There is more to layering than just piling it all on and hoping for warmth. An outfit that keeps you simultaneously warm and chic is comprised of several key elements.
The Five Fundamentals to master Winter Layering
A great outfit is like an onion—it has lots of layers! Layered outfits are creative and dynamic, giving an outfit more stylistic depth and functional warmth at the same time. Thus, layering meets right at the intersection of form and function.
The easiest place to start is with a color palette as the primary link between each piece in your outfit onion. Come up with the central color theme and the rest can seamlessly map around it. Monochrome, jewel tones, color blocking, all neutrals, muted pastels, etc.
Proportions are a key feature to give mind to when ensuring the continuity of the outfit. A proportional outfit has a natural flow to it. Diaphanous, sleek or angular silhouettes can create a fluid sense of movement and depth, without any piece competing with another. A blousy sweater over skinny jeans or pairing an a-line skirt with an a-line style coat.
Texture is one of winter’s best feature. Furs and leathers and suedes and wools all interact cohesively. When introducing a myriad of textures, try to keep each piece’s volume in mind. If you have a wooly knit accounted for, go for a lighter, or clingier material, like leather trousers. Layering does not necessarily mean bulky. So keeping volume in mind can spare your outfit from becoming weighed down. A puffer vest adds warmth to a twill blazer without overwhelming your frame. A knit scarf outfitted over a faux fur vest, cashmere sweater and a plaid flannel provides insulation and style.
Prints are always a fun wildcard to play with, especially in the colder months when there are so many garments to play with. If prints are a bit daunting, remember to start with color, as indicated in the first fundamental. After a coherent palette is established, the prints fall in line rather easily. Plaid, stripes and leopard are honorary neutrals so use your flannel as an opportunity to add some dynamic pattern play under your striped sweater.
Scarves, gloves, hats, socks, winter wardrobes should always be equipped with layering cherries on top. An accessory ties together and completes an outfit so topping it all with a cozy wool hat or plaid blanket scarf is easy. Winter even gives you the opportunity for some untraditional accessorizing, for instance with multiple garments, like two coats or a vest over a jacket.
This is the part of the show where all of your key players interact harmoniously together. Your coat’s length is respectful of your skirt’s and your scarf is tied so that your sweater has an adequate supporting role. Your flannel peaks out at all the right places and your socks match your tights which peak out of your boots. The colors coordinate across garments to create a coherent palette and each garment falls in line to play towards an overall style motif.
These techniques, though great on their own, create the pinnacle of layering when you simultaneously incorporates to all five.