How to dress in layers: tips for stay warm

Just in time for this year's polar vortex, these layering tips will help keep out the winter chill without sabotaging your style.

Dressing for winter is always tricky because you want to be warm enough to beat the cold, but not so warm that a 10-minute walk to the bus leaves you drenched in sweat. This is where layering comes into play.

First Layer

The most important rule of layering for cold weather is to start with the thinnest layer and work your way to the thickest. Think of the first layer as your base, and it should always be fitted to the body, like a snug-fitting, long-sleeved top, and, depending on how cold it is, maybe even leggings. A stretchy, sweat-wicking fabric is ideal, but silk works too. “The best way to stay warm is to wear something close to the body and for it be thin and comfortable, so you can layer and not feel like a stuffed sausage with your other layers on top,” says Susie Carlson, a Los Angeles-based stylist. “The layer touching your body is going to keep you the warmest and allow the rest of your outfit to fit better.”

Second Layer

Once you have the foundation, build the rest of your outfit for the day: If you’re looking for something casual, try a chunky sweater with jeans. If you’re headed to work and need something more professional, Carlson recommends a silk blouse with a wool blazer that you can take off if you get warm. You can skip the leggings and opt for tights instead, which can be worn under a dress, skirt, and even pants.

Third Layer

This layer will protect you from the weather surprises, rain, sleet, snow etc. This layer has to be made of polyester, wool or waterproof synthetic fabric. It is usually a little more loose, you can wear coats, jackets, cardigans, jackets, blazers and more. 

When it comes to accessories, a big wrap scarf is a must because it prevents heat from escaping from around your neck, it can be worn a million different ways, and it’s a great fashion piece. And be wary of weird accessories that may seem useful at first, like sleeves that hook over the thumbs, which could get in the way if you work with your hands. Jazz up your winter wardrobe with these layering tips.

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