Layering - but lots of lovely lightweight layers. You are not channeling Michelin Man chic. Merino thermals or long sleeve tees/fine knits look great layered under dresses or short sleeve tops. I don't always want to wear a cardi and this is the best way to show off a great winter dress.
Hazel I had one of last years M&S tops and warmth wise it was similar to the uniqlo ones I think. Style wise the neck was higher, the fabric possibly slightly thicker more matt and less stretchy, and the sizes came out smaller. I preferred the M&S leggings but the uniqlo tops although I think both have new styles this year.
magso - apols for late reply! Busy week... Thanks for info on the tops, will get some in that case. Glad the fabric is more matt than the Uniqlo ones, as their shininess was one of the things I didn't like.
Can report that my socks DO in fact make my feet feel a bit warmer than normal socks would, but they are really really thin, so good for smarter occasions, when fat thermal socks would not quite cut it!