I agree with Tom and Hopkington. Synthetics are the way to dress.
Coolmax: This fabric is so soft and light. It is a common fabric in the liners of shorts. It is also what my shirts are made of. You can buy Coolmax in short sleeves and long sleeves, then wear the appropriate one for the weather, or both for an early spring or late fall marathon. Coolmax is not nearly as abrasive as wet cotton, but you still might need nipguards or bandaids on your chest and lubrication on your thighs. Coolmax can keep your laundry down, since you can rinse it, let it drip dry, and rewear it once or twice, something that is impossible with cotton.
Supplex: This is a wonderful fabric for tights. Your legs will be able to breathe and stay warm, but not get hot.
Socks: I don't have as firm an opinion here. Personally, I like the thin synthetic socks for very long runs, such as marathons, because these socks don't get soaked, they are not abrasive, and they don't take up any room inside the shoe. I haven't liked the ultra-thin, double-layer socks. Ditto for the thick, cushioned, synthetic socks, which crowd my feet and have a frictional tendency to push my insoles up the outer sides of my shoes. I still like cotton for training runs because cotton provides a little more cushioning than the synthetics without having enough friction to push my insoles.
Gloves: The cheap $1 cotton gloves seem fine for cool marathons. I've been happy with Polartec gloves for cold events.
Hats: A baseball cap seems fine for most marathons. I've used my 1967-70 Army camouflage cap with pull down ear flaps for very cold marathons.
Cold, wet weather: I'd love to hear what others wear in the worst weather conditions. What do you wear that is warm, breathes, and stays dry?
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