Dec 09, 2013

How To: Layering

Music Suggestion: Lord Huron – In The Wind If you...

Music Suggestion: Lord Huron – In The Wind

If you are considering ways to keep your style game up while keeping warm this winter, this is the technique your going to need to learn.  Though often overlooked, layering is a key player in keeping the winter wind from penetrating the skin and chilling you to the bone.  The unforgiving winters in the prairies of western Canada have taught us one thing – if you can’t learn to dress for the weather, don’t bother leaving your house.  The principle of layering is simple, we learned it as kids, being forced to wear long underwear for our walking adventures to school and waiting for buses.  Now we learn how to apply the same principle to our modern wardrobe and present it in a more fashionable manner.

My first piece of advice is this – don’t over think it.  You don’t need to stare into your closet trying to decipher a puzzle until your eyes blur and your ears bleed.  Just start with the basics, and then think, ‘what do I have that I can add to make this outfit warmer?’  Layering is merely taking an otherwise simple outfit and adding a few visible pieces to create a crispy look that functions in the cutting chills of winter.

A good way to start planning a layered outfit is from the bottom up.  Pick which shoes or boots your going to strap on and trudge around in.  Unless your really feeling the no-pants-pasty-frozen-legs look (not recommended), I would advise moving on to the pants next.  In a formal situation you may want to go to something with a heavier weight like tweed or wool.  If your going with denim stay away from skin tight and look into a slim fit that still leaves room for body generated heat to flow.  Now that you have set the mood for the rest of the outfit you can move onto the layering.

Every article you add in should be slightly more visible than the last but in the end you want to be able to see each piece individually.  Sweaters and vests are perfect for the layered look that will keep you cozy all winter long.  A top coat or toggle coat are excellent top layers because they comfortably fit over the preceding layers.  I’ll run you through a couple of scenarios and looks of my own and how I chose them.

These Dr Martens wheels were an easy pick, I needed a chukka style boot that would keep the wind from nipping at my ankles.  Out of habit I reached for my Levi’s 513 because quite frankly, they go with everything.  My mood called for shirt and tie up top but I knew it was too cold for a bare dress shirt so I pulled a tobacco solid color sweater (Topman) over top to create some contrast.  I wanted to tie in some navy and I knew there would be room for another piece so I reached for my puffer vest by Jack and Jones.  I use the toggle coat by Club Monaco to top off a lot of my winter layer looks and it worked really well again here.  To create some color pop I slung a Scotch & Soda scarf over my neck and coincidentally, in this look it almost serves as another layer in the outfit.  A combination of bad hair day and sub zero temperatures suggested I pull on a beanie before heading out the door.

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I knew it would be navy and red from the beginning.  These two colors have worked for me over and over again so I didn’t hesitate to go two toned with them here again.  I slipped my Radii wheels with subbed in red laces by Color for the Sole over red and blue striped socks by Jack and Jones to continue the color scheme flavor.  These ‘lived in’ slim chino’s from Gap are a hard working pant in my closet and they helped carry the colors from the bottom up to the top without being too matchy.  To capture the layered look you don’t necessarily need more than one item between your base and outer so I went to the pea coat I picked up from Scotch & Soda.  The nice thing about Scotch is that they sell a lot of their outerwear with an already included layering piece so they have some great options for beginners.  The dotted shirt from Jack and Jones was knotted at the collar with a custom tie from Vietnam.  This fitted A’s cap is not an excuse for another bad hair day but I copped it to keep things casual and add an element of street style to the outfit.


Layering isn’t just limited to winter either.  In fall or spring when things are just starting to cool down, or warm up again, try applying the same principle using lighter materials and lighter jackets – a blazer or denim trucker will help you out here.


Warning: Extreme cold weather may cause negative side effects including, but not limited to grouchiness (see below), being late, or overall silly behavior (see below).

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We Out Here Layerin’

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tagged clothing, layer, layering, men's clothing, men's style, mens fashion...