How to Layer Your Clothes

Layering is an intentional way of getting dressed. It’s also an ancient way of regulating your body temperature to protect against hypothermia. Learning how to layer expertly is a sustainable way of extending your wardrobe without consuming too much. Clothes layering also helps you to adapt your wardrobe between seasons.


Two cardinal rules of layering endure: one, don’t layer your bottom half, and two, wear thinner materials closest to your body and work your way outwards. Another way to remember this is to go from thin to thick. Only wear a base layer like long johns under your pants, when encountering deep cold or spending significant time outside.


Avoid wearing the same looks each season with these tips on how to layer from Clothing Shop Online:

  1. The Basics of Layering

Layering our clothes goes back thousands of years. More than a style choice, layering is a survival technique. Regardless of the season, you should layer your clothing when you won’t be able to change and you may encounter a range of activities. How you layer is also about exertion level and metabolism. So, this could mean layering for a freezing office in order to transition to an evening out or layering to go camping.


Each layer has a function. Getting your fabrics and technique down could save your life in an emergency:

  • Base layer: typically the underwear layer, meant to wick sweat from your skin
  • Middle layer: the layer closest to your body over your underwear, which retains body heat, protecting you from the cold
  • Outer layer: the external shell that protects you from the rain or wind

Consider bringing an option for all three in the event you’ll need it. You can always remove a piece.


  1. Best fabrics for layering – Which fabrics can be used for layering for which seasons

Aim to keep your base layer in cotton, since it’s soft and breathable. However, if you’re going to exert a lot of energy – for example, go for a long run – you may want to wear a polyester or silk base layer to protect against chafing and moisture. Merino wool is great for socks, less so for a full-body long john unless you’re in freezing temperatures. Keep in mind that various fabrics, especially in athletic and hiking wear,  also come in different weights – light, middle, or heavy – depending on how much cold you need to protect against.


In general, middle layers made of cotton, rayon, tri-blends, or linen work best in warm weather because they breathe well and also wick moisture. In colder climates or when expending less exertion, a polyester middle layer keeps your core warm, helping to better insulate you against the cold. Wear pants made of fleece or flannel, but preferably not denim, which doesn’t insulate as well. When denim gets wet, it can no longer protect against the cold, letting warmth escape. Outer layers in cold weather can consist of fleece, nylon, or sherpas, among other fabrics, to really lock in warmth.


Vary what fabrics you wear between seasons since climate varies widely between regions.


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  1. The Base Layer – The first layer of clothing

Keep your base layer thin and high-quality. How thin and what fabric depends entirely on your climate, activity level, and bodily metabolism. However, in general, wear cotton or a cotton-polyester blend nearest your skin to wick moisture and keep you comfortable. Silk is another option.


In cold weather, the base layer’s ability to keep you dry can stave off hypothermia. Merino wool makes a great base layer in colder conditions. Choose from a wide range of best-selling base layers that include tank tops, as well as short and long sleeve tees.


  1. The Main Layer – A layer that should be easy to remove

This next layer has a range of thicknesses and possibilities, all dependent on what you’re going to be doing. In colder weather, the main layers look like polyester long-sleeve or flannel shirts. It can also look like a thinner jacket made of synthetic insulation. No matter the time of year, this layer should be breathable or you may miscalculate the range of temperature you can handle. In a less outdoorsy setting or more formal situation, the main layer could also be a button-down or chambray shirt.


  1. The Outer Layer – Can be heavier or lighter depending on your region’s climate

This layer can be your warmest since it’s the easiest to take off. Cardigans or lightweight synthetic fiber jackets are good for warmer weather. Sweatshirts and zip-ups, especially fleece-lined, can be enough to keep you warm if you’re not expecting rain or major temperature fluctuations. Clothing Shop Online has a range of high-quality outer layers – from jackets to windbreakers – from which to choose.


  1. Accessories – can provide extra warmth or protection from wind/rain if need be

Especially in cold and wet weather, clothing accessories like scarves, hats, and headbands can further insulate you against fluctuations in temperature by sealing off areas from which heat can escape, especially when the wind cuts in the cold. However, accessories are a great way to style your layered look, pulling it to look chic, even when you’re wearing a puffer jacket 20 below.


Whether preparing for an unpredictable spring day, camping, or going to work, clothes layering is an art that can extend the life of your wardrobe and keep you comfortable year-round. Clothing Shop Online has everything you need to layer your clothes!

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