How to Layer in 3 Fool-Proof Steps Look put together with almost no effort

[Feature image by Michelle Tirronen, Ties.com Photographer]

If there’s one hallmark to gentlemanly dress, it’s building an outfit in layers. Layers give more depth, more color, and often more texture.

As temperatures drop, form and function need to find a middle ground. Artful layering keeps you warm, and also presentable.

An outfit should always look complete, whether layers are being added or removed.

But how does one go about doing that?

1. How to Layer: Base Layer

how to layer base layer

Michelle Tirronen, Ties.com Photographer

The first step to any layered look is the bottom-most layer–the one closest to your person. The base layer is what you’ll be wearing when the sweater and coat come off, so think of your it as your main outfit for the day if you’re indoors.

Note: If you’re going somewhere cold, you may be tempted to think of the base layer as underwear. Don’t. Make sure your base layer is presentable. Have you ever been in a situation where you unexpectedly had to take your shoes off, only to reveal a giant hole in your sock?

Depending on where you’re heading, you may want something more or less breathable.

  • Somewhere warm: go with a lighter shirt fabric, like cotton.
  • Somewhere chilly: stick to wintery fabrics, like a flannel or twill shirt.
  • Antarctica: add something like a thermal first and foremost, underneath the base layer.

Shop baselayers: Our new collection of shirts

2. How to Layer: Mid Layer

how to layer mid layer

Michelle Tirronen, Ties.com Photographer

Next up should be a sweater or a light jacket. You can opt for different styles depending on the look you’d like to achieve.

  • For smart casual, go for a cardigan or a pullover with a nice collar.
  • For more insulation, wear fleece or puffer vest.
  • You can even wear thin shells, like a blazer or denim jacket

Either way, this will be the layer that retains heat. However, don’t expect your mid layers to be enough to protect you from rough weather, such as wind and rain. For extreme conditions, it’s essential to have the right outer layer.

3. How to Layer: Shell

how to layer shell

Michelle Tirronen, Ties.com Photographer

This layer brings it all together. The shell is your protection from the elements–wind, rain, snow, etc. And it will seal up all the layers to help overall heat retention.

The weather should determine the type of jacket or coat you wear.

  • For example, a peacoat, or any wool or felt coat, will provide insulation and wind protection, but it will do little for wetness and rain.
  • A trench coat won’t wrap the body for insulation, but it is perfect for rainy days.

How to Layer: Style Tips

Color

how to layer colors

Michelle Tirronen, Ties.com Photographer

Cold weather colors tend to be on the muted end, so they can be easier to style than bright summer or spring colors.

Certain neutral colors, like navy, khaki, and gray have endless possibilities during any season. You can layer these safe colors in any order, and it’s hard to go wrong.

Between fall and winter, stick to colors like rust orange, olive green, brown, and burgundy, in addition to the safe year-round colors. Play with different tones and combinations to figure out what you like, and what makes you feel most comfortable.

Texture

how to layer textures

Michelle Tirronen, Ties.com Photographer

A noteworthy beauty in cold weather fabrics is their unique textures. The thicker fibers and intricate weave patterns make for artful layering.

Keep thin layers closest to your body, and work your way out toward the thicker ones.

For example, try a cotton shirt as your base layer, a cashmere or cable knit wool mid layer, and a tweed or herringbone coat for your shell. Combinations like this will provide instant warmth, protection, and dynamic style.

Figuring out what works for you is very much trial-and-error. Play with different textures and colors. Don’t be afraid to experiment combinations you’re unsure of at first.

For inspiration, surf your social media channels, ask your friends for feedback, and feel free to drop us a line. Before you know it, you’ll be blowing through the natural elements in style.