Inexpensive winter commuting duds
OK, this is my first year that I'm going to try commuting in the winter. I've been reading icebike and here, and would like to ask some advice.
I'd like to get a few sets of base layer clothing to start with, as all I have now is cotton and I know I won't be able to use it much longer this year. I need to be conservative with the cash; I won't be buying any $50+ smartwool base layer stuff, even though I'm sure it's wonderful. Icebike reviews some stuff that looks great, but I really don't want to run out and spend $500 on a set of winter clothing; I spent 10 years up north where it gets to -40*F and don't think I spent that much the whole time. OK, I'm cheap.
I've got my eye on some of the moisture control base layer stuff at Campmor. A few questions:
Background: I'm in S.E. Michigan. Conditions generally are 0*F to 35*F, most of the time 20*F and up. Tends to be damp cold which can get miserable. Roads are generally pretty dry most of the time, but there will be slush from time to time.
Am I going to need midweight base layer stuff at some point, or should I stick with lightweight and then layer up?
Campmor has a few different brands, but they all seem about the same to me. Duofold vari-therm, terramar quik-dri, hind thermal drylete, etc. When you get to their midweight, they have Thermax which I think is bipolar fabric; thermax inner and poly/wool outer. I'm sure that's nice and toasty but might be too much if it's "warm" out (like 25* and up)?
I'd like to pick up base layer stuff for $20 or maybe a bit more a set; I figure I can pick up a couple sets and then see how that goes, maybe try some other stuff in mid-season if I get some more cash (assuming my bike doesn't fall apart :-) ).
Please help a guy who generally just heaps on some clothes and goes sledding with the kids, and hates to spend money on clothes, not wimp out this winter without breaking the bank.