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Figuring out what to wear is a year-round challenge. Autumn and spring are too cool for summer clothes and too warm for winter gear. Winter and summer bring seasonal outdoor temperatures with indoor microclimates that range from tropical to arctic.
When done correctly, layered looks are both comfortable and effortlessly stylish. Follow these simple rules to create layered outfits that work year-round.
Rule 1: Layer fabrics from thin to thick
It's easiest to regulate your temperature when you wear your thinnest garment closest to your skin. Your outer layer is your thickest garment and the first to be removed. T-shirts are great as a base layer, followed by a hoodie and a denim jacket.
Rule 2: Tie a layer around your waist
Whether it's a sweater, a jacket or even a coat, this is one of the easiest ways to be prepared for a temperature change. Loop on a brightly colored shirt for visual interest—just keep it unbuttoned with the cuffs and collars neatly rolled. Bonus: this technique can narrow your waist.
Rule 3: Layer colors
The more items of clothing you wear, the higher the risk of clashing colors. Avoid this by staying with shades in the same color group, like greys, whites and blacks. Mix and match hues and tones of the same color, like light blues and navy, to create depth. Alternatively, try working with contrast by balancing a soft color, like lilac, with a bold color, like royal blue.
Rule 4: Layer patterns
If you have too many patterns, or patterns that clash, your outfit won't work. Avoid the problem by going with simple block colors, or choose a base pattern with others that relate to it. Your most complex pattern should be on the top layer.
Rule 5: Layer textures
Offset the polish of a crisp white shirt with a rough fabric like denim. This creates a balance of tailored and softer pieces. Weave in sumptuous textures like suede or cashmere. Cashmere is ideal for layering because it's lighter than wool but still keeps perfect body temperature.
Rule 6: Balance proportions
Avoid the "urban Yeti" look by paying attention to the silhouette that's being created by the layers. Balance an oversized top layer with a form-fitting bottom layer, like skinny jeans. Offset wide-leg pants with a fitted top.
Rule 7: Shop with layering in mind
The key to a great layered look is that adding or removing a layer shouldn't compromise the style of the outfit. So every piece of clothing you own should look great both by itself and in an ensemble. Build your wardrobe with the idea that everything should work together.
Learn more about the art and science of layering at Trunk Club's luxurious Chicago Clubhouse. Enjoy complimentary beverages while trying on clothing and accessories hand-selected by your own personal stylist. Click here for more information.