15 Proven Methods to Layering your Clothes While Remaining Stylish and staying Warm
As the cold months get colder, it is only natural that we layer on clothes to preserve body heat and stay warm whether we are inside the house or out on the streets. However, layering clothes doesn’t have to mean you become a not-so-hot version of yourself where you re bulking up in all the wrong places.
There are tried and proven methods to layering clothes while remaining stylish, retaining your personality and most importantly, staying warm. Of course, you may need to brush up a bit on your styling lessons if you ever had one. If you haven’t, you are just in time for a refresher course.
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1. Avoid Layering Big Sweaters In Order To Create a More Stylish and Streamlined Look
When the cold sets in, the first thing you want to do is reach for the biggest and thickest sweater you have and then layer on another big sweater on top of that. Unless your goal is to look like the Hulk’s ugly younger brother, the Bulk, you may want to rethink this decision.
Sure, the big clothes keep you warm but, they also make you look lumpy when layered. A smarter (and more stylish) way to do this would be to
- Use only one bulky item of clothing at a time
Two bulky sweaters in one outfit is just pushing the limit. One sweater can tie in the look you are trying to create, keep you warm and at the same time look super stylish.
- Use the sweater as the additional layer
For practical reasons as well as stylish reasons, your sweater should not be used as the first layer of your outfit. The ideal base would be a fabric that fits well and is lightweight.
2. Break the Rules A Little Bit To Keep Your Look Fresh and Interesting
Summer is a huge fashion inspiration, but when you are surrounded by blankets of snow and battling cold winds, it is hard to think past sweaters, thick coats and sweat pants. Layering clothes does not have to be such a downer.
You can heat things up (literally and figuratively) by bending the rules of fashion a little bit. Mix up pieces that aren’t usually used together. While it is not exactly a “new” concept, it gives your winter look a fresh buzz and keeps things interesting.
Not sure where to start, here’s how you can switch things up a bit
- Wear a puffer jacket over long sleeves
Once upon a time, these jackets were exclusively reserved for the slopes. But, someone decided to bend the rules a little and bring ski glam to the streets with puffer jackets. Throw them over fitted long sleeved shirt and you are good to go
- Use the quilted pattern puffer jacket to style your office look
Puffer jackets aren’t just for street style alone. Wear it on a button up shirt in a neutral tone. If it is too cold, you can layer on a lightweight sweater before topping off with a puffer.
3. Create a Classic Stylish Look by Understanding Your Patterns
Certain patterns when used together can have a disturbing visual effect. I am all for being the fashion rebel who defies tradition. But, you have to be careful so that you don’t end up mistaken for a graffiti and I don’t mean that in a good way.
There are general rules for mixing patterns if you want to play it safe. When you get the hang of things and feel like switching things up, you can play around with the rules. So, that I don’t confuse you, I am going to stick to the basic rules.
- Don’t repeat patterns
Repeating patterns in an outfit without a break in color transition has a dizzying effect visually if it is not done right. If you relay love the pattern you are going for, layer it on in different sizes.
- Mix your patterns carefully
Now I know I did say you shouldn’t repeat patterns, but you also have to be cautious when mixing. Choose patterns that are not competing against each other for attention. For example, when pairing other patterns with parsley, you want to play it safe. Stripes and polka dots are muted patterns that can keep things classy and quiet. On the other hand, if you want to bring on the drama, animal prints on parsley combo is a treat.
4. Do Keep Your Color Scheme Minimal To Avoid Looking Like a Clown
When layering clothes, colors set the tone (pun intended) for your style. And to attain that gentleman out of a GQ magazine look, you might want to lay off your color experimentations. This is not the time to use fuchsia, dandelion or any other fancy color in a single outfit. But this doesn’t also mean you should be boring.
There is a fine line between playing safe and taking a walk on the wild when it comes to colors. Whichever you choose, you here are few tips to get you started
- Understand the color wheel
The color wheel essentially provides a guide on colors. It is from here that get a handle on how certain colors would look together and what colors work best together. So, before you commit to the fabric, use the color wheel for a preview
- Never use more than three colors in one outfit when layering clothes
The most balanced color combination when layering clothes is using three colors that are equidistant from each other. They provide an interesting contrast
5. Every Visible Item Should Be Something You Can Wear On Its Own
Apart from your underwear, every layer of clothing should be something that can stay on its own in a single outfit. The reason for this goes beyond the style thing. It is very practical. You layer on outfit because you want to be able to handle the weather.
But, we know that the weather can be a bit unpredictable. Weather conditions aside, you could step into an environment where the temperatures are controlled, and things can get hot super-fast. Layering clothes comes in handy in that you can take off each layer to adjust to temperature conditions.
So, you want to make sure that each layer of clothing can make a full outfit on its own. The key is to keep each layer light, fitted and most importantly, well-coordinated with the bottom pieces. Choose a color palette for your outfit and pick clothes with colors in that range.
6. For More Depth in Your Style, You Should Layer On Your Clothes From Thick To Thin
Instead of going straight for the bulky and thick sweaters during the colder months, experts believe that it is more effective to layer on light clothes. The science behind this tells us that warm air trapped between each layer acts as an insulator that keep us warmer than having just a single layer of clothing even though it is thick.
If you do it right, you can get the most out of your outfit. First, you need to understand the three important layers. The base layer, the mid layer and then you have the outer layer.
- Base Layer
The base layer is the one closest to your skin or undershirt. It comes different shapes, textures and colors but, its main function is to seal in body heat and soak up sweat. Go for moisture wicking fabrics and stay away from base layers that are made from cotton if you are dressing for the outdoors. Use a shirt as a base layer for a more formal outfit
- Mid Layer
This goes on top of the base layer and is usually thicker. Sweaters and vests are in this category but sometimes jackets and cardigans can also serve. It depends on the weather
- Outer Layer
As you can guess, this is the top layer. It protects you from the elements. It is usually mostly coats and jackets. A great outer layer should be able to handle rain, wind and keep you warm.
7. Give Your Wardrobe a Makeover Without Spending a Dime
A lot of people often think a makeover has to involve spending lots of money and time in fashionable stores and boutiques. In reality, that would be very helpful. But, not many of us have access to that kind of money. Still, being low on cash doesn’t mean you can’t have a makeover. You just have to be a little more creative.
Sieve through your closet for classic pieces and then step away from the conventional when you are layering them. Need a little inspiration on how to go about this? You can start with this guide here.
- Use a turtle neck top for a base layer
This gives a vintage vibe and can go from casual to professional in a flash. Layer with an overcoat or a suit. If you are a novice, stick to neutral colors. If you are feeling ballsy, switch things up with patterned turtleneck sweaters.
- Puffy jacket over long sleeves
My personal favorite this season is the puffer-bomber hybrid jacket. Keep your base shirt in shades of grey or black and complete this cool look with a nice pair of sneakers.
- Classic oxford shirt and a sweater
This look right here is the classic man look. You do this right and it would seem as though you have a personal stylist on speed dial. The two things you should pay attention is the fit of the clothes and the use of colors.
8. Incorporate Denim in Your Outfit and Nail the Perfect Casual Look
Animals aren’t the only things that go into hibernation in winter. One of summer’s fashion features aka the great denim jacket/shirt usually slides to the bottom of the drawer. It might be scary to bring it out, but I promise, if you follow these tips, you can infuse a lit bit of casual summer into your winter look.
- For a country vibe, layer your denim jacket on a cable knit sweater/jumper
- Go darker as the months get colder
The light blue denim is best for summer. Although, we know rules are made to be broken. Still, let’s tow the line with this one. A dark blue denim jacket over a checkered shirt looks really good. Replacing your blazer with a black denim jacket is even better (albeit somewhat rebellious)
- Layer a blazer over your denim jacket for a modern twist to corporate wear
This one is not for the faint hearted. But, if you are up for it, nail this 3-layer winter outfit with a shirt, your denim jacket and a blazer in a neutral color. For a more streamlined look, stick to soft blues for the shirt and denim and top it off with a grey blazer.
9. Justify Last Seasons Expensive Purchase by Mixing It up With Winter Classics
Just because it comes in fall colors doesn’t mean it can’t be a part of your winter wardrobe. Sometimes, I think we take these rules far too seriously. Loosen up. You can mix and match winter colors with summer colors. Just remember the color code. If you need a refresher, go back up and read number 4.
Summer clothes are usually lightweight and comes in bright colors. To make it work in winter, use your summer shirts as your base layer. They are fitted and perfect for this. Just throw on a blazer and a coat and you are ready for the winter.
You can also try layering textures. Pair your favorite crew neck t-shirt with a tweed pant in a nice neutral color like brown and top it up with a denim jacket. This mix of textures allow you play with your summer clothes when the weather gets colder.
10. Know What to Layer On to Avoid Being a Walking Disaster
We have talked about colors, cuts and fabrics but we haven’t really gone into the details of what goes best with what. We know what base layers should be and we know what outer layers should be. But, we shouldn’t ignore how important it is to pair your layers correctly in order to avoid becoming disastrous fashion statistics. We will look at the common outer layers.
- Layering with suit
Nobody does suits like the guys on the cover of GQ magazine. Suits usually come in a set. For very formal events, it is best to wear as is and then top it off with a straight coat. However, that can get boring quickly. Switch things up by layering your suit under a spring jacket. Just remember, the suit must a traditional cut that fits perfectly and the jacket must be bigger.
- Layering with a knit sweater
In some circles, the knit sweater is also called the old men sweater but with the right fit and color, you can layer like a pro. For a preppy look, wear a crewneck sweater over an oxford button down shirt and pair with a smart chinos. Throw on a nice tie and the look is complete.
- Layering with shirts and jackets
Before the months get too cold, you can use a shirt on another shirt as a jacket. Or, you could opt for a simpler fashion solution that combines the shirt and jacket together. I am told it is called a “shacket”. It goes on well over a cardigan, a light sweater or a nice button-down shirt.
11. Learn to Accessorize and Add Dimension to Your Dressing
Layering isn’t just restricted to pieces of items that can cover entire portions of your body. Sure, the first rule of layering is to ensure that you use pieces that can stand on their own. But, using accessories add some pizzazz to your style with minimal efforts.
Hats, scarves, pocket squares and neck ties bringing out the interesting details in your outfit if you do it right. Baseball caps are for super casual laid back outfits but if you choose a derby hat as your topper, your out fits become smart casual. Beanie hats compliment your winter style perfectly.
There are signature ways to tie a scarf to stamp your personality in your outfit. Hanging your scarf on your neck and tossing one end of it over your shoulder is perfect for that casual outdoorsy look. But, tuck it into your buttoned blazer or formal jacket and you look elegant and formal while remaining warm and toasty.
12. Make the Bulky Shirts Work for You by Diversifying the Lengths
Street style is all about comfort but, comfort doesn’t necessarily mean it shouldn’t have style. Kanye West has proven that you don’t have to wear fitted clothes to be able to work those layers. However, put more focus on the lengths than the size.
To achieve Kanye’s Urban street look, start by using long printed shirt as the base and then hoody in a solid color as the mid layer before topping off with a nice leather jacket. Don’t for the rule of size. The lengthier shirt should be underneath and the shortest layer on top. Finish the look with a nice pair of sneakers.
For a more formal street vibe, swap the graphic shirt for a plain t-shirt. Layer with two coats, the lengthier one on the outside of course and then finish the look with a nice scarf.
13. Never Forget to Compliment Your Outfit With A Nice Pair Of Shoes.
It doesn’t matter how well you dress. Any good outfit can be ruined by a horrible choice in shoes. Shoes make a whole statement on their own. Nobody is crazy enough to pair a well fitted Armani suit with flip flops but, there are shoes you can wear (but should absolutely never) with this same suit that sends an equally disturbing message.
Let us look at the winter classics
- The Snow Boots
- The Brogue boots
If you want a more formal look, these pair are the right option. They scream style but are designed to be tough enough to handle whatever the weather throws at you/them.
- The casual canvas boots
This is for the sneaker lover who wants to eat his cake and have it. They have a laidback vibe to them but, you can either dress it up or down. They have a sturdy sole but still roomy enough to give you the mobility you desire.
14. Layering Is Not Limited to Winter
Almost everything I wrote here makes it seem like layering is only meant for the colder months. But, you can layer up in the summer too. While some of the rules for layering in winter applies to layering in summer, there are things you need to pay attention to.
- For starters, the fabrics of clothes used in layering during summer should be light and airy.
- During winter, your under garment doesn’t really count, but in summer it does
- Wool is not strictly a winter attire. Go for the lightweight version which apparently keeps you cooler than most summer alternatives
15. Have Your Own Signature Look
Don’t get too immersed in the rules of fashion. If everyone followed the rules, we would all end up looking like we were manufactured. Don’t be afraid to go against the trends a little. Matter of fact, some of the hottest trends in recent time were started by people who rebelled against the traditional way of doing things.
When layering, your primary focus should on how your outfit makes you feel. Sure, certain looks might take some getting used to (like the blazer over denim jackets) but, if you give it time, you will come around and when you do, others will too. Who knows, you just might start off your own layering trend.