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How To Layer Clothes In 2018 – 6+1 Tips To Make Your Life Easier

How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro

It’s September Already

Welcome to the “How to Layer Clothes” article!

It is amazing how much we long for each summer and then before we know it, it’s over and we are in September. September is usually associated with the beginning of Autumn and the colder days that accompany it. As The Mad Titan himself would say:

Dread it. Run from it. Winter arrives all the same.

This quote can perfectly summarize people in Northern Europe since Winter brings darkness and little daylight, snow and low temperatures. However there is also another group of people like me that welcome the cooler temperatures that Autumn brings and find an excuse dust off that cashmere sweater again.

If you haven’t guessed by the title, you are about to read how to layer clothes in 2018 like a pro with a fail-proof easy guide.

Wait A Second…What Is Layering?

Simply put, layering is wearing multiple layers of clothes on top of each other. Think about it as an onion that has many layers. You can be the onion this Winter, look stylish and smell definitely better than one.

In fact we layer our clothes every day. A T-shirt paired with jeans is one layer. Maybe it is a bit chillier and you add a jacket or a light sweater as a second layer. If it is much colder you can put on a peacoat. And the list goes on.

How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro
Name everything wrong with this outfit – Hint: Everything

It is quite interesting how many men are confused by the term or ignore the basics and go overboard. They end up looking like a cardboard box or with a sweater that is way too baggy. You can definitely layer your clothes in a way that keeps you warm and stylish at the same time. If you like casual athleisure/streetwear, this guide is probably not for you. However please read on if you like more professionally acceptable attire.

6 Tips on How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro

To make reading easier I compiled everything into 6 Tips. Let’s get down to business shall we?

Tip #1: Choosing The Correct Clothes

The great thing with layering is that you can add or remove something on the fly. It might be cold outside but in the office it will be quite warm. Instead of sweating in a sauna of your own steam, you can simply remove your sweater and dress up by staying in your shirt and tie combo.

The key here is not only to emphasize on fit and quality but also on great standalone pieces that blend well together and make a complete look. Every separate piece needs to be clean, fit well and look good alone as much as they do with the rest of your outfit.

Tip #2: Choosing The Correct Fabric

Fit is king. We have discussed this here and it also applies to layering. Choosing the wrong fabric though is a whole different story. It is very important to choose the correct fabrics and think about your activities each day. Are you going to shovel snow? You might be warm in that polyester jacket but I promise you that you will sweat like it was mid-summer.

Always check the weather and plan ahead. Is it really cold outside? A coat or a cashmere sweater will work wonders. Is it chilly but you need more than a shirt and jacket? Add in a merino wool sweater or cardigan instead and throw a woollen/knitted tie to the mix.

How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro
Flannel is a great fabric for winter suits. It is warm but also soft at the same time with a little bit of texture to it

Since we are talking about Winter, it goes without saying that you should avoid any outer layers made from linen or cotton. Tweed and flannel make for great choices. The same goes for corduroy but I strongly dislike how it looks. Call me ignorant but I think it’s for 50 year old men and I am not there yet, nor are you.

Tip #3: Thin To Thick

This is sort of an extension to the previous tip. You want your bottom layers to be the thinnest, such as a cotton dress shirt, followed by a thicker garment such as a woolen sweater, then something heavier such as a sport coat or even an overcoat. Depending on the temperature you can add a scarf and/or a stylish beanie.

I like traditional, stylish and classy so you will never see me break this rule and try the gangsta rapper yo style of today. It is not for me and nor is for the sartorial gentleman here. Or Joey.

That being said, this can also be applied to more casual wear with hoodies and jumpers.

Tip #4: Not Too Many Bright Colours

Winter and Autumn call for warmer colours. This is why brown is a fantastic colour and the same goes for red, burgundy, orange, the list goes on. However, I would avoid using too much colour in my outfit. I really like earth tones and I am working on a pair of custom tailored brown flannel pants.

You do not want too many bright colours that will make your outfit pop out too much and cause confusion. If we are talking about business attire you should always stick with the basic business acceptable colours and inject some colour with a pocket square or why not, an orange tie.

How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro
Any shade of brown can make your business outfit pop out. Try camel this season – Photo by J.Crew

Matching colours can seem a bit intimidating but if you are a beginner I would choose similar colours in different shades or colours that are timeless and work well together.

To give a visual representation, you could wear a white or blue dress shirt and a grey or brown sweater. Pair it with your navy suit jacket and you are good to go for a colder day. The top layer can be a bit more flexible, since it generally hides the rest of your outfit.

Tip #5: Patterns Can Make It Or Break It

If you understand the basics of how patterns work, nothing really changes. If you are a beginner though I would choose solid colours and add some pattern through a scarf, socks or possibly your tie or outer layer.

For more advanced users, I would use at least one solid piece and then consider playing with patterns. A navy blue suit with a striped shirt and a dotted tie is classic. I will cover this in a future article.

How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro
Great combination of different patterns. Notice that each pattern has different proportions

However, if you use a top coat or a heavier sports jacket, I would put the “heaviest” pattern on the outer layer and smoother tones as you proceed. Such a pattern can be a herringbone jacket or coat and it will draw enough attention to itself. You don’t want it to clash with the rest of your outfit.

Tip #6: Fit Is Still King

When real Winter arrives, you will need to stay warm. This means layering much more than usual especially if your work dress code is business. Opting for heavier fabrics such as flannel and wool helps, but you can try for a slimmer fit than usual. That way you can appear a little less bulky and oversized if you opt for an overcoat.

The bottom line is that your clothes should always fit and be comfortable enough to move. Don’t overdo it with the tight fit as the last thing you want to do is restrict your movement.

A good idea is to have a change of clothes such as a lighter shirt that you can use when you arrive at work.

Bonus Tip: Try Cashmere This Season

Cashmere is an amazing fabric. I promise you that when you feel it for the first time and try it on, you will never want to go back to anything else. Lightweight, soft, more insulating than wool are a few characteristics. They make fantastic sweaters, coats and jackets.

How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro
Simple and stylish cashmere sweater for any occasion – Photo by Suitsupply

These qualities make cashmere really expensive compared to other fabrics. A decent quality cashmere sweater will easily cost 200-300$ but is a great investment. Coats on the other hand are extremely pricey so your best bet would be a wool/cashmere blend instead.

If you think it is too pricey, try protecting your head with a cashmere beanie instead. Your skin will not itch and you will keep your head much warmer.

So try cashmere this season. Buy a sweater and you will never regret it.

I personally buy all my Cashmere now from Gobi Cashmere.

Bonus: I promise you she will never want to stop touching you.


Layering is a great way to add some style and finesse to your outfits and more importantly stay warm. There are a few pitfalls such as using too many clothes or too much colour but if you have followed our articles you should have started to feel more comfortable with your choices. If you focus more on business formal or casual your options are more limited but you can still make a unique outfit. It is all about smart buying and planning.

How To Layer Clothes Like A Pro
Brian Sacawa is a perfect example and how I strive to look every day – Photo by HeSpokeStyle

So! To sum up our How To Layer Clothes article:

  • You layer every day, but much more during Winter and Autumn.
  • Avoid many bright colours and stick with warmer colours and earth tones. Brown is great.
  • Don’t clash too many patterns. Keep it uniform and businessy.
  • Go from thinner to thicker pieces.
  • Avoid layering too much. Instead use thinner but better insulating fabrics like cashmere.
  • Did I mention how good cashmere is for sweaters and jackets?
  • Check the weather forecast and your activities for the day. Should you really wear too much?
  • Keep some lighter clothes at work. It helps if that flannel shirt is too warm.

I always want to write a little less but I end up writing a whole essay! There is so much to write and talk about don’t you think? Are you also one of the few that loves Autumn and waits for a reason to put that merino wool sweater on again?

Share some of your stories in the comments below, or suggest what you would like to see in future articles. I have a bunch of reviews lined up for the upcoming months including some amazing shoes from Carlos Santos.

Thank you for reading,

Kostas Mandilaris,
Misiu Academy

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