The Lifehacker staff works in a cold office. Sometimes we wear hats, always sweaters, a couple of times even fingerless gloves. And as the weather gets cooler I’ve begun to wear snug and cosy long johns under my pants. I’m a big toasty cinnamon bun. You should be too.
Look, on a cold day, how many layers do you wear on your top half? Usually I’ve got an undershirt, a long-sleeve shirt, and a sweater. Occasionally I wear a light cardigan and a hoodie. Maybe you wear a scarf or a hat. If you’re in anything more than one shirt on top, and pants on bottom, then you should be in long johns as well.
If you’re used to wearing leggings, you know what to expect. If not, get ready to feel supported and pleasantly encased. You’ll find you can wear thinner pants, maybe even short socks. It’ll be a whole new world below your waist.
Stock up. I’ve been making do with four pairs, but I recently ordered another four, so I can always go a week before washing. If you wear your long johns over short underwear, so they aren’t getting familiar with your filthy parts all day, you can get away with just two or three pairs. But at that point you’re dealing with a lot of layers every time you go pee, so I recommend just using your long underwear as underwear, and getting a tall stack of them.
Now, don’t buy them all at once before you figure out what kind you like. I’m a small man whose tastes run tailored, so I prefer the form-fitting Heattech long johns from Japanese clothier Uniqlo. They come in “extra warm” and “ultra warm.” They’re soft and thin and stretchy. They have a fly and they don’t bunch up. You may prefer something thicker or looser; Old Navy occasionally has some in stock.
They’re not always easy to find, because long johns have a bit of an old-timey coal-miner lumberjack Looney Tunes cowboy hobo There Will Be Blood reputation, when they should have a sleek tactical contoured performance-wear reputation.
(My wife says mine look sexy, and why would she lie to me?)
So the moment you find a pair you like, stock up. Don’t get stuck with one pair from a discontinued line of long johns.
You don’t need full-body johns or a “top half”; that’s what your undershirt is for. You could get a long-sleeve undershirt, but frankly that’s your business, not mine.
Will you sometimes get too hot? Yes. You’ll take off your sweater. Maybe you’ll need to move to a cooler seat in the office now and then. But if you’re happier running warm than running cold, or you spend a lot of time in suboptimal temperatures, you should have fresh long johns for every day you leave the house.