Layering Tricks That Will Help You Outsmart the Weather This Year

If the thought of layering clothes gives you flashbacks to being told to dress for school with the requisite reminder, "Don't forget your coat," we promise you that piling it on has never been better. We've long associated experimental layering with the Olsen twins in the mid-noughties hiding from the paparazzi in mountains of bohemian fabrics and hefty coatigans. And a decade later, playful layering is still on the style agenda, especially when navigating weatherproof dressing in autumn.

To help, we've compiled key layering tricks that will help you get more wear out of your existing favourites over the next few months and help you decide what you need to invest in. If there's one major tip we can give you, it's this: You'll find that one of the most versatile, long-wearing purchases is a black roll-neck, along with a classic leather belt and knee-high boots.

Below, you'll see classic layering techniques that minimalists always lean on and then more out-there combinations—such as clashing prints and double coats—for those who like to experiment more with their looks. We've also collated some of the best layered looks from the autumn runways should you need further inspiration. 

Scroll below for outfit formulas to make you excited about adding those extra layers.


Layering clothes: Alberta Ferretti



Style Notes: Who needs just two layers when you can have three? Take a blouse, a crew-neck knit and a bomber jacket, and wear them all at once for optimum cosiness. 

Layering clothes: Jil Sander



Style Notes: Sheer layers always look elegant after dark. Wear them with bra tops underneath for a 2021 spin. 

Layering clothes: Holzweiler



Style Notes: Layers needn't be fitted. Look for loose silhouettes such as slouchy tailoring and ballet scarves to create a relaxed ensemble. 

Layering clothes: Lemaire



Style Notes: This getup is enough to make us trade in our joggers for polished workwear for good. 

Layering clothes: Tory Burch



Style Notes: The often-forgotten-about layering hero? The belt. Use it to cinch in your layers to define your silhouette and keep the heat in. 


1. Try the Preppy Shoulder Knot

Layering clothes: Ada Oguntodu with jumper over shoulders



Style Notes: Looping a colourful jumper around your shoulders is an old preppy styling trick you'll spot at any golf club, but it's also Alexa Chung's favourite way to layer up knitwear. Take a cue from Ada Oguntodu, and opt for one of this season's trending colours.

2. Use Leather to Add Extra Warmth

Layering clothes:  leather trousers



Style Notes: Use leather separates to add extra warmth, whether that's with a shirt, trousers or a blazer.

3. Pile on the Accessories, Too

Layering clothes: Pile on accessories, too



Style Notes: Don't only layer up your outwear; pile on the chain necklaces, too. It makes the outfit look more considered rather than like you're pulling a Joey Tribbiani and wearing all your clothes at once.

4. Layer Up Knitwear

Style Notes: One of our favourite layering tricks is to pile on as much knitwear as you can physically fit on your body. We love how Brittany Bathgate wears a knitted skirt, jumper and another jumper knotted around her shoulders.

5. Tuck Skinny Jeans Into Knee-High Boots

Style Notes: One way to add an extra layer of warmth is to tuck your trousers or jeans into your leather knee-high boots. 

6. A Black Roll-Neck Will Work Under Almost Anything

Style Notes: A fine black roll-neck is a layering staple that you can wear under everything from dresses to shirts to cardigans. 

7. Wear a Knitted Vest

Style Notes: One way to add layers to your look without feeling bulky is to wear a knitted vest over your shirts and T-shirts.

8. Wear a Jacket Under Your Coat

layering clothes: two coats



Style Notes: Ada Oguntodu shows how you can double up on coats and outerwear by layering a blazer under a trench coat. 

9. Layer a Cardigan Under a Blazer

Style Notes: Layering a wool cardigan between your favourite top and blazer is a foolproof way to keep cosy. 

10. A Blanket Scarf Will Be Your Best Friend

Style Notes: While you can't acceptably leave the house wearing a giant duvet around your shoulders, an oversized wrap scarf is the next best option. 

11. Two Jumpers Are Better Than One

Style Notes: When all else fails, try layering a thin jumper underneath a bulkier one. When it comes to winter warmth, two jumpers are definitely better than one. 

12. Invest in a Puffer

How to Layer: Puffer Jacket and Roll Neck



Style Notes: When it comes to warmth, a puffer coat is essential whether you opt for a playful printed style or keep it neutral. 

13. Elevate Your Favourite Hoodie With a Structured Coat

How To Layer For Winter: Hoodie and Coat



Style Notes: While your favourite hoodie might be reserved for trips to the gym or days spent on the couch, pairing it with a structured coat and jeans will elevate the look and keep you warm. 

14. Try a Bra With a Blazer for After Dark

Style Notes: Not all layering needs to involve. Layering a slouchy blazer over a bra top creates a cool new combination you can wear out out. 

This post was published at an earlier time and has since been updated. Next up, see our guide to the key trends for winter 2021.

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