Useful Travel Items: velvet leggings

I am a master of multiple layers for cold places. Thermals, t-shirts, shirts, jackets, fleeces, coats – I like to be warm. But it’s harder to apply the same layering principle to your legs – by the time you reach three layers, you look like the trunk of an ancient oak, you can hardly walk and you almost definitely can’t get your trousers done up.

I’ve owned thermals leggings, longjohns if you will, and quite honestly, I’ve not noticed an appreciable difference between the expensive merino ones and the cheap Primark ones.

But Primark gave me a surprise this year. I stumbled upon these:

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They’re called Velvet Leggings and the packaging says “the warmest leggings you will ever wear”. They’re a bit thicker than normal leggings and a bit… foamier? They feel almost like neoprene, and the inside is furry. At the cuffs, it’s really soft, almost like fake fur. At the top, where they stretch, they’re definitely ribbed but still fluffy, a bit like extra-soft corduroy. I wore them to work, a converted pub with very thin, drafty single glazing, which can get pretty cold in winter, and the velvet leggings are warm! I’m very impressed by them. Who’d have thought Primark is actually good at making suitable clothing for trips to the Arctic Circle?

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This photo is inside out with one leg smoothed down and the other fluffed up. See how soft they are?

My one quibble is the sizing. These are L-XL which means they fit…

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Well, a Large is either 5’5″ to 5’8″ and UK 14-16 or 5;9″ to 5;10″ and UK 8-12 or 5’2″ to 5’8″ and UK 18-20. So that covers the whole gamut of 5’2″ to 5’10” and UK sizes 8 to 20 which means that’s the vaguest one-size-fits-all L-XL that has ever existed. For the record, they’re tight enough on me to just about not be uncomfortable but I don’t think I’d want to be wearing them if I was even an inch bigger. Look how tiny they are!

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Laid down flat like that, they measure just 27cm (10.6 inches) across. They stretch!

Of course, I haven’t tested them in proper Arctic conditions but I know they’re warmer than my other thermal leggings so I know they’ll be warmer in the snow.


Today’s question for the comments: do you have a particular item of clothing you wear for particular weather conditions? Tell me all about it.