Do You Need to Wear Anything Under Overalls?

Wear Anything Under Overalls

In the 1750s, overalls were first seen within the British Army as a protective covering for soldiers’ formal clothing, until Levi Strauss refined it with the use of denim in the 1870s. Since then, overalls proved to be comfortable and durable enough, even for miners and railroad workers.

Modern overalls, on the other hand, are still utilized as a first layer of protection against various elements, such as snow, dirt, mud, and other debris. However, if worn alone, they may not be as effective as if you were wearing them with other layers of clothing.

Therefore, you need thermals. Thermals are the best garments you can wear under your overalls to benefit from effective protection against the cold and other elements in your working environment.



One of the most important things you have to consider when working or undertaking an activity in the fall and winter is layering. Layering will allow you to achieve the level of warmth and protection you need against the climate and conditions for that day.

Aside from protection against the cold, a good base layer should also be able to wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry, warm, and comfortable.

Under your overalls, you should wear a mid-layer, and then, a base layer underneath. However, if the weather is warmer, you can opt for just a base layer.

Wearing a base layer underneath your overalls will also allow you a wider range of movements and more breathability than when you combine it with a mid-layer. Though, you should choose a base layer with good fabric and weight.


Bib overalls are a good choice of clothing for winter activities because of the warmth and protection that they provide. If you still don’t have one of your own, we definitely recommend that you get one. If you’re not sure which overall to get, check out our article about the best insulated bib overalls where we shared our top recommendations. 



Base Layers

Quality base layers will provide added insulation and regulate your body temperature as they wick away sweat while you are skiing. They come in various materials and weigh, from lightweight to heavyweight.

In choosing base layers, avoid cotton materials as they tend to hold onto moisture and do not dry quickly. It is best to choose wool for base layers as they are soft, manage moisture well, have a long lifespan, and stay relatively odor-free.

Some base layers are also made of synthetic materials and tend to be lighter and cheaper than wool. A tight-fitting yet not constricting, thin, and lightweight option is best for all weathers as it tends to be quick-drying and will leave you fresh and warm all day.


The function of a mid-layer is to keep you warm. It acts as your insulating layer. Mid-layers may not be waterproof or lack moisture-wicking abilities, as long as they insulate you and keep you warm.

The mid-layer is also the most versatile layer because it allows you to switch to a thinner or warmer mid-layer or take it off altogether when it gets warmer. They also are crucial for freezing temperatures.

Mid-layers usually come in fleece and tend to be made using man-made synthetic fibers that are highly breathable, or merino wool, which is more sustainable. They come in different weights, but a lightweight fleece is best for high-impact activities. For beginners, it’s best to have a heavier mid-layer to keep you warm.

Outer Layer

This is the most important layer as it will protect you from the elements. An outer layer can either be an insulated or shell jacket.

An insulated jacket can shield you from the snow, wind, and rain while keeping you warm and comfortable. Shell jackets, on the other hand, can shield you from harsh elements. However, they are not good at insulating.


What to wear under overalls?

For colder weather conditions, you can wear a base layer and long johns under your overalls, which stand as your mid-layer, and top it off with a ski/snow jacket for extremely cold conditions. In warmer conditions, you can just wear a base layer and long johns. Additionally, if you are just going to work indoors, you can skip the long johns and only wear a base layer underneath your overalls.


How to Choose a Base Layer


Merino wool is excellent for retaining heat and great for breathability. It allows freedom of movement and naturally has antibacterial properties, which means it can be worn for days without washing it.

Synthetic base layers, on the other hand, are also great for breathability, have better moisture-wicking abilities, and are quick-drying. Although, they are not as warm as merino base layers.

Synthetic Vs. Wool

Synthetic Merino Wool

  • Easily cleaned
  • Soft
  • Lightweight base layer
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Excellent moisture management
  • Very stretchy
  • Quick-drying

  • Stain- and wrinkle-resistant
  • Soft
  • Natural fiber
  • Excellent temperature regulator
  • Excellent moisture regulator
  • Very good stretch
  • Excellent odor resistance

  • Odors can build up if not washed consistently
  • Slightly less effective in regulating temperatures
  • Potentially vulnerable to straining
  • Petroleum-based synthetic fiber

  • Potentially vulnerable to shrinking if not properly washed
  • Slow drying time
  • More expensive




Lightweight base layers are less than 200 grams per square meter, offer versatility, and can be used alone in hot temperatures and under layers in cold temperatures. It is best used as the very first layer in your layering system, regardless of the temperature.


Midweight base layers are less than 270 grams per square meter and can be worn over a lightweight base for added insulation in cold weather.

They can also be worn alone as a mountaineering shirt during summer, even just around the campfire. Most are heavy but sufficient to provide some warmth.


Heavyweight base layers are usually 250 grams per square meter, are used for colder winter climates, but also function well during spring and fall when worn alone. They give more insulation and dry quickly.

Should you wear pants under a bib?

You can wear pants under bibs if you need an extra layer of protection while working indoors or when it is warmer outside. However, if you are going skiing or undertaking any winter activities, you cannot just wear any kind of pants. You should wear base layer bottoms that can add warmth and wick moisture.


Which should you wear for skiing, ski pants or bib overalls? We’ve compared these two pieces of winter clothing to help you decide which one to wear for your next ski trip. 


Types of Base Layers


The most commonly used base layers for colder conditions are long-sleeved base layers, which are often combined with additional layers for optimum warmth.

On the other hand, short-sleeved base layers tend to be used in warm to cool weather conditions, where its moisture-wicking ability is more important than retaining heat.


Base layer bottoms come in two styles: the more traditional full leg and the increasingly popular 3/4 leg meant to be used specifically with ski or snowboard boots.


One-piece base layers may be the best base layers for protection as they can seal out any drafts and cover the majority of your body, making them the perfect base layers in cold weather conditions.

Some one-piece base layers have a hood because 40 percent of the body heat can escape or evaporate through the head.


Should I wear shorts under overalls?

In cold weather, it is not advisable to wear shorts under your overalls as doing so can keep the rest of your legs cold, which is not ideal for skiing or engaging in other winter activities. However, in warmer weather conditions and for working indoors, wearing shorts under overalls is fine.


Other Accessories

Neck Warmer

A neck warmer can protect your face and neck from the harsh cold wind that can cause an icy windburn.

Neck warmers made with polyester microfiber and that have breathability, moisture-wicking abilities, and wind resistance are good choices. Aside from wearing them around your neck, you can also wear them as a balaclava or bandana.


These include your jeans, jumpers, hats, and scarves that can stand as sufficient protection when you head out to the resort’s bars and restaurants. Note that you won’t be needing formal wear and tight dresses.


Protect your hands from the cold by wearing snow or ski gloves that are durable, waterproof, and can wick moisture.


Skiing season is upon us! Whether you’re buying your very first ski gear or just looking to upgrade your old ones, we’ve got the top recommendations for you. Shop for the whole family and check out the best ski gloves for menbest ski gloves for women, and best ski gloves for kids. We have already chosen our top picks and it’s time for you to choose yours. 


Are you supposed to wear anything under overalls?

Yes, you have to wear something under overalls, especially if these are the types of overalls you use for winter activities or as protection when working outdoors. However, if these are casual or basic overalls, you can wear them alone or with other casual garments, depending on how they were designed and on how you want them to look.


Frequently Asked Questions

Should overalls be tight or loose?

Overalls should not be tight enough to leave room for layers. You also need to think about your personal style and body type when choosing between the different sizes manufacturers have to offer. As overalls come in several sizes and shapes, you have to consider the layers you need to wear underneath when choosing the right fit.

What’s the purpose of overalls?

Overalls can act as protection for your clothing underneath and can also protect your body from the weather and elements in your working area. Some overalls can be used for gardening, hunting, or fishing, while others can be used for winter sports or activities.



To keep you protected from the weather and work elements, we advise you to wear a base layer underneath your overalls. Choose an appropriate fabric, weight, and type for your base layer and make sure they can keep you warm and wick sweat away from your body. In colder weather temperatures, add an outer layer or insulated jacket for optimum warmth and protection.

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