Fashion: How to layer like a pro

Published on Nov 19, 2022 02:46 AM IST

Layering your clothes come winter, or late autumn, has always been the norm

Conceptual layering, using the right fabrics, colours and textures can actually help you express your mood and fashion sensibilities all year round; Styling by Tanya Aggarwal; Art direction: Amit Malik; Make-up: Rekha Das; Hair: Rohit; Models: Phrodie and Harman (Purple Thoughts); On Phrodie (left): Long shirt & blazer by Urvashi Kaur; Skirt by Uniqlo; Stockings & shoes by Theater; On Harman (right): Pants, T-shirt and jacket (outer) by Urvashi Kaur; Hat by Uniqlo; Jacket (inner) by Erotissch; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
Conceptual layering, using the right fabrics, colours and textures can actually help you express your mood and fashion sensibilities all year round; Styling by Tanya Aggarwal; Art direction: Amit Malik; Make-up: Rekha Das; Hair: Rohit; Models: Phrodie and Harman (Purple Thoughts); On Phrodie (left): Long shirt & blazer by Urvashi Kaur; Skirt by Uniqlo; Stockings & shoes by Theater; On Harman (right): Pants, T-shirt and jacket (outer) by Urvashi Kaur; Hat by Uniqlo; Jacket (inner) by Erotissch; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
ByApla Shrivastava

Layering your clothes come winter, or late autumn, has always been the norm. However, conceptual layering, using the right fabrics, colours and textures can actually help you express your mood and fashion sensibilities all year round. For example, spring in India is actually ideal for light layering because the climate is neither cold nor hot, while the monsoon season requires light jackets. In the winter, layering should be more thoughtful and planned, with a base layer for absorption to keep the skin dry, a middle layer for insulation to keep the body warm, and an outer layer for protection.

The best part about learning to layer your clothes is that you don’t have to sacrifice style or break the bank, simply by using pieces from your existing wardrobe. In this era of fast fashion, using clothes you already own to achieve unique looks is a great alternative, and more importantly, puts you on that first step towards adopting sustainable fashion.

Here’s how to successfully layer your clothes to up your street style game, and brave any temperature without compromising on your own unique style.

Autumnal layering

Layering should be kept to a minimum in the pre-winter season, with lighter clothing; Shirt, jacket and trousers by Marks & Spencer; Hat by Uniqlo; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
Layering should be kept to a minimum in the pre-winter season, with lighter clothing; Shirt, jacket and trousers by Marks & Spencer; Hat by Uniqlo; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)

Layer for the weather

 Begin with light thermals and move to bright, flowing, patterned shirts and culottes.

 Layer it with a snug jacket, sweatshirt or pullover. You can add more layers as the temperature drops.

 Match your autumnal clothing with blue, black, or bottle green boots and a beanie, and add tan accessories.

Autumnal colours

Forest green or muted colours like brown, tan or burnt orange, wine and burgundy, and mustard.

Autumnal fabrics

Organic cotton, Supima cotton, light merino wool and bamboo cotton.

Expert speak

Sarika
Sarika

“Layering should be kept to a minimum in the pre-winter season, with lighter clothing preferable. You can go further depending on your comfort and personal style. ” suggests fashion designer Sarika of Pink City by Sarika.

Layering for Indian Spring

Cotton or linen overshirts layered over lovely bralettes and bustiers is great for Spring; Shirt (outer) and skirt by All To Defy; Shirt (inner) by Erotissch; Boots by Rosso Brunello; Sunglasses by Ray Ban (Raj K Raj)
Cotton or linen overshirts layered over lovely bralettes and bustiers is great for Spring; Shirt (outer) and skirt by All To Defy; Shirt (inner) by Erotissch; Boots by Rosso Brunello; Sunglasses by Ray Ban (Raj K Raj)

Layer for the weather

 Wear two to three shirts or tops in different shades, such as sunshine yellow and orange, that have similar fabrics.

 Start with a printed top and add another similar shirt, a lightweight blazer, and a scarf. Similarly, go for multiple skirts of different lengths.

 All-white dresses, flowy printed dresses, solid blouses, shorts, maxi and midi skirts, crop tops, and miniskirts are fun and trendy pieces one can play with to create a layered look.

Spring colours

Orangey red, pastel beige, peachy pink, warm green, bright yellow, and even neon shades.

Spring fabrics

Cotton, linen, viscose, mulmul, chiffon, and silk.

Expert speak

Shivan and Narresh
Shivan and Narresh

“For women, spring-summer layering works extremely well with printed fine cotton or linen overshirts to style over nice bralettes & bustiers, whereas for men, a thin knitted summer vest or T-shirt with a printed overshirt adds a dapper look.” say Shivan and Narresh, the fashion designer duo.

Fall layering

Colours should be contrasting if you are tall, or tone-on-tone if you are short; Turtleneck by Uniqlo; Skirt and jacket by Marks & Spencer; Trousers by House of Fett; Stockings by Theatre; Sneakers by H&M; Sunglasses by Ray Ban (Raj K Raj)
Colours should be contrasting if you are tall, or tone-on-tone if you are short; Turtleneck by Uniqlo; Skirt and jacket by Marks & Spencer; Trousers by House of Fett; Stockings by Theatre; Sneakers by H&M; Sunglasses by Ray Ban (Raj K Raj)

How to layer

 Pair metallic hues and a menswear-inspired biker-chic leather jacket with basic cotton turtlenecks, light V-neck sweaters, and fleece vests.

 Wear a tonal chiffon skirt with a thermal lower to keep the layers thin. Keeping the layers thin ensures that you don’t add bulk or weight to the look.

Fall colours

Chartreuse, mint, olive, earth tones, and shades of grey.

Fall fabrics

Cashmere wool, leather, suede, denim, velvet, wool-felt.

Expert speak

“Colours should be contrasting if you are tall, or tone-on-tone if you are short,” says fashion designer Harsh Gupta.

Monsoon layering

The inner silhouette can be form-fitting, but the layer on top is flattering when it’s fuss-free;Sweater, trousers (outer) & jacket (outer) by United Colors of Benetton; Jacket (inner) pants & fanny pack by Uniqlo; Shoes by Theatre; Sunglasses by Burberry (Raj K Raj)
The inner silhouette can be form-fitting, but the layer on top is flattering when it’s fuss-free;Sweater, trousers (outer) & jacket (outer) by United Colors of Benetton; Jacket (inner) pants & fanny pack by Uniqlo; Shoes by Theatre; Sunglasses by Burberry (Raj K Raj)

How to layer

 Dressing in bright shades during the monsoon counters the dull and grey weather around you and helps you stand out.

 Try colour-blocking with bright leggings and vibrant chinos with varying hem lengths.

 Wear chiffons, polyester and cotton with short hemlines because they are light and quick to dry.

Monsoon colours

Orange, canary yellow, neon green, and fuchsia pink

Monsoon fabrics

Cotton, mulmul, rayon, chiffon and polyester.

Expert speak

“In colder locations, wear woollen fabrics with a slick sheen. In warmer temperatures, silks and cotton layers are the safest bet. The inner silhouette can be form-fitting, but the layer on top is both comfortable and flattering when it’s fuss-free. In terms of colours, bright hues and jewel tones are king! ” says Sarika.

Layering for winter

Keep your body form or body type in mind and then experiment with different textures & materials; Shirt, blazer (inner) & pants by Marks & Spencer; Coat & scarf by Uniqlo; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
Keep your body form or body type in mind and then experiment with different textures & materials; Shirt, blazer (inner) & pants by Marks & Spencer; Coat & scarf by Uniqlo; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)

How to layer

 It’s all about balance and proportions, so, when wearing many layers, a sleek, narrow bottom is usually appropriate. If you choose to add volume below, ensure your tops are fitted and form-fitting.

 You can experiment with textures, pattern mixing, monochromatic looks, and colour blocking.

 Choose classic layering, which blends things in various materials and textures. Trench coats, parkas, capes, and a good pair of thigh-high boots, for example, may work well together.

Winter colours

Coffee, black, wine and army green.

Winter fabrics

Wool, cotton, flannels, merino, fleece, quilted and cashmere.

Expert speak

“To master the art of layering, keep your body form or type in mind and then experiment with different textures, materials, textiles, and statement accessories,” suggests Harsh Gupta.

Formal winter layering

Combining faux leather or fur with ethnic prints can be a fun approach to layering; Jacket, shirt, skirt & pants by All To Defy; Boots by Rosso Brunello; Bag by Da Milano (Raj K Raj)
Combining faux leather or fur with ethnic prints can be a fun approach to layering; Jacket, shirt, skirt & pants by All To Defy; Boots by Rosso Brunello; Bag by Da Milano (Raj K Raj)

How to layer

 Wear cotton, ikat, or kalamkari blazers to create a formal winter style.

You could also experiment with jackets of different lengths and pinstripes for a formal lunch.

 Streamline your outfit with a turtleneck sweater, an anti-fit multilayered suit, leather shoes, and a leather bag.

Formal winter colours

Iron reds, burgundy, navy blue, plum, and mustard yellow.

Formal winter fabrics

Tweed, polar fleece, velvet, corduroy and flannel.

Expert speak

“In the winter, combining faux leather or fur with ethnic prints can be a fun approach to create a unique fusion style!” says Harsh Gupta.

Layering for festive fall

Add a bolero jacket or a printed organza cape on a lehenga or a trouser bustier set to add effortless glamour; On Phrodie (left): Long shirt, inner blazer & hoodie cape by Urvashi Kaur; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; On Harman (right): Pants and blazer set by Marks & Spencer; Pullovers by Urvashi Kaur; Shoes by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
Add a bolero jacket or a printed organza cape on a lehenga or a trouser bustier set to add effortless glamour; On Phrodie (left): Long shirt, inner blazer & hoodie cape by Urvashi Kaur; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; On Harman (right): Pants and blazer set by Marks & Spencer; Pullovers by Urvashi Kaur; Shoes by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)

How to layer

 Layer your favourite ethnic jackets—whether long or short—with a tissue dress or a short kurta and brocade trousers.

 Add costume jewellery to give your ensemble an ethnic twist.

Festive colours

Gold and silver, magenta, scarlet, warm pink and cheerful yellows, along with blues, whites, and beiges.

Festive fabrics

Banarasi, Tussar silk, crystal organza, Chanderi, tissue and taffetta.

Expert speak

“Festive seasons can be easily made chic by adding a bolero jacket or a printed organza cape on a lehenga set or a trouser bustier set to add effortless glamour, whereas for men bandis and formal jackets on simple kurtas paired with cotton straight pants can look quite stylish,” say Shivan and Narresh.

From HT Brunch, November 19, 2022

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