Layering for Men | Alison Knox

Alison Knox is a personal stylist and contributor to the Weller Journal. See her last piece on Expert Tips for Easy Layering for Women.

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As much as we don’t like to admit it, what we wear (and how we wear it) matters very much. 

You are your own personal brand and you have a lot of power over the message you’re sending through how you present yourself.

Before we talk clothing, the absolute most important thing to note is that fit is everything.  No matter what you’re wearing, how much you paid for it, how on-trend it is, if it doesn’t fit you, it is not working for you.  You can immediately lose whatever look you’re going for when the individual pieces are sloppy and ill-fitting.  It is worth spending a bit more time finding the correct fit for your body or visiting a tailor to customize great articles of clothing to your exact size.  

Now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, let’s talk about layering!  Layering is simply mastering the art of combining your clothing in ways that are fully functional (easy to move, keeps you warm, is comfortable) and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  By adding even one additional piece to your outfit, it can help to elevate your entire look and keep it interesting and stylish.  And if practicality is your jam, with multiple pieces layered together, you can easily be ready to adjust your look for whatever the weather brings, which is always a good thing in Portland.  In order to help make it more accessible, I wanted to share a few ideas that I’ve found helpful with my male clients and friends.  These can help you see your closet in new ways but also assist in identifying where you may need to strategically shop for pieces to enhance versatility. 

1. Make sure every layer works. Each piece should work as a stand-alone item of clothing.

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You should be able to comfortably remove the outer layers and still have a complete outfit. 

This may be the hardest part of layering as it requires making sure each separate piece looks as good on it’s own as well as combined with other pieces.  Another great rule of thumb, and to avoid looking like the Michelin man, is to always layer thin to thick and light to heavy.  When you invest and focus on a strong base layer, building the rest of the look is a lot easier. 

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Here are some solid options for quality basics that will make mixing and matching your clothes a cinch: 

Everlane, Steven Alan , Unionmade, Uniqlo, Cos.

2. Mix the unexpected.

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  Currently in men’s fashion there is a blurring of the line between casual and formal.  Next level style includes incorporating pieces from different sections of your closet for a whole new combination.  Dress down a blazer by layering it over a hooded sweater or pair a button down shirt underneath a hoodie.  This can help you get more wear out of items you deem ‘dressy’ or ‘casual’ and actually make them work for you. 

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3. Make Subtle Statements.

Let’s talk about socks for a second.  Gone are the days of the white tube sock multi-pack from Costco.

Socks are a necessary layer for warmth and comfort but can also be a great opportunity to show a pop of fun and personality. 

Especially if the rest of your outfit is fairly neutral and streamlined, have a little fun with your socks!  Here are a few of my favorites sock options for dudes:  StanceJ Crew Camp Socks, J Crew Collab, Bombas.

4. Double up.

This refers to both color and type of clothing.   Why stop with a simple button-down shirt when you can layer another collar on top with a thicker shirt-jacket?  Also, monochromatic looks are a great way to take your look to a whole ‘nother level. 

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Combining multiple pieces in the same shade of navy, black or gray, or any neutral color, can effortlessly exude expert style. This is also an opportunity to experiment with mixing different fabrics and textures within the same color family.  Have fun with it!  

5. Accessories aren’t just for girls. 

A great way to add a bit of polish, personality and bring a look to completion is through the extras.  These are items like a great watch, cool glasses, leather belt, 5-panel hat, cuff bracelet, knit beanie etc. 

Choose items that feel like ‘you’ and they can be the last thing you throw on to make any outfit feel custom to your individual vibe.

Great style can require a bit of risk-taking.  My hope is that these ideas can create a bit of framework to work within as you take a closer look at the clothes in your closet and consider where to thoughtfully invest.

As always, all my Weller friends receive a free consultation with me!  Want to learn more about how I help my clients save time, energy and money and step out with confidence and ease every day?  Let’s talk!

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