In the summer, layering your clothing is essential for looking stylish and preparing for those out-of-the-blue weather changes. In spring, autumn and winter, layers help provide heat retention. In every case, the variety of colour combinations and textures that come with layering add to your individuality and personal style. Not sure where to begin with this task? Here are eight simple rules that will help.
While there are exceptions to every rule, most of the time you’re going to want to start out with your thinnest layer and end with your thickest. When you get too warm, this lets you easily remove layer by layer. It also makes your ensemble comfortable to wear. Think about it for a moment. If you donned a dress shirt, a tweed jacket and then a polo shirt, you wouldn’t feel too cosy walking down the street, would you?
This rule plays into another one: standalone pieces. As you layer, think about the pieces that are visible. Each piece should stand alone as an outfit unto itself. You don’t want to compromise your style as you remove or put on layers as you move from warm to cool environments. This is especially important when it comes to base layers. If you wouldn’t wear it by itself, don’t stick it under your men’s tweed jacket.
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re layering, but it’s essential that you don’t. Begin with a single colour. This colour should be your star, the one that the rest of the outfit works to make shine. While darker colours are an option, consider a lighter colour for your base. This lets you incorporate darker and bolder colours in the rest of your layers.
Once you have your star colour chosen, consider how the rest of the layers will flow seamlessly between one another. For this, you need complementary colours. If you’re going to go bold with any of the layers, stick to one or two colours at the most. Too many and you’ll simply look chaotic and jumbled.
If you have some experience mixing and matching colours to create your own personal style, you may want to think about adding a pattern or two to the mix as well. This rule follows the colour rule. Choose one base pattern as the star of your ensemble, then work others around it. Stick to one or two patterns for all of the layers, complementing them to the colour scheme you have chosen. Like your colours, they should flow seamlessly from layer to layer, from your dress shirt to your suit jacket.
In the summer, many men turn to linen and cotton suits, blazers and shirts. This is perfectly fine; in fact, they suit the British heat well. However, don’t assume they are the only choice. Lightweight wools are ideal choices for summer style as well. These wools breathe nicely, hold their shape and keep you just as cool as linen. If you tend to sweat, they also deal better with moisture as well.
Look for wool men’s suits, trousers and more that feature loose weaves or high-twist yarn. These will not only work well in the summer, but also work well in your winter rotation as well. Their light weight makes them excellent layering options.
Undershirts are essential parts of your ensemble, whether you’re wearing men’s suits or a men’s tweed jacket. They aren’t visible to everyone else, but they keep you from ruining your nice dress shirts when you sweat.
Be careful when choosing layers that go over these shirts. The undershirt should not be visible, so opt for a V-neck option if you’re wearing an open-shirt collar.
In the winter, socks are important. They help regulate your temperature and keep your feet and ankles nice and toasty. This is because the veins in your ankles are close to the surface, making them vulnerable to dropping temperatures. The same is true during the summer. When the heat is on, keep your feet and ankles cooler by opting for no socks at all. This lets your feet breathe a little easier.
During the summer, a polo is the ideal choice as a single layer over a casual button down. During the winter or when you’re going to a smart-casual event, you’re going to want to add another layer to the ensemble. These shirts work well with smart-casual jackets like blazers, sport coats and tweed jackets.
There is not set rule that determines how many layers is enough. This judgement is left up to you. However, keep in mind that layers can quickly go from stylish and on-point to silly. Some tips for knowing when to stop are:
Layering may seem like a challenge at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Start small and consider the colours, patterns and textures you want to work with. Build on each one, complementing it and ensuring each layer move seamlessly from one to another. Once you’ve done this, understand the importance of each layer and how it looks separately from another. In no time, you’ll have created a stylish ensemble that sets you apart from the crowd.