The Art of Layering

Words by Vlad Tichen


Layering 101

With winter here, it would be wise to consider adding some layers to your usual work outfits - to keep yourself warm, comfortable and become more stylish along the way. But how does one start such a task? What do you need to know in order to create perfectly layered outfits for winter? Here are a few tips to help you master this skill.


Start with Basics

The key to good layering is balance. The more elements of clothing you have in your outfit, the harder it is to maintain that balanced look. So, the first thing you would need to do is to make sure that you’ve got your work basics covered. By basics we mean simple, good quality clothes - without bright colours and bold patterns. A navy suit, a grey suit, plain or finely patterned shirts, classic jeans and chinos, dark coloured knitwear and outwear - just a good selection of understated and versatile items that work perfectly well together.
Whether you decide to play it safe and stick with the classics or introduce a bright patterned element into the mix, you can be sure that - with the right basics backup - you are on top of the layering game.



From Thin to Thick

Quite logically, we start the layering with the thinnest item and finish with the thickest. It is not a rule of thumb, but rather a practical choice - we prefer to remove the warmest item when it’s too hot and it’s just easier when this garment is the first one to grab onto.
Thankfully, in corporate fashion the layering scale is quite straightforward. Shirts here represent the thinnest layer, knitwear and waistcoats - the medium one, while suit jackets, blazers and overcoats fall into the thickest category.



Play on Contrast

Make sure to alternate different fabrics and textures when building up the layered look in order to create an interesting combination. The possibilities here are endless. For example, the fine cotton of the shirt works perfectly as a base for the herringbone texture of the blazer, while the thick twill wool of the coat gives that sophisticated touch to the whole look.
Keep in mind that colours play a very important role here as well. For the most cases, it is preferable when they are either tonal or complimentary. But if you feel confident enough, an odd (still, thoughtfully coordinated) bright piece will bring the whole new dimension into your sartorial game.



Accessorise It

Accessorising is an essential skill in the layering routine. Whether you’re throwing a fancy cashmere scarf or a pair of leather gloves into the mix, it is a good way to add depth and complexity to your outfit. Don’t be shy and feel free to experiment with different materials, patterns and colours - the accessories are usually meant to look a bit more extravagant than the rest of the outfit.



Nicholas Jermyn Style Advice

Connection between layers
To get your layering technique to a more advanced level, we recommend using a “connection” layer between other layers in order to create that strong link between the items in the outfit. Imagine that, along with a simple white shirt, you are wearing a beige silk tie that needs to be linked with the navy blazer. The “connection” piece would be a garment that shares the colours of both the blazer and the tie. In this case, nothing would beat a beige and blue check waistcoat for this outfit - winter is a great time to bring out your inner Italian, after all!
Look good no matter the layers
Your outfit should stay immaculate, even when you remove a layer or two. Think thoroughly about your combinations beforehand and make sure that your inner layers look as good as the outer one. This might come handy when it’s getting a bit too warm for all those clothes.


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