How to Wear Layers For Cold Weather

How to Wear Layers For Cold Weather

Here we’re talking about how to wear layers for cold weather and to keep warm in winter and fall.

Layers are great since they look quite fashionable. Because they can wear layers, most guys who care about fashion and menswear prefer fall and winter to spring and summer.

Also, they’re really functional. When it’s cold outside, they help to keep you warm.

In this article, we’ll talk how to wear in layers for men.

We’ll talk three layering pieces and four general rules that you should keep in mind while putting together a layered outfit.

Finally, we’ll look at some outfit ideas to help you come up with your own layered outfit combinations.

4 Rules

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the four rules of layering. These should not be viewed as hard rules. They more closely resemble guidelines.

You can undoubtedly bend and break these rules, just like you can with most things in fashion. Simply keep them in mind.

Rule number one: Each layer must work independently. We all have those shirts that don’t truly fit us and we only wear them under sweaters. The issue is that you have to make sure that each layer functions independently in case you feel too hot and need to remove the sweater or if you spill something on the sweater.

Make sure that, if you’re wearing a button-up shirt, a vest, and a jacket, you’ll still look good in those two layers if you take the jacket off. Or, even if you remove the vest, you do not ruin your appearance in any way. Each layer must work independently.

Rule number two states that there should not be more than three layers. Two is good, but it’s quite basic. Four is often too much.

Three is perfect.

It is sometimes possible to wear four layers, but you will likely overheat and it will look a little too heavy and padded.

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That magical sweet spot is a three. Three layers is usually where I stop when putting layered clothing since it strikes the perfect balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality. This would be perfect—a shirt, followed by a middle layer and a jacket.

Thick on the outside, thin on the inside is the third rule. Here, we’re talking about fabric weight.

When putting together an outfit, this one happens naturally, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

For instance, as a foundation layer, you may wear a poplin cotton shirt or a thin undershirt. As an intermediate layer, you might wear a wool cardigan or sweater. And as an outer layer, either a wool cashmere jacket or a down jacket that is thicker.

Although it occurs naturally, you should keep the lighter layers closer to your body and the heavier, thicker, more textured textiles farther away.

Wearing a very thin outer layer over a really thick middle layer is what you want to avoid doing.

An extremely thick cashmere sweater, for instance, followed by a nylon windbreaker. It simply wouldn’t make sense and wouldn’t look to be balanced.

Now, a raincoat is the only exception to this rule. Over a sweater or other thicker clothing, you might occasionally wear a raincoat that is lighter in weight. The reason for this is that you’re attempting to achieve water resistance with your outer layer.

Fourth rule: Darker on the outside and lighter on the inside. We’re talking colors.

In general, wearing a lighter color on the inside and a darker color or darker shade on the outside will always look good.

For instance, a white dress shirt, a gray suit, and a charcoal topcoat.

Once more, this rule is flexible. For instance, it would look good if you wore a camel topcoat rather than a charcoal one. However, in general, if in doubt, always go from light to dark because it will never look awful.

Layering Pieces

Let’s talk about layering pieces now that we’ve covered the rules of layering. We’ll discuss three of them.

Your shirts are clearly number one, to put it simply. Without including your undershirts of course, that would be your first and closest layer.

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Flannel shirts, denim shirts, casual button-ups, formal shirts, Henleys, and long-sleeve polos are great layering shirts. We are often referring to long sleeve shirts.

Don’t think too hard about this; you already have all of this stuff in your closet.

The second layer is the middle layer. This layer is essential. I’m talking about sweaters and vests.

V-neck and crew neck sweaters, whether they are made of cotton or merino wool, as well as cardigans with shawl collars and front buttons.

These items make it much easier to put together a layered outfit, as every man already possesses a number of shirts and jackets, but lacks the essential middle layers.

A great middle layer can be worn underneath a jacket or on its own as the outer layer.

As additional middle layers, you might wear sweatshirts, denim jackets, and similar stuff.

Your outerwear is number three. When it comes to outer layers for layered clothing, I especially enjoy medium weight jackets and overcoats. Topcoats, field jackets, denim jackets, and leather jackets.

You don’t really need to wear layers when wearing something extremely heavy like a parka because it provides adequate heat and insulation.

Consider using medium and light weight jackets as your layering pieces.

Outfit Ideas

One of my favorite layering outfits is a casual button-up shirt with a light-weight quilted vest on top, followed by a jacket, jeans, and boots. It has a great, classic, rough look. It’s incredibly practical and will never go out of style. Perfect for the fall.

Wearing a dress shirt tucked in and a quarter zip will give this identical layering wear a more dressy outfit. It consists of a jacket over a sweater with a quarter-zip rather than a crew or v-neck.

You can wear boots or any other business casual shoes you choose with this because it is a little more dressy and looks great with chinos.

The combination of a button-up shirt, a crew-neck wool sweater, and a leather jacket is another fantastic and simple layering look. I could wear this outfit all through the fall. It’s really such a simple outfit to pull. You may create a wonderful casual look by pairing it with jeans and boots.

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The following outfit features a camel topcoat, a shawl-neck pullover, and a plaid flannel shirt as the middle and outer layers, respectively. Simply said, this layered outfit is incredibly cool and distinctive. The shawl neck pullover is a unique item of outfit that will make you stand out from the crowd because it is less common.

If you want to dress it up a bit, another option is to wear a traditional business casual outfit. If it’s cold outdoors, throw a topcoat on top of the V-neck sweater and button-up shirt or dress shirt. That would look good with, say, wool pants and boots.

Last but not least, if you’re sticking with the top coat, you can wear a dress shirt under a waistcoat or a suit vest as your middle layer, followed by a top coat and trousers. This is an alternative to wearing a sweater or cardigan.

This is a pretty good, very smart business casual look, especially if you throw a couple of important accessories like a hat and a scarf and wear some nice shoes.

How to Wear Layers


  • Christopher

    Christopher has 9+ years of experience as a creative fashion designer who stays current with the latest trends.

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