How to Layer Clothes

Layering is one of the great joys of dressing. It’s a wonderfully effective way to breathe new life into your wardrobe and one of the oldest styling techniques. But there is an art to mastering it. 

The key to layering is to have the staple pieces (T-shirts, trousers, shirts, dresses, skirts, jumpers and outerwear) in primary, neutral colours. Black, grey, navy, taupe, cream/white, camel are great for this as they work in harmony with one another. This doesn’t mean you can’t add dollops of colour and mix in print. The basics in a neutral shade just give you more range and makes the process of piecing multiple layers together easier.

Take the examples below as a guideline and experiment with the ones that appeal to you most. Trying new things can move us out of our comfort zone, but it’s how we develop our style. Plus it will allow you to very quickly see where the gaps are in your wardrobe and what you need to invest in. 


A simple way to layer is to keep everything the same colour. The advantage of this is that it creates a more slim-lined and elongated silhouette. Try to vary your fabrics; silk with wool or leather to add interest and to avoid the outfit looking flat.

Another easy option using basic wardrobe staples. Despite the subdued palette, there is plenty of interest in this outfit mix of structured and relaxed lines.

A thin denim blue shirt normally saved for the summer months, gets a new lease of life. Worn over a black polo neck, it adds an injection of colour to an otherwise all black outfit.

A play on grey hues give this outfit harmony. The eye doesn’t stop on any one thing but travels easily across the various layers. 

The Row

A great way to wear one of this season’s trends; the over-sized man’s shirt. Simple, effective and super chic.

Corsets are another season’s pick. If wearing one on its own feels like a step too far,   consider wearing it over a polo neck or shirt.

Add an element of surprise to this tailored look by tying a jumper around the waist. The sober tones of these classic colours of grey, charcoal and navy stop the look from being whimsical. Metallics will feature prominently this season but this time incorporated more casually into daywear.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham uses different colours and textures to great affect here. A pop of neon against a muted background of burgundy and browns. The key to this look working is to keep the layers thin. 

 The dramatic sleeve has to be one of my favourite layered detail. If all your shirts have standard cuffs, this is certainly an investment worth considering. Against most pushed up sleeves, even just a hint, a peeking out cuff is a look that will serve you well

Tonal layering always works. Different shades from the same palette provide harmony but plenty of interest. A great look for work. 

Simone Rocha

Again, an interesting mix of fabrics. Bralette tops are another big trend this season and while they’re tricky to incorporate into a lot of women’s style, worn here as more of an accessory, it works really well.

Scarves are an easy form of layering. They add interest, colour and an element of surprise.

A playful take on the city shirt and tie works. The asymmetric lines over a pair of faded jeans hits just the right note. Just be mindful of proportions. You don’t want to be all top and no legs.

If showing off your legs in a short dress no longer appeals but you’re still yearning to wear what you have, consider layering them with a pair of trousers. There are myriad ways to interpret this look but it’s an easy layering trick to breath new life into old pieces.

Longer length waistcoats are a great investment as they can double up as a dress. Thrown over wide legged trousers and chunky boots, this is a pretty fail-safe option.

1 thought on “How to Layer Clothes”

  1. Great read as usual Emma! Looking forward to getting out of jeans, a jumper and trainers as usual! I like many of the fashion trends to coming up, so thanks for the info and all the useful fashion advice! Something to look forward to with the warmer weather! 👍


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How to Master Tonal Dressing

Tonal dressing is wearing multiple shades of the same colour or hue. It is an easy and effective way of bringing new interest to the

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