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​​How to layer

17 November 2016

If you’ve ever had a browse through men’s autumn style tips, there’s a fair chance you’ve come across the term “layering”. This means quite literally what it says on the tin; to stack your garments up in layers, partially for warmth, partially for style.

So how do you effectively layer and at what point does it get ridiculous? Well, we’ll start with some basic ideas.

Formal layering examples

With your suit for example, you might choose to wear; a normal work shirt (1st layer), a tie (2nd layer), a V-neck (3rd layer), a suit (4th layer), a scarf (5th layer) and finally a coat (6th layer).

This is a fairly common example of layering used in the city. In order to add a little personal flair and detail, the trick is to mix up the colours and textures. Most gentlemen that work in an office will rarely step out of the confines of grey, blue and black, however autumn opens up a few more colour options. Burnt oranges, forest greens, deep reds and earthy browns are great ways of adding a touch of detail, without making the wearer look like a dandy.

Using the aforementioned layering example above; try a plain white shirt, a black knitted tie (texture from the knit), a burnt orange V-neck, a grey suit, a black or orange scarf and a charcoal overcoat. Aside from the splash of orange, the basics of the look is just your day-to-day office wear, so you’re not going to suddenly shock anyone with your new look. It’s just enough to personalise the look.

Another example might go as follows: A light blue shirt, a blue pattern tie, a burgundy V-neck, a navy suit, a black & red scarf and a navy overcoat. Again aside from the burgundy V-neck, the rest of the outfit is essentially your normal office wear. Just by adding that dark red to the look, you give a nod to the autumn colours and stand out a little from the crowd.

If a V-neck is going to be too warm, take that layer out and instead; tuck your scarf under your suit jacket. You still add the depth and texture with the scarf, but with less cloth comes less heat. Layering doesn’t need to consist of 6 + layers, even 3 or 4 layers done effectively will look great.

Casual layering examples

If you are more of a dog walker than an office worker, you may find that your temperature fluctuates over the duration of the walk as you encounter the four seasons within an hour (thanks English weather). Layering leaps to the rescue on this occasion, as instead of wearing a lone jumper and finding yourself a little too toasty, you have the option of removing or putting on different, thinner layers.

For example: a t-shirt (1st layer), a zip-neck fleece (2nd layer), a wax jacket (3rd layer), a draped scarf (4th layer).

This example being casual, you have a lot more to play with in terms of your colour selections. With no restriction of an office dress code, you can really take full advantage of the freedom. The amount textures that you can add to the look also increases, wearing a pair of dark blue jeans for example adds denim to the mix and a gillet instead of a fleece adds a shine to the look.

Using this, if we add colour to the above example; A burgundy t-shirt, a navy zip-neck fleece, a dark green wax jacket and a draped yellow and brown scarf. Too hot? Just ditch the fleece or the wax jacket. Too cold? Zip up the jacket and tie the scarf tightly to your neck. The wax jacket used in this example adds an element of waterproofing which is handy, but should the sun be shining on a chilly day, wearing a bomber jacket or pea-coat will serve much the same purpose.

However, I am but one man. My taste and style preferences will differ from the next man. I hope only to inspire. Now go forth gentlemen, you know how it’s done – use your imagination!

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