Cashmere clothes for winter warmth

Cashmere and wool clothes infographic

Weather forecasts are predicting heavy snowfalls and a very cold winter this year in the UK, so here are some facts about previous cold spells and tips on how to keep warm when the temperatures drop.

Some previous cold winters in the UK

1814 – There was a frost fair lasting four days in London, starting on 1st February.   The Thames was so frozen that an elephant was led across it near Blackfriars Bridge.

1947 – February saw severely cold weather, with thousands of people in villages cut off by snowdrifts 7 metres deep and average temperatures almost 6 degrees Celsius below normal for some places.

There was no sun in parts of the Midlands and Southern England for 22 of the 28 days in February.

By contrast, Scotland had very cold, but bright, sunny days.

1963 – This was the coldest winter for 200 years and was even colder than 1947.

People walked and cycled on a frozen River Thames. 

Many lakes and rivers were frozen and there were even large ice blocks at sea.

There was snow covering most of the UK for the whole of January and February.

What about 2015-16?

A number of factors seem to have conspired to make the coming winter as bad as those of 1947 and 1963, including:

  • The most powerful El Nino recorded.
  • The North Atlantic Oscillation bringing in freezing air from the North Pole.
  • Air pressure changes over the Arctic affecting weather conditions in the UK.

Keeping warm is vital!

Several thin layers of clothing are better than thick layers, as they trap air in between them, which warms up without constricting movement.

The extremities (head, feet and hands) suffer the most heat loss, with up to 10% of body heat lost from the head. Hats, gloves, socks and scarves all help to keep you warm.

Natural fabrics, especially wool and cashmere, are generally better for retaining heat than artificial ones:

Type of fabric

Features and Benefits

Potential issues in winter


Finer wool is softer and less itchy than thicker wool.

Good at retaining warmth.

Can be heavy if wet.


Very soft and warm. Lightweight. Comfortable. Suitable for many garments.

Less durable – best worn under other clothing.


Comfortable for under garments.

Loses heat retention if wet.


Warm in winter next to skin but doesn’t conform to one’s shape.

Not suitable for top layers.


Can be good for waterproof and windproof outer garments. Not as warm for other layers.

Not as warm as natural fabrics, except when made into a fleece.

As well as cashmere or wool socks, gloves, hats and scarves, snuggling up in a warm shawl or throw can help to keep you warm inside without the extra cost of turning up the heating.


Sock Trivia

  • A Christmas stocking with a difference broke all records in 2007.  It was made by the children’s Society and at nearly 107 feet long and just over 49 feet wide it held nearly 1000 presents.
  • Cashmere and wool socks and other garments can actually become even softer over time, with careful hand washing.
  • It was high fashion for men in the eighteenth century to have interesting designs (called “clocks”) on the sides of their socks.
  • Wearing bed socks is a much cheaper way of keeping your feet warm at night than having an electric blanket.



Prevention is always better than cure, so ensuring you are prepared for winter with warm clothes, extra supplies of spare food (and candles in the event of a power cut) will help to get you through.

This cashmere clothing infographic was kindly provided by