6 Tips On How To Layer Men’s Clothes with Style – Clothing Layering Techniques in Classic Menswear

Welcome back to the Gentleman's Gazette! Today's video is all about how to layer clothes in menswear I should say this is about layering in classic menswear

Not how to dress when you're on the ski slopes So we talk about layering with knitwear, vests, scarves, ties, overcoats, jackets, and so forth Whether you have noticed that or not you've probably layered a lot of garments Every time you put on a sweater, a shirt, a t-shirt, and something on top, you're actively layering Now layering not only keeps you warm but it's also an opportunity to create different outfits and looks

Basically there are two types of layering, visible and invisible layering Let's start with the invisible layering If insulation is your main goal and you want to keep the look the same we're talking basically about under shirts and long underwear It helps you to stay warmer sometimes it can also prevent sweat stains on your dress shirts And when you invest in undershirt make sure it's as close to your skin color as possible if you can't find that get maybe something in heather gray

Ideally you want a deep cut v-neck that doesn't show when you wear your dress shirt I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota and it's not unusual to have negative 39 degrees weather in the winter and so long underwear become a necessity To learn everything you need to know about undershirts, please check out this video here Now let's talk about the fun part, visible layering First of all what is it? When I say layering I mean every layer be it the shirt, the tie, the vest, even a pocket square or a boutonniere simply because there are visual layers and they don't cover your entire body but it's still a layer in the sense that it helps you aesthetically create a different look

Basically there are six types of layering The first is monochromatic layering which means use the same color over and over again in your outfit No, it doesn't mean you should wear a black suit with a black shirt and a black tie because there's no contrast and it just looks like a dress in the dark What I mean by that is that you stick to one color Let's say navy or blue so your suit is blue your shoes are dark maybe you would take a white shirt but likewise a tie that matches the suit in the same solid color

The advantage of monochronic layering is that it's quite easy to accomplish at the same time you may run into the issue that you have maybe a tie that is just slightly darker or slightly lighter in a shade than your suit and when they're right next to each other it just looks off Also in my experience, it's easier to pull off that look if you go with lighter shades of grey or blue rather than darker shades Otherwise it makes you look like an evening outfit such as a tuxedo or white tie And you can learn more about those formal dress codes here Don't forget our free ebook Black Tie and White Tie Guides which are extremely helpful

The second step would be layering with contrasting color Think about a chocolate cake with maybe a white cream and a mocha or hazelnut cream in between It works because it creates more visual interest So for your clothes that would mean maybe you start with a white dress shirt then you wear a blue tie and then you can have maybe a cardigan or a vest in a different color, maybe a brown or a green or maybe burgundy and then on top of it you add another color Ideally maybe the same blue as you had before with a blue suit and that way you have blue, brown, blue, white

Now that's three colors If you wanted to you can also increase it to four colors which is a little more daring and can be a little more difficult to pull off but what matters is that you don't have two items next to each other that are very similar in color Intersperse them with something that's quite contrasting and you're layering efforts will look good I suggest you take a look at the color wheel and take complementary colors which are opposite from one another because those work quite well together You don't have to get an extreme color like an extreme orange or an extreme blue but you can get subdued colors and maybe go for a rust orange rather than a bright orange

Also there are some combinations in menswear that just go very well together such as an orange tie with a brown jacket or a green or a blue tie with a gray jacket or maybe a yellow tie with a greenish brownish jacket The third way to layer is to alternate solids and patterns Now it's very similar to colors but instead of the color you just use a pattern It can either be the same pattern for example you have a Glen check suit, then maybe a white shirt, then a maybe a blue vest and then another Glen check tie Or it could be for example, a patterned or striped shirt, a solid tie, a patterned waistcoat and a solid jacket

Of course, it also works the other way around with a solid shirt, pattern tie, solid vest and pattern jacket The fourth way to layer is to have two or three patterns in a row This is much more intricate and difficult and by doing it the wrong way the overall result can look awful very easily So I suggest you only look into layering this way once you've mastered the other ways In order to get a great look you want the patterns to be distinctly different

For example, a striped shirt with a geometric tie You then decide you want a patterned jacket as well You want to add a calming solid layer as a vest because it tones the outfit down and ties everything better together Another way to deal with several patterns is to stick with one pattern such as a stripe So let's say you have a rope striped suit maybe a really wide thick striped tie and a medium striped shirt

What's essential to remember is that patterns next to each other need to be different in scale Having a striped shirt that is very similar to my striped seersucker without any layer in between simply looks odd The same is true for a striped shirt that has about the same spacing and width as the suit It just looks odd People don't know where to look and get easily confused

The fifth way to layer is to create a bridge between layers with coordinating colors What I mean by that is if you wear an orange tie maybe add a pocket square that has some orange elements in it and maybe socks that have some orange in it because that ties the outfit together quite well For example, if you have a blue jacket a red tie and a tan vest if you then get a pocket square that picks up all those colors it just looks very harmonious Another good way to tie your outfit together is to change the color of your socks It's particularly easy with two-tone socks because they don't have to exactly match and if you pick out a color at the top part of your outfit that's reflected in your socks it looks very complete

To learn more about how to combine shoes with dress socks and slacks, please check out this video here and don't forget the free ebook Six, pay attention to how layers interact If I wear a blue tie on a white shirt it looks very different than if I wear a dark blue shirt with a dark blue tie Because of the lack of contrast it now looks wrong and out of place Instead if I want a darker shirt I have to switch to a lighter tie to create a nice contrast

Some people say they've never worn a tie that is lighter than a shirt Personally, I think it can work quite well but it's always easier to combine a darker tie with a lighter shirt Also consider the texture of fabrics For example if you wear tweed, it's not advisable to have a coarse knit cardigan right next to it as well as a knit tie because otherwise there's too much texture Instead use one item that is textured such as a knit tie, take a cloth that's maybe a flannel that is not as loud, not as textured right next to it and then you can go with a tweed coat because it ties it together better

Also avoid bringing two very similar colors next to each other and always add a different layer in between For example if I wear seersucker pants and a white shirt there's very little contrast However if I add a jacket maybe in navy blue it breaks up the barrier between the pants and the shirt and everything is pulled together and looks very neat So what garments can you layer with? In classic menswear I think the best item is the waistcoat or the vest It should be an odd vest oftentimes because it's contrasting that you can wear with suits or you can wear the vest you get from a three-piece suit and combine them with other items such as a sport coat or a blazer

The second garment is a cardigan which is basically like a sweater with buttons but I prefer it over a regular sweater because it doesn't mess up my hair Unlike a vest or a sweater vest it has sleeves for insulation so when you layer it let's say with a jacket or an overcoat it keeps you even warmer In terms of fit I suggests you always go with a fitted cardigan simply because a knit is much more flexible than a woven fabric and so a knit will adapt to your body shape If you get it larger to begin with it makes you look like a potato sack that maybe your grandpa would wear Because a cardigan is a little more casual you should always leave the bottom button undone

And to learn more about why a vest should have the bottom button undone, please check out this guide on our website here The third time to layer is a sweater If you want something more casual maybe for apres ski, you could even get like a zippered sweater and that's just something that works better with a bomber jacket for example or a pea coat rather than with a suit and a Paletot overcoat for example Fourth item to layer are scarves You can wear them on top with your overcoat or just hung around your shoulders

You can also just have a loose wrap and it keeps you warmer than without it but it really adds a layer of textured interest You can go with solid cashmere scarves which are likewise warm You can go with thinner ones I like the printed ones especially double sided scarves because if you have them on your neck you see both sides and it just creates a visual interest that is different than like a solid scarf could provide The fifth item I personally like to layer is an ascot

Some people call it a cravat I think it's an ideal item because it's more casual than a regular necktie or a bow tie yet it's much more sophisticated than just going with an open dress shirt collar It's also easy to really change the entire look of your outfit And to learn more about how to wear ascots, how to tie them, and where to buy them, please check out our guides here Six, one my favorite items to layer is a pocket square

It sits at the outermost visual plane and it can really make or break an outfit in a matter of 10 seconds Never wear a pocket square that matches your neck wear exactly because that would be a faux pas Instead try to use colors from the rest of your outfit that are reflected in the pocket square To learn more about pocket squares including how to fold them the proper way, and how to combine them with your shirt, your tie and your jacket, please check out these guides here The seventh item to layer over your jacket is an overcoat

When it's really cold outside you wear it closed and it's warm and it's nice, it's elegant, it drapes well If it's a little warmer you can wear it unbuttoned specifically if it's single breasted If it's double-breasted, I suggest you don't wear them unbuttoned unless you're truly overheating but for style reasons if you want to wear your overcoat unbuttoned go with single breasted it will look better To learn more about overcoats, please check out our overcoat series here Last but not the least, the eighth layering item is the boutonniere

So how can such a small flower constitute a layer? Basically it's really at the outside of your lapel It's very visible and it changes the look of an outfit It can calm it down in an otherwise busy outfit for example using an Edelweiss or you can go louder by adding maybe a purple or red carnation to something if it's very monochromatic looking like a black tie or white tie outfit In today's video I'm obviously wearing a layered outfit consisting of a tweed coat that I have found vintage It's a very coarse weave that overall looks dark brown but it has lighter browns and mid brown tones in it which makes it very easy to combine with other brown tones

My vest is a doe skin fabric in a tan color I combined it with a striped shirt It's a very faint stripe in yellow and blue so it's not in your face stripey but it has a pattern Because my tie and my jacket are textured, the shirt and the vest are not I chose to go with a rust orange because it provides enough contrast without being out there and overall the rust orange tones work well with the brown tones

My pants are winter white off-white flannel slacks that definitely stand out and make a statement But with the rest of my outfit which is more in brown tones and subdued, it works quite well My shoes are suede chukka boots that are Goodyear welted They work well with the outfit in terms of texture and the color of the shoes is picked up in the jacket For the socks, I chose a caramel burgundy pair of shadow striped socks that tie together all the brown tones in the outfit and they contrast the shoe slightly as well as the pants

Last but not the least, the pocket square picks up the orange color of the tie as well as purple of the boutonniere and that way it ties it all together At the same time it's a distinct pattern that is not too loud and not too bold If you think about it in this outfit I'm wearing three patterns – the pocket square, the coat as well as the shirt But I also have different textures and so overall it doesn't look like I'm combining too much Of course the boutonniere is optional and without it, it would still be very harmonious combination but you'll see it definitely has a different look

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