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Start with a shirt, then add a sweater and a coat to complete the look.
The term for this is called layering.
It does a good job of keeping you warm in addition to looking pretty nice.
If you’ve ever wondered how to layer well, I’ll break down some basic rules for consistently doing it and outline five different approaches in this article.
Three Layers Max
Let’s get started with our first layering advice, which is to limit it to no more than three layers.
Two’s fine. Four is excessive.
Four layers are unnecessary, as they make the garment look cumbersome and overly complicated. In my opinion, three layers is the optimal number since it provides a sense of completion that is missing from a structure with only two layers.
In the first example, I started by wearing only a plain white shirt before layering on a gray lightweight wool V-neck sweater. It functions well on its own and is thin enough to layer under a blazer.
But I went with a light wool top coat in a plaid pattern in place of a blazer. Here, the plaid ties in the blue of the pants and the gray of the sweater.
Thin to Thick
The following piece of advice is to arrange your layers in order of thickness. Thick layers outside and thin layers inside.
It seems to me that it happens automatically as you get dressed, but it’s always beneficial to know exactly what’s happening.
With the same white shirt as in the previous look, I decided to dress up my outfit with a sleeveless wool cardigan as my middle layer and a glen plaid sport coat made of gorgeous Fox flannel as my outer layer.
Mix Patterns & Textures
Mixing and blending different patterns and textures is the third tip. This adds visual interest, helps to separate the layers and break up the composition, and gives the impression of depth.
Using a brown gingham shirt as my base layer, a cashmere long sleeve polo as my middle layer, and a quilted Barbour vest as my outer layer, I’ve combined pattern and texture to create this outfit.
You could easily switch those out for dark jeans if you decided to go for something that was a little more casual and a little more rugged. I made the decision to wear more of a dress pant here because I thought it would look better.
Each Layer Should Work on Its Own
The fourth tip, which focuses on being prepared for any circumstance, is to make sure that each layer not only complements and works well with the others but also on its own.
I won’t be wearing the suede jacket when I enter the building, for example. I’m going to remove it. I want to make sure that the shirt and waistcoat are attractive on their own.
I might eat too much and the waistcoat simply gets a little bit tight, so if I take that off, I still have a great-looking shirt and an outfit that also looks put-together.
Style and Function
You can employ layering, which is both functional and beautiful, to make your strategy truly represent your particular style.
Personally, one of my favorite ways to dress is to mix items that are more laid-back and sporty, like a denim jacket, with others that are dressier and more casual, like a turtleneck and a top coat.
In the third look, I briefly discussed blending patterns. If you’re searching for some pretty straightforward rules and instructions for doing so, I’ve included three rules below.
One of the things about menswear that makes it so much fun and that also has the power to greatly enhance an outfit is patterns.
Wearing patterns, however, can be a little challenging, especially if you want to mix up the patterns. It requires some thought and preparation.
However, if you follow these three rules, you’ll be able to mix patterns like a pro.
The first rule for successfully blending patterns is to select two distinct kinds of patterns to work with. Men’s menswear patterns essentially come in three major varieties. There are checks, stripes, and dots.
Within those families, there is undoubtedly a large range, but the ideal course of action is to select a stripe and a dot, a check and a stripe, or a dot and a check.
The next rule is to change the pattern’s size. Making things complementing is the name of the game when it comes to pattern mixing. You do it by changing the pattern size.
Make sure the patterns’ scales are different. You can go overboard with this, or you can do it a bit more subtly, which is what I usually like.
The third rule is to make sure you have one pattern that is more prominent and one pattern that is more subtle. If there were two strong patterns, they would clash severely since they would be in direct competition with one another.
Keep in mind that these guidelines, like all style rules, are merely rules. Just because something satisfies this requirement doesn’t guarantee that it will work in real life.
You should start with these rules. However, you should always follow your feel and instinct.
The one unbreakable rule of style is that it must look right to be right. Moreover, if something doesn’t feel or look right to you, it isn’t right.