The Guys’ Guide to Layering

December 1st, 2010

mens-layering-jcrew_112910

J Crew’s seasonal lookbooks are filled to the brim with fantastic (if not over the top) examples of layering.

Proper layering is absolutely foundational to a man’s style.  Whether you live in snowy Boston or sunny Miami, whether it’s the peak of summer or the valley of winter, the principles of layering will help you craft the right look for whatever your day brings you.  Presenting our five golden rules for layering:

Rule 1: Keep the First Layer Slim
Let’s face it: layering can be bulky.  But it doesn’t have to look that way.  How do you add layers without adding bulk?  Keep the first layer slim - in terms of both material and fit.  Your base layer should consist of thin fabrics that fit somewhat snugly; that way, other layers can fit on top without creating layers of bulk.

Rule 2: Mix Up the Length of Your Layers
When you’re layering, each piece on each layer has a purpose.  And for the most part, you want the layers to be visible, as this creates a more visually interesting look.  How do you make sure that each layer is visible?  Vary the length of each layer, so that each layer can be seen.  For example, if you have a tee shirt, a button-down shirt, and a sweater, let the tails of the button-down be seen from underneath the sweater.  And let the tee peek out from under the button-down.

Rule 3: Play with Textures
Women can play with silhouette when layering, but for men, the best bet is to play with texture.  Especially when creating monochromatic or duochromatic looks, a little texture goes a long way.  Pair a chunky knit with a smooth jersey - or a cozy thin knit sweater with a rough corduroy pant.  A little fabric juxtaposition can really make your look.

Rule 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment with Color
Even if your wardrobe is dominated by blues, greys, and blacks, you don’t have to limit yourself to these colors.  And the easiest, least risky way to add color to your wardrobe is through layering.  You don’t have to gamble nearly as much on that blood orange sweater when it’s an ensemble player in your look instead of the star.  We love it when a bit of color peeks out from under a jacket lapel - or sweater - or even from between your pant leg and shoe with an arresting pair of socks.  

Rule 5: Add an Element of Surprise

No great look is complete without that je ne sais quoi - that element that makes it uniquely you.  Maybe it’s the hint of a purple sweater peeking out from underneath your navy blazer.  Maybe it’s a well-placed handkerchief in your jacket pocket.  Maybe it’s a motorcycle boot that you paired with your trouser pants.  Whatever it is, this element of surprise is what makes your look your own.  

Have a great layering tip?  Share your style with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: How To, Men, Men's

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. scragz  |  December 4th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    “Let the tails of the button-down be seen from underneath the sweater”.

    At best, a drunken frat boy. At worst a homeless grifter. What next, having the tops of your boxer shorts sticking out?

  • 2. Jim  |  December 4th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Somebody at J. Crew is awful at Photoshop: why does one side of his coat stop at mid-thigh and the other side continues to his knee or lower? Nice job pinning the sleeves to make it looks like they actually fit slim.

  • 3. Danny Peck  |  December 5th, 2010 at 11:49 am

    That’s a sweet cardigan. Any idea where to get it?

  • 4. Tifa  |  December 28th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Yeah! That cardigan isn’t on the site. Where the heck is it??

  • 5. jackson  |  January 27th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    sweet guide.

  • 6. James  |  February 21st, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I really like the layered look at the minute and when done well it can really add extra style to an outfit, I also like to mix up the colours but notice that I tend to stick with autumnal colours at the minute and also look for a nice scarf for those colder days.

  • 7. Evie Seifu  |  March 9th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    A dash of more color might make it more fun….seems
    very heavy!

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