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Crash Course: 4 Rules for Mastering Layering

Crash Course: 4 Rules for Mastering Layering

Colder weather means bidding beach days and barbeques farewell. It means trading your mower for a rake and your nights stargazing for days at the pumpkin patch. But, maybe most exciting for us, is breaking out layers.

If you’re like most guys, you’re probably used to sporting one, maybe two, layers. Shirt and jeans. Maybe a henley and chinos. If it’s really cold, maybe you’ll toss on a jacket too. When done right, layering means you’ll be looking your best while also leaving flexibility in case the weather takes a turn.

This Fall, try following our four steps to layering success.

  1. Thinner fabrics and patterns go on first
  2. Darker colors go on the outside
  3. No more than three visible layers
  4. Each layer should work on its own


Thinner fabrics go on first

In general, you want to wear lighter/thinner fabrics closer to your body and heavier/thicker fabrics farther out. This tends to happen naturally, but it’s still good to keep in mind. This serves both aesthetic and practical purposes. It’s easier to drop heavier layers from the outside, if/as the weather warms up.

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Pretty simple, right? 

Right. Let’s move on… 

Darker colors go on the outside

Most layered outfits will consist of multiple colors. It’s a good idea to keep your outer layers darker than your inner layers. You have likely heard that black and darker shades are slimming while white and lighter shades have the opposite effect. Well, it’s true and can be used to our advantage.

Wearing the darkest colors on the outside will help streamline and elongate your silhouette, especially if you’re wearing darker pants. 

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Keep in mind, this is one of the loosest guidelines included in this set and can absolutely be ignored. A camel topcoat overtop an all black outfit is a great option that breaks this rule. But, when in doubt, you cannot go wrong following this principle.


No more than three visible layers

I’m sure many of us can remember the scene from A Christmas Store when Randy, bundled head to toe in layers, couldn’t put his arms down. He looked like the winterized version of the Michelin Man.

While it’s an extreme example, this overstuffed and bulky look is to be avoided; don’t be Randy.

Keep it simple: 2 layers are easy, 3 can be fun, 4+ can get tricky, so just take care :).

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Each layer should work on its own

Last but not least, each layer needs to work on its own. This rule will make or break your outfit. The main point of layering is being able to shed layers, as the temperature changes; so the outfit needs to work at every layer, so to speak.

This means you can’t wear that too-baggy-shirt that ‘works well under a jacket’, simply because you can’t see it. Because in fact, you just may see it! Make sure individual layers work with the rest of your outfit and you’ll be good to go.

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Not all of these are hard and fast rules of course. A dark Quilted Vest can definitely work under a light Raincoat as can a solid dark Henley under a brighter Denim Shirt. Experimenting with what you find makes you look and feel best is ultimately key, but by following these 4 rules you will never be caught off guard.

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