I was asked again last week how I stayed warm during this last cold snap since I am always so cold. It was several days of a high of zero or 1 degree, it was cold. I am a very cold blooded person, I quickly get "ice cold turkey butt" and can't make the 10 feet walk from the car to the house without a jacket. I am the one that will stand and shiver and calls it "burning calories" because I do it so often. It has taken a good 10 years to perfect my system and I think this year I have it down. Most of the items I use are not super cheap but are easy enough to get as gifts.
Starting from the top, I have a hat. I have actually 2 hats, one is a sheepskin hat with ear flaps similar to this one but contoured a bit more. This is the hat I use when it is windy out and I need to save my cheeks and ears as I despise scarves, it was bought as a gift and I have no idea the maker but it is awesome. My other hat was hand made by my grandmother, it is a felted wool hat. It looks like this minus the ribbon and I have rolled the front brim up. Highly recommend getting one (Etsy is a good place to find them), it is windproof, waterproof and super warm. You can't even see daylight through the hat! It is my "everyday" hat and unless it is really windy, it is what I am wearing. When riding I use an ear band I got from Farnam one year at the Quarter Horse Congress and with it I use a Cozy Cover. Even with wind I am pretty warm!
Below that is your body core, you have to have this kept warm and layers is the best bet. Depending on what I am doing, I am either wearing Under Armour base layer or a tshirt. If I have a base layer, I have a long sleeved cotton shirt over it and jacket and that is it. I use the 3.0 base layer and it WORKS. 3.0 is made for extreme cold/sedentary activity and for medium activity it works really well for me. I can go on a trail ride in the snow while windy and I won't get cold. No seriously! I can't jump wearing the base layer as even without a jacket (when it is 15-20 degrees out in the indoor arena) I am too warm but can do dressage. Seriously. If no base layer then a tshirt and a heavy weight sweatshirt is being worn. Not some Wal-Mart special, go to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill and walk through the sweatshirts and feel for the heaviest weight ones you can find. They need to be thick and have some weight to them. On top of that I wear my Carhartt jacket with arctic lining.
For gloves, it is really hard. For riding I use either my Heritage or SSG gloves. SSG when I am riding inside, Heritage when I am not. When not riding, it is a different story. I have gone through over a hundred pairs of gloves/mittens. No seriously, I really have. Hands down the best ever mitten is the Frabill mitten. I found them by researching the coldest sport I could think of, ice fishing. Sit on a chunk of ice, in the snow and try to catch a fish on a string? Those people are crazy. But they use these and I can see why. Windproof, waterproof and I can put my COLD hands in my mittens and within 20 minutes my hands will be at normal temperature. Seriously!! I recommend a medium unless you have really large hands. Their gloves are good if you are working your hands but not if you are sedentary, they will not keep you warm. These are expensive, ask for them for Christmas or your birthday! Believe it or not, these Kinco's are surprisingly very warm too and are a nice, cheap alternative.
Below that is the legs. These are harder to manage. Base layers are a must, I use Under Armour again, this time 2.0 however for Christmas I got a set of 4.0's. I had to mail them to exchange them for a size large and they will be here on Weds, I am certainly looking forward to them. Merino wool base layers are okay at best. Most base layers are okay for light use but at heavy duty warmth they fail. I use my base layer with everything, flannel lined jeans when doing chores and under my polar fleece breeches when riding. When riding, I also have an awesome pair of really heavy Russell Athletic sweatpants I wear and they are amazing. When doing chores and it is below 15 degrees, I then put on my Carhartt bibs with arctic lining.
Finally you come to the feet. Again I looked to ice fishers and found the PERFECT boots. Cabela's has the best boots that contain 2000 grams of thinsulate. 2k!!! About 10 times more than most boots, the Inferno has lasted me 4 years so far with no sign of letting up. When it is above 15 I don't even lace them up, I just have them tied so I can slip them on. When I am sedentary or it is below 15 I will lace them up and with a pair of cotton socks and optional wool socks, I stay warm. It is truly amazing. They also seem to be made of a different material on the sole as they don't slip on the ice nearly as much as normal boots, kind of like snow tires. I got them for my birthday and they are probably the best gift I ever got! For other weather I really, really like my Bogs. Mid height make them easy to get on and off yet high enough to slosh through water and snow. I have a pair of Muck boots too but prefer the Bogs as my Muck is too tight in the calf and I had to cut the back seam to get them comfortable.
This is how I stay warm, when I was bundled up I was sweating during chores. The only thing that was ever cold was my chin/nose/cheeks, I call that a huge win in my book. I hope the posting helps someone. I have been there, done that and tried again on so many products. It has taken me a long time to acquire everything that works for me, maybe it will save someone from spending 100's of dollars on stuff that doesn't work. If anyone has any questions or wants to share what works for them, post them in comments!