Living on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean means that discussing our inclement weather – and its ramifications on what we wear – is something of a national pastime. And this kind of chit-chat can be especially rife at the start of autumn when what can often feel like all four seasons are crammed into one single day. The result? Even the simple task of travelling from home to work can leave you feeling either too hot or too cold because you’ve failed to dress accordingly. What a to-do.
At this tricky seasonal juncture, learning how to master the art of layering your clothes, and thus successfully regulating your body temperature, is a worthwhile skill that we should all try to grasp. However, it’s not without its pitfalls because done incorrectly you’ll run the very real risk of looking like an oversized Russian doll; you’re wearing so many layers that nobody knows where the real you begins or ends.
Common sense dictates that you should start with the thinnest layer first (the one that sits next to your skin) and work outwards, so your choice of fabric is vital. A cotton t-shirt is the perfect starting point but you might also want to consider something a little more substantial such as a lambswool roll-neck worn under an open-necked shirt.
This season you’ll get bonus points if the shirt in question is actually a corduroy overshirt. Slightly thicker than a classic cotton shirt, it has the potential to be one of the hardest working shirts you’ll ever own and will sit snugly next to your base layer without adding too much bulk. As well as adding texture, if you contrast its shade with your chosen base layer, you’ve injected a welcome shot of colour into your outfit too.
Wearing a lightweight cardigan is more than acceptable and is a fitting way in which to get any of your summer tailoring cold-weather ready. When worn under your jacket as a third layer, you can leave your overcoat at home safe in the knowledge that you’ll be insulated against those crisp autumnal mornings. And again, by choosing a different but complementary colour, you’ll be adding in a bit of extra interest to your look.
The gilet – which is actually the French word for ‘vest’ and makes something so modest sound positively chic – is a piece of kit we should all have in our tran-seasonal arsenal. Whether you wear it under your coat or throw it over a shirt and tie, this no-brainer will kick your layering credentials up a notch. Not only are you layering for warmth, but you’re also doing it with style. If you wear it as your outer layer, pick one in a tech-packed fabric to help lock the warmth in.
If it’s not yet cold enough to start donning woollen hats, wearing a scarf is a simple but effective finishing touch for any man at the top of his layering game. It’s also worth remembering that all of the above workhouse staples can be worn in a myriad of different ways, either together or separately. And that, friends, is the art of layering.