For those of us who love winter, there is one thing that gets us more excited than anything else: layering clothing! Why? We get to combine all of our coziest fabrics into plush, one-of-a-kind outfit ensembles.
We have to admit though – it’s not always easy. There is a fine art to layering different textures and fabrics of clothing so that you still look stylish and put together.
The trick is to look like you’ve just casually thrown on a few of your warmest knits at the spur of the moment. The truth is: your outfit has been carefully coordinated to show off your best assets – with our help, of course.
We’ve broken down the five principles of layered clothing to get you started on your layered winter wardrobe.
Long Coat Adds Style and Warmth
Here is your opportunity to be as bold or subdued as you like. You could choose a coat that’s fitted to your body or one that’s looser and slightly oversized – both of which have their unique advantages. A fitted one will add class and sophistication to every outfit you wear. An oversized coat, on the other hand, has more opportunities for layering fabrics underneath.
When selecting the right coat for you, bear in mind that it will become like a uniform to you – that one item you grab as you run out the door to protect you from harsh weather outside. Choose one that reflects your personality – bright and boisterous or calm and demure. We do recommend though that you take the rest of your wardrobe into consideration.
What shade will best suit the items you wear most often? Black, navy blue and beige are good choices, but the decision is ultimately yours.
Case 1: Royal Blues
We recently saw Meghan Markle wow the crowd in London for her first public appearance in the UK in a similar long navy-blue coat. What makes it such a winner?
The dark blue color is slimming and flattering on all skin tones, without being as harsh as black. Then there’s the mid-thigh cover-all effect – perfect for wearing all sorts of cozy layers underneath.
Case 2: Quirky Combination
Did someone say Mary Poppins? We’d like to think that our favorite Disney nanny would’ve rocked a similar voluminous coat in her younger days.
Case 3: Lacy Layering
For days that don’t require that much warmth and comfort, why not opt for lighter, sexier layers?
Get that French mystique by letting a slip of your lace bralette peek out beneath a thin woolen sweater in the same shade. An exposed neck during wintry weather can be oh so sexy, particularly when the rest of the outfit is kept to a minimalist charcoal gray.
If you’re worried about the inevitable winter chill, drape a thin scarf around your neck for some added warmth.
A Long Button-Down Shirt For a Modern Preppy Touch
The options are endless when it comes to button-down shirts. There’s the classic pure white variety which brightens up whichever layers you pair it with.
Don’t overlook prints, plaids, and stripes though – these modern styles are fast becoming essential parts for preppy winter dressing.
We have an extra secret tip when wearing a sweater over a buttoned shirt: first layer a tank top over the shirt to conceal the imprint of the individual buttons. The overall look of the sweater will be a lot smoother and refined without tell-tale buttons poking through.
Case 1: Low-Key Layers
If you thought that layering clothing meant thick, uneven layers, this street-smart ensemble is proof that it needn’t.
Even if all you’ve got to work with is your boyfriend’s oversized work shirt, incorporate it into a layered winter outfit. Start with leather leggings, then add on a woolen sweater and a printed plaid scarf to break up the color.
Case 2: Skirting with Layers
The basis of this look is a light-blue button-down shirt (a denim chambray style would work wonders too). Layer a snug mohair sweater over the shirt and then, for a feminine approach, go for a cheeky miniskirt and sexy peep-toe ankle boots.
Case 3: Beautifully White on White
This look is for all the cool cats out there: matte olive-green leather leggings underneath a button-down shirt, a chunky sweater and bomber jacket.
We’re used to seeing differently colored shirt-and-sweater combos. By combining pristine white on white, the effect is classic and sophisticated yet ultra-modern.
Wear Chunky Turtleneck Sweaters over Slim-Fitting Pants
The idea here is to add bulky layers to the top half of your body and leave the lower half sleek and slim. If you’re worried about looking heavier than you are, be sure to wear black on your legs. The dark color will draw the eye down and make your overall body shape appear longer and leaner.
Another trick to add some curves to a rounder apple shape? Tie a belt around the slimmest part of your midriff. This will create a gorgeous hourglass effect.
But don’t forget about those trusty fitted roll neck sweaters either. They’re usually made of thinner, more stretchable fabric making them ideal for layering underneath everything from a sweater dress to a jean jacket.
Case 1: A Taste for Textures
Here we see a layered look that combines all textures – leather, linen and luxurious wool.
The magic ingredient lies in experimenting with varying lengths and proportions. Then there’s the unmatchable color palette of black, white and gray to keep things cool and modern.
Case 2: Accessorized in Layers
This has to be the ultimate cool-girl layered ensemble and it all centers around a woolen sweater. Starting with ripped jeans, add on a long button-down shirt plus your sweater.
Accessories are entirely optional, but what a difference they make! This tailored nude-colored coat and matching hat are optional extras that can be removed at random throughout your workday.
Case 3: Collegiate Prep
Your turtlenecks needn’t all be made of thick, fluffy wool either. In this outfit, for example, we see a light cotton striped turtleneck peeking out beneath a thicker crewneck sweater.
The soft fabric will keep you warm and cozy by sitting so close to your skin. An unexpected pattern like horizontal stripes is a quirky, unexpected touch to an otherwise neutral ensemble.
Longer Length Items Are Made for Layering
What about those days when it’s not quite cold enough for a thick overcoat but still on the chilly side?
Your best bet is a longer length gilet made of soft wool like cashmere, mohair or even luxurious shearling. As they’re made to drape open in the front, this knee-length cardigan style is great at showing off all of the layers beneath.
You get to dress yourself in as many, or as few, layers as you please. To keep the silhouette of your body sleek, though, we suggest you stick to slim-fitting separates that mould to your body.
Case 1: Open for Comfort
A layered look like this retains that sophisticated look, but underneath, it’s built for all-day comfort and warmth. Decadent wool on wool is sure to keep you warm and toasty in even the chilliest of winter temperatures.
Case 2: White Alright
This is another prime example of the beautiful simplicity that layered wool can bring. Choose all of your layers in the same shade (like this pristine winter white) and create an elegant, uniform appearance.
Case 3: Matched for Style
Here we have a mix of a cardigan and a coat – the ideal choice if you live in an area prone to snow, sleet and unpredictable winter conditions.
This layered look comprises all sorts of wool in black, white and gray. You would hardly even notice the number of layers though due to the neutral, minimalist colors.
Get Edgy with a Layered Leather Jacket
You’ve probably got a little leather jacket hanging in your wardrobe, right? And even if you don’t, maybe these layered looks with leather will inspire you to try the trend.
Trust us – a fitted, leather jacket will not only add personality to your look, but it also allows you to layer warmer fabrics underneath.
Plus – because the leather jacket is tailored towards your natural body shape, you get to pile on extra knitted under-layers and still retain a womanly shape.
Case 1: Leather Meets Layers
Yes, layering can equal sexy too! Just pop on a fitted leather jacket over an outfit of layered garments and you’ve got the look sorted.
Throw in a floaty white button-down shirt and you’ve just added a feminine touch too.
Case 2: Athletic Arena
Can athleisure work with layering too? Most definitely!
Choose your favorite sporty hoodie and layer it underneath a little leather jacket. The result is an edgy mix of alternative sports chic for the modern girl on the go.
Case 3: The Best of the Basics
Nothing pulls an outfit together quite like a leather jacket, especially when your look is made up of the same colored basics.
Black, charcoal and matte grey basics combine phenomenally to make this day look work.
Just take your favorite skinny jeans, a loose T-shirt, leather jacket and a large pashmina scarf to create this everyday light layered look.