Layering clothing is something of fine art. Sure, it’s easy enough to pile on the garments, piece by piece, but you run the risk of adding unnecessary bulk if you don’t layer strategically. Therein lies the “artistic” factor of it all — the ability to thoughtfully add pieces that lock in body heat to keep you warm without restricting your movements or suffocating you in any way. Layers should help you get through the day comfortably!
Spring is one of the most important times of the year to layer. Learning how to pair different pieces of clothing to achieve a warmer outfit that doesn’t feel heavy and cumbersome can help you get through those tricky transitional days that come just after winter ends. The conditions may be brisk enough to call for layers, but not quite cold enough to warrant a coat. In many cases, even a light jacket won’t do. Layers solve the problem every time! Here’s how to do it right.
It all begins with that bottom layer — and selecting the right base begins with a look at the forecast. You might need to wear men’s long underwear as you would mainly in the winter, but the concept is similar in theory. The starting piece is largely invisible. A standard undershirt works well for this purpose. Opt for a style with short sleeves, since spring conditions don’t typically warrant a warmer base layer. Bear in mind that the right base layer can make all the difference in how your outfit ultimately looks. It should have a classic fit so that it conforms nicely beneath the piece you wear on top.
The piece that you wear on top is what everyone will see, even if it’s just a hint of a collar or a flash of the placket. The idea is to select a top that suits the environment. If you’re headed to the office, you’ll want to put on your best men’s dress shirt. But if you’re going to an outdoor event, consider wearing a flannel shirt instead. The beauty of this top is that it’s just warm enough; it offers considerable comfort on those cooler spring days but isn’t so toasty that you’ll feel uncomfortable. Moreover, wearing it over a lighter base layer is an easy way to keep it going during the warmer months even though it’s typically associated with fall and winter.
Not every outfit begins and ends with a button-down shirt. On a particularly cool spring day, you’ll likely need to add a sweater. While it’s easy enough to button a basic men’s cardigan sweater or pull a crew neck on top of your shirt, there’s usually some more effort required if your goal is to layer in a way that exhibits both style and functionality.
First, make sure that the hem of your shirt is neatly tucked in. In formal settings, if it’s peeking out from beneath the sweater, it’s going to look casual, depending on where you are and the impression you’re trying to make. The exception, of course, is a super casual environment where laid-back is the norm, or whenever you’re hanging out with your friends and just want to layer up for comfort.
Consider the color, too. If your shirt is a neutral white or ivory, then you can have some fun by wearing a colorful sweater that serves as the focal point for your look. Odds are that your pants will be fairly neutral, too, and if you choose to wear jeans, then the addition of a bright sweater can really liven up the equation.
Sure, spring is rarely so cold that you need to wear a base layer, a shirt, a sweater, and a blazer. Sometimes, however, the blazer is a better alternative to the sweater, and it typically looks right at home with a pair of tailored men’s pants. It can even make those jeans look more polished and refined.
Again, consider the environment. If you’re headed to the office, your blazer and pants should be well coordinated to create a seamless, streamlined look from top to bottom. But if you’re headed out on date night or meeting up with friends and just want to add some structure to your otherwise casual denim and top, a more relaxed blazer made with a lighter weight fabric is an excellent alternative.
Spring also happens to be a great time of year to break out that vest! Of course, wearing the men’s winter vest you sported while at the ski resort may be best for winter. An alternative for the spring season is fleece, which is just warm enough to keep you toasty on the days that you need it most — and it also happens to look great over everything from basic tees to more structured shirts.
The key to successful layering is ultimately in your ability to mix and match your favorites. You don’t have to make it too complex, either. One brighter color paired with a neutral palette is the best way to bring everything together smoothly.