes sense to buy more than one set of thermal underwear so you can wear one and wash one.

The ViCherub two-pack below has 4.7 stars on Amazon, with reviewers describing them as the “warmest thermals ever”.

ViCherub thermal underwear sets |

ViCherub thermal underwear sets

What are your tips on the best brands for thermal underwear for women? Let me know in the comments below

Continue reading:

  1. All The Winter Essentials You Need In Your Closet This Year
  2. The Best Camisoles For 2020 – Which Brands To Buy, How To Wear Them And The Best Shaping Camisoles
  3. The Best Loungewear That Makes You Feel Comfortable AND Stylish

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The best thermal underwear for women to wear under everything when the temperature dips |

Feature image from Marks & Spencer


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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