Outfit inspo: How to Layer Clothes for the Perfect Layered Look

18th February 2019


womens denim jacket pink hoodie and grey joggers

We’re approaching those tricky weather conditions where we throw open our wardrobes, have a long, hard stare in and still feel lost for an answer.


How do you put an outfit together when it could be chilly and wet in the morning but the sun could be beaming by the time the afternoon rolls around?


Layered clothing is the answer. However, we totally understand that putting together an outfit in this way can feel a bit like a game of Tetris.


If you get the formula right, you can make simple, basic items look super stylish grouped together as an ensemble with layering tricks.


So if you’re looking for inspiration on how to layer clothes we’re here to help with our five top tips.


layering womens black coat tops and trousers
@jilfilizweber shows us how to look super chic in one colour and cinch layers in at the waist


How to layer clothes

  1. Use lightweight fabrics
  2. Think about colour
  3. Accessorise
  4. Hemlines are key
  5. Play with texture


Choose lightweight fabrics

womens polka dot dress and jumper
@gemmatalbot and @natwinter (below) both layer a jumper over a cute polka dot dress for
           the perfect styling tip to transition from one season to the next.


If you want to add a bulkier layer for extra warmth, make sure you do this with your outerwear. For example, a parka, puffer or down jacket works as your top layer – rather than wearing a jumper with a chunky knit underneath a thinner jacket. This will avoid it bunching up under outer layers – not only will that look bulky, it’ll be uncomfortable too. Try to use fabrics like cotton and fine knits that sit closer to your skin. If you need something warm, yet lightweight, cashmere is for you. Merino sweaters are a good call too.


womens polka dot skirt and jumper
Photo by @nimaelm


A jumper over a dress is the perfect example of playing with your look and layering with lightweight fabrics. Whether it’s for a night out on the tiles, a smart casual look for a meeting or brunch with friends, this look is extremely versatile.


Pair a cute sweater over a dress of any length and you’re on track for layered style glory.


Think about colour

layering womens leather look trousers and beige jumper
@lydiajanetomlinson experiments with neutral tones and
contrasting hemlines

Piling on the layers in various bold colours can create quite a chaotic look – to avoid this you have a couple of options.


If you want a really sleek and chic ensemble, opt for one colour. You can balance different shades of the same colour to add tone to the outfit. This then makes it look as though you’ve really put thought into your look.


Or alternatively, you can opt for neutral colour combinations to keep the look smart and then add something vibrant to lift the outfit with one element.



layering womens longer length black coat
@georgwhite layers her look with a cosy coat in a longer length with an added bobble hat

This is, to a certain extent, an ‘add-on’ to the previous point. A scarf could absolutely be your layered style hero and if you’re adding it to your layers of lightweight fabrics it’s the perfect addition. Don’t forget snoods and hats are also items that could be a stylish, and practical, addition to your outfit. They’re also lightweight enough to be whipped off and popped in your handbag if they’re rendered surplus to requirements thanks to a rise in temperature.


To avoid things looking bulky, nip yourself in at the waist with a chic belt and keep the top layers open to reveal your style underneath.

womens layering necklaces and all black outfit
@helena_hypnotised shows us how to layer necklaces and lift an all-black outfit


Don’t discount your jewellery from layering fashion. Layering your necklaces, rings and bracelets can lift any outfit. If you’re layering rings of all different sizes and shape, keep everything else nice and simple. If you’re keeping your other jewellery simple, be bold by mixing chunky necklaces with dainty chains.


Remember that using a number of necklaces can break up the use of one colour – perfect if you’re layering your clothes with one shade in mind.


Hemlines are key

layering womens knitted jumper and long coat
@lydiajanetomlinson shows off the ultimate knitted jumper/long coat combination


If you prefer your overall style to be neat and smart then ensure your outerwear layer is longer than what’s underneath. For example, although a classic blouse peeping out from the bottom of a sweater is still a strong look, a blazer or trench over the top with a longer hemline adds that smart finishing touch.


Having a shorter layer on top is still doable, and is actually a great fashion statement – especially if you’re looking for a more relaxed, boho vibe.

Play with texture

womens layering with texture
@vanja_wikstrom shows us how to play with the texture of an outfit

Your layered outfit should look like everything that’s been paired up is intended to work that way. The fabrics you use should look different to add depth and texture. Follow the rules of keeping thinner layers of clothing as your base and then building up from there, the opportunity you have to play with texture then opens up. A merino sweater with a faux fur gilet looks chic, yet cosy and can be super practical.


You could also work with a leather jacket when you want to add interesting textures to your layered look. Leather jackets will always add style to any outfit, so have fun. Keep the previous points in mind here, too. You can add texture to jewellery and other accessory options like scarves.


We hope our top tips for layering your outfit have made things clearer. Remember to keep the thinner layers closer to your skin and build from there. Not only will you be prepared for all sorts of weather but your newly discovered layered style will also ensure you turn heads for the right reasons.

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