How to layer: 11 Style Panel tricks for staying warm and stylish all season long
Layering is an art in and of itself. On frigid days, it can be a necessity for survival. On warmer days, it’ll help you go from day to night sans effort. Learning how to do it well can be tricky because simply put, the challenge in these days of the Great Canadian Winter, it seems to be more like “how to layer without looking like the Michelin Man” than anything else.
Luckily for us, many recent fashion collections have dealt some great tips. In Elizabeth and James’ Pre-Fall 2014 lookbook, a check shirtdress did double duty when worn open as a duster coat in one look and then layered underneath a pencil skirt in another. Helmut Lang, the patron saint of layering, lives up to its name, layering as many as four pieces in some Pre-Fall 2014 looks. On the fall runways, the coat trend made for some extra-interesting pairings. The key? A mixture of fabrics and textures achieve a cohesive and interesting look with depth.
Question 88: How do you layer to keep warm while still staying stylish? Read the answers now! »
Our Style Panel stepped up to the challenge of how to layer successfully and fashionably when dealing with the elements. The Style Mogul’s Christina Cravero made a variety of textures styles work together by keeping it all within the same colour palette. Over My Styled Body’s Lyndsey Forest and The August Diaries’ Jill Lansky, both show how to layer coats, a fashionable alternative to bulky parkas.
Read on to learn how to layer stylishly no matter what mother nature throws your way.
BECKY KUNG, CALGARY | CARA MCLEAY, VANCOUVER | CHRISTINA CRAVERO, TORONTO | JILL LANSKY, VANCOUVER | KIRA PARN, CALGARY | LYNDSEY FOREST, EDMONTON | MIKKI FOX, CALGARY | MELANIE MORAIS, EDSON | STEPHANIE KOCH, CALGARY | WHITNEY COSGRAVE, LOS ANGELES VIA VANCOUVER |KAYLA SHORT, HALIFAX
Lyndsey Forest, 23
Edmonton | Over My Styled Body
Layering is important for not only practical reasons, like keeping warm in 30 below weather, but also for making a statement! And with the amount of layering we do throughout the winter, it’s always fun to mix things up and try something new. So instead of throwing on piles of sweaters and scarves (been there done that), why not try layering up your coats!? The trick to making this look work is to try lighter weight jackets and have them at varying lengths. That way when it all comes together it looks like you have a brand new coat to add to your winter wardrobe! And who doesn’t love new looks for less?
Lyndsey is wearing: Leather jacket and denim, Zara. Trench coat, Winners. Top, Our World Boutique. Belt, J.Crew. Necklace, Obviously Chic. Shoes, Coach. Bag, Forever 21.
Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair
I love being cozy, but don’t love feeling overwhelmed by clothing in the winter. I also am such a big fan of light dresses, it is often where I start! It is amazing how warm you can be when you add a sweatshirt, leather jacket and scarf to the look!
Cara is wearing: Dress, Gypsy05. Sweatshirt, WeeShop. Jacket, Muubaa. Scarf, Old Navy. Bag, Prada. Boots, Anine Bing
Christina Cravero, 27
Toronto | The Style Mogul
With -20 temps here in Toronto, we’re packing on the layers to keep warm. My tips and tricks to layering are to wear semi fitted pieces, like a collared shirt and a sweater on top. Pairing it with a looser fitting topper will do the trick to help hide imperfections, and to create a slimming silhouette. And let’s not forget the accessories, like stylish gloves, a cute hat, statement necklace & a bright pop of colour on the lips!
Christina is wearing: Leopard topper and sweater, Ann Taylor. Denim shirt and hat, H&M. Necklace, Topshop. Gloves and purse, Danier. Shoes, Nine West. Sunglasses, Ray Ban.
Stephanie Koch, 27
Kelowna via Calgary | Inherited Jeans
At the risk of having a snowball thrown at me in disgust, the winter I the West hasn’t been anything close to what it is out East so I’ve been dressing in lighter layers these days. Still, keep it warm but streamlined by using materials that hold heat in slim cuts. Here I have a long sleeve cotton tee under my wool blend oxford button up. Then I doubled up a heavy fleece sweatshirt with a denim jacket and clipped on a fur collar. Leather pants are incredibly warm and water proof boots with heavy socks underneath add the final winter touch!
Stephanie is wearing: Scarf, Joe Fresh. Hoodie, shirt, and pants, Aritzia. Boots, Hunter. Jacket, Eluxe. Bag, 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target.
Jill Lansky, 26
Vancouver | The August Diaries
If there’s anything I’ve learned while living on the West Coast it’s that layering is a necessity. It can go from pouring rain to cloudy to sunny and actually hot in one day here and you need to dress accordingly. One tip I’ve recently picked up is pairing jackets and coats together. If the jacket is small enough, it will fit under the coat; otherwise you can drape it over your shoulders for a warm and editor-inspired look.
Jill is wearing: Coat, H&M. Blazer, Mango. T-shirt, Oak + Fort. Pants and hat, Aritzia. Boots, Aldo.
Kira Parn, 29
Edmonton | Northern Style Exposure
I LOVE to layer! In the winter months it can be a necessity but you can still have a little styling fun along the way. My winter laying trick… Mixing warm knits or flannel with a vest. I love to use a vest so that I don’t lose my whole look under my outerwear. Gone are the days when the only vests available were the giant puffer variety in the athletic department. So many companies put out slim cut fashion forward options at any price point. So they next time you are dying to show off that cute sweater you just bought, put a vest on it!
Kira is wearing: Vest, sweater, pants, and boots, J.Crew. Bag, Misoui. Necklace, Lulu Frost.
Mikki Fox, 30
Calgary | Centre Street Style
As a Canadian resident, I tend to view layering for the weather in the same light as using the alphabet for writing. Essential for our climate, and once you learn the basics you can create a wide assortment of ensembles. The key to layering in cold weather conditions is to choose thin pieces to reduce looking too bulky. My go-to layering look is pairing a collared shirt underneath a fabulous sweater, topped off with a scarf. Lately though, I’ve been playing around with unexpected choices, such as a classic turtleneck tucked under a collared shirt. Not only does layering your pieces look oh-so-chic, but it truly does keep that winter bite from taking over.
Whitney Cosgrave, 25
Los Angeles via Vancouver | See Shop Eat Do
“In LA there really isn’t much necessity to actually layer much clothing, but I love to layer or combine different colours, textures and prints to help break up an outfit and keep it interesting. Whenever I am at home in Canada or somewhere with cooler temps and I actually do need to layer, I make sure to accessorize so that it doesn’t like like I was just piling on clothes to stay warm (even if I was).”
Melanie Morais, 25
Edson, AB | BornLippy
When you live somewhere as cold as Alberta you tend to know a few thing or two about layering. I’ll be quite honest, I’m usually not a fan of layering since it can give my upper frame a bulky effect but I’ve learned some valuable tricks. My go-to layering tip is to find a great fitting white button up to dress up a more casual sweatshirt. I make sure the sweater is short enough that my blouse can peak through. I think it gives a more sophisticated yet effortless vibe, and it works on everyone!
Melanie is wearing: Coat, sweater, blouse, Gap. Jeans, Old Navy. Boots, Urban Outfitters. Sunglasses, Ray Ban.
Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino
I love, love, love layering in the winter season, mostly because its the best way to stay warm while adding extra dimension to our look.
My number one tip for taking your layers up an extra notch is while pairing your outfit together, ask yourself what more pieces can I add to my outfit without making it bulky or adding extra weight! Then before you know it, you’ll find yourself adding more and more pieces, to the point where you’re wearing a gazillion pieces, achieving a very successful multidimensional look such as this outfit combining plaid with a graphic sweater, military vest, knee-highs with a pink skirt!
Becky is wearing: Vest, Dynamite. Sweater, Old Navy. Plaid shirt, Winners by Nuco Clothing. Skirt, Express. Socks, H&M. Boots, Hunter.
Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents
If we have to wear all these clothes to stay warm (cue Polar vortex) we might as well make them look cute right? Since the weather changes like the wind the only way to actually prepare for the weather is to pile on the layers. I always say you can only regret wearing too little clothing because you can always peel off what you don’t need, but it’s hard to add what you don’t have. I love pairing playful blouses under knit sweaters, and on the off chance that it’s not minus a million a leather jacket and a big scarf is a great way to stay warm without all the added bulk.
Kayla is wearing: Faux Leather Jacket, Winners. Knit Scarf, Banana Republic. Sweater, Smart Set. Blouse, Dynamite. Skirt, Tommy Hilfiger. Tights, H&M. Boots, Vince Camuto. Bag, Forever 21