Layers Shmayers, Part Two

Up until recently, I never though that much bad could come from adding another layer of clothing but that all changed when I lost a glove. On a relatively warm afternoon, a friend asked me over to help haul some junk out of her basement, so I put my old leather work gloves in my pocket and cycled over with cheap polyester knit gloves on my hands. The intention was to double the work gloves over the knit ones (as the leather is a good wind-block/air trap) for the cold ride home.

At that moment, I had a fairly charitable, if somewhat superior, attitude to over-layering. But being in the cold can be some what counter intuitive. While there is the impulse is to curl-up and huddle it is generally better to stretch out, or exercise, as much as possible to bring more blood to the fingers and toes. So while it may not seem that any harm could come from putting on an extra pair of socks, I always felt that the better move was to find some insulated boots (usually at Marden’s).

But then I lost one of my work gloves. After getting over the emotional loss,  I reconciled that three gloves were better than two and set off to ride home with two gloves on one hand and one in the other. Oddly, the double-gloved hand was the colder from the start and remained so throughout the entire ride home.

How could two layers be colder than one? The most reasonable explanation is that the putting the good fitting old leather glove was just too tight over the other and restricted my circulation. So while clothing should be fairly snug to block wind flow and heat-loss, it shouldn’t be binding, a puffy down jacket with a draw-string usually does the trick.

(By the way, I got a small emotional lift when I found the other work glove a few days later.)




Zack Barowitz

About Zack Barowitz

Zack Barowitz is a writer, artist, and flâneur. He is the radio host of "This Land Is" on WMPG Tuesday nights at 7:30. His work can be seen at