Is Polyester Warm in the Winter?

Polyester keeps you warm and dry in the winter.

Photo: Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images

You may think of tacky 1970s fashion when you think of polyester, but this synthetic fabric has seriously come a long way, baby. Today's polyester is way more sophisticated than its disco-era grandparents, and it can really come in handy when the temperatures start to drop. While natural fabrics like cotton have been around for ages, newer man-made fabrics like polyester may offer extra benefits -- especially in cold winter weather.

About Polyester

Yes, back in the '70s tons of people rocked those ubiquitous polyester suits and loud-patterned shirts, and that mental image turns off a lot of people. That's why today many manufacturers use the word polypropylene instead. Either way, it's the same basic fabric, and it's a real workhorse. Polyester -- aka polypropylene -- is extremely strong and durable, wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying and easily washable. It also doesn't shrink or stretch, doesn't need ironing and retains its shape.

Polyester Inner Layers

When the temperatures plummet, layering your clothes is a must. Wearing polyester as your base layer will help keep you toasty, since the fabric wicks away moisture and dries quickly. Next, wear a layer of wool on top of your layer of polyester for warmth and absorption. If you're working out in cold weather, polyester will also perform well and help decrease heat loss. Cotton, on the other hand, will only suck up all your sweat -- and feel wet and clammy.

Polyester Outer Layers

This magical fabric works just as well as an outer layer, since it's durable and quick-drying. Instead of a wool coat, which gets seriously moist and chilly when wet, turn to a coat with an outer shell of polyester. That way, when you get caught in the snow or sleet, you won't turn into a walking snow cone. Snow and sleet slide right off polyester, and the fabric dries in a snap. Also, since polyester holds its shape so well and doesn't wrinkle, your coat will still look sharp even after multiple wears out in the elements.


Though polyester will definitely keep you warm in the winter, not everyone's skin agrees with this man-made fabric. Sometimes synthetic fabrics like polyester can trap sweat, oil and dead skin cells and lead to clogged pores, bumps and ingrown hairs. If you have sensitive skin or skin allergies, this fabric might irritate your skin. If this is the case, wear natural fabrics against your skin and don't forget to moisturize.

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