Men: Here’s How To Layer Clothes To Keep Out The Cold

by   |  in Style Tips

When winter approaches and the temps start to dip, you’ll need to start layering up. And as the weeks roll on, it’ll only get colder, so if you don’t already know how to layer effectively, it’s time to learn! We’ll be covering the details in this article.

Here’s the thing: You have to master the art of layering to a.) Stay warm and control your temperature effortlessly, and b.) Look awesome and well put-together!

Great layering requires great clothes to layer with. Let’s identify the different layering pieces, and we’ll put together some combinations so you’re not left out in the cold, so to speak, when it comes to doing it right.

mens clothing on a blue background with text over it saying beat the freeze

First off, why layer at all?

Why not just throw on your heaviest coat over a T-shirt and call it a day?

I think one of the biggest mistakes guys make is to put on a single layer and a heavy coat, and that’s it. Here’s why:

  1. It’s not easy to control your body temperature (easy to become hot in a heavy coat and then cold when you have to take it off).
  2. It’s a missed opportunity to put together an interesting outfit.
  3. If you live in a place that isn’t freezing but still reaches colder temperatures, strategic layering will allow you to easily take off and put on layers as you move from indoors to outdoors, and vice versa.

A few examples of layering pieces

Layering Options For Winter - Effortless Gent
Banana Republic Henley, GANT OXFORD SHIRT, GRAYERS WORK SHIRT, LEVI’S DENIM JACKET, Uniqlo Down Vest; (2nd Row) J.Crew V-neck Sweater,Grayers Cable Sweater, Schott Peacoat, BEN SHERMAN DUFFLE COAT

What’s The Proper Way To Layer?

Layering is a lot simpler than it seems.

Technically, you could just throw on a bunch of stuff and be done with it, but you most likely want to look good and be comfortable.

The key is to keep those layers closest to the skin light, thin, and well-fitting, and work your way up to thicker, heavier fabrics as you get further away from the skin.

Have you ever made the mistake of wearing a loose T-shirt underneath a slimmer sweater or sport shirt? It can get a little uncomfy, resulting in a lot of tugging and adjusting. Not a good look.

Keeping your base layers slim and light will ensure that everything else fits well as you start adding more on top,  and will also prevent any unwanted (and uncomfortable) wrinkling and bunching.

After a while, you’ll know the right amount of layers to wear depending on the temperature outside. If you run hot, you probably won’t need as many layers, and vice versa if you become cold easily.

In general, I’d say three (not including an undershirt or a coat) is usually the maximum number of layers you’d want to put on; any more and it will seriously restrict your range of motion.

Layering Tips: How To Layer With These Can’t-Fail Combos

  1. Pick a base layer (in our example, either a henley or a twill shirt),
  2. Pick a mid-layer (you have a large selection, from sweaters to down vests and even a denim jacket),
  3. And finally, pick a coat (peacoat or duffle, in this instance, although in real life you have plenty of options, from down coats to top coats).

Pretty straight-forward, right?

A More Casual Layered Outfit

Beat The Freeze: Use These Layering Tips To Keep Out The Cold
Banana Republic Henley, Uniqlo Down Vest, Levi’s denim Jacket, Schott Peacoat

This set is decidedly more casual since you’re starting with a henley (which could also be substituted for a long sleeve tee or polo).

In the first row, you’re taking advantage of the heavier work shirt for added warmth. The lightweight down vest (Uniqlo, pictured, has a great version) in the second row fits easily over any base layer and underneath a coat.

And in the third row, the denim jacket brings a spring staple into the winter season. You’re bound to stay warm, as long as you have a more substantial coat on top.

In reality, both the duffle and the peacoat would work with any of these combos. Don’t feel restricted to choosing one over the other.

A Smart Casual Layered Outfit

Beat The Freeze: Use These Layering Tips To Keep Out The Cold
Gant Oxford Shirt, Levi’s Denim Jacket, Grayers Cable Sweater, Schott Peacoat, Ben Sherman Duffle Coat

The second set of layers can go either way, in terms of formality. It all depends what you decide to wear down below.

Go with mid-grey flannel trousers and rich, brown leather wingtips, and you have yourself a “smart casual” rig. On the other hand, throw on some chinos and sneakers, and you look more casual, yet still very put together.

The denim jacket plays nicely no matter the direction you’re trying to take the outfit, and if you are leaning more formal (with trousers and wingtips), it gives you a great high-low look, one that we champion a lot here on EG.

Example Using Two Different Midlayers

Beat The Freeze: Use These Layering Tips To Keep Out The Cold
Gant Oxford Shirt, GRAYERS CABLE SWEATER, Levi’s Denim Jacket, BEN SHERMAN DUFFLE COAT; (2nd row)Gant Oxford Shirt, Uniqlo Down Vest, Grayers Work Shirt, Schott Peacoat

In this third set, we’re incorporating two different mid-layers. This may be overkill in some instances, but it can definitely work, so long as you have your fabric weights right.

For example, the merino V-neck in the first row is thin enough to fit under the denim jacket. Same goes for the lightweight down vest in the second row. You can barely tell it’s on! It fits under a work shirt (which, I’m assuming, you’ll wear open, or with only a few buttons fastened).

Remember that one Layering rule

You can’t really go wrong when layering.

If you remember to keep your innermost layers thin and light, and work your way up in thickness and looseness from there, you will be 100% good to go.

Does this help?

I know layering can seem a bit weird at first, especially if you’re not sure which pieces can work together. Hopefully this article gives you a place to start!

What other layering questions (or tips!) do you have?

If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter. You can also find join other readers on Effortless Gent’s Facebook page, or DM me on Instagram!