The Layering Tricks That Will Help You Outsmart the Weather This Winter

If the thought of layering clothes gives you flashbacks to being told to dress for school with the requisite reminder, "Don't forget your coat," we promise you that piling it on has never felt better (or looked chicer). We've long associated experimental layering with the Olsen twins in the mid-noughties hiding from the paparazzi in mountains of bohemian fabrics and hefty coatigans. And a decade later, playful layering is still on the style agenda, especially when navigating weatherproof dressing in autumn.

To help, we've compiled key layering tricks that will help you get more wear out of your existing favourites over the next few months and help you decide what you need to invest in. If there's one major tip we can give you, it's this: You'll find that one of the most versatile, long-wearing purchases is a black roll-neck, along with a cosy, neutral knit and knee-high boots.

Below, you'll see classic layering techniques that minimalists always lean on and then more out-there combinations—such as clashing prints and double coats—for those who like to experiment more with their looks. We've also collated some of the best layered looks from the autumn/winter runways should you need further inspiration. 

Scroll below for outfit formulas to make you excited about adding those extra layers.

1. Try the Preppy Shoulder Trick


(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

Style Notes: Looping a colourful jumper around your shoulders is an old preppy styling trick you'll spot at any golf club, but it's also Alexa Chung's favourite way to layer up knitwear. 

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2. Use Leather to Add Extra Warmth


(Image credit: @chloepierreldn)

Style Notes: Use leather (or faux leather) separates to add extra warmth, whether that's with a shirt, trousers or a blazer.

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3. Add A Balaclava


(Image credit: @marisamartins)

Style Notes: Tricky to pull off? Maybe. Ideal for keeping your ears and head warm? Absolutely. Balaclavas are back once again this year, and we can't help but love them for the cosy-factor as well as how cool they look when worn by the likes of Marisa. We're sold. 

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4. Layer Up Knitwear


(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

Style Notes: One of our favourite layering tricks is to pile on as much knitwear as you can physically fit on your body. We love how Brittany Bathgate wears a knitted skirt, jumper and another jumper knotted around her shoulders. You could also wear a knitted trouser and sweater combo, or swap in a maxi scarf.

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5. Tuck Skinny Jeans Into Knee-High Boots


(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

Style Notes: One way to add an extra layer of warmth is to tuck your trousers or jeans into your leather knee-high boots. No cold ankles to worry about. Want to go a step further? Wear tights under your trousers!

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6. A Black Roll-Neck Will Work Under Almost Anything


(Image credit: @lindseyholland_)

Style Notes: A black roll-neck is a layering staple that you can wear under everything from dresses to shirts to cardigans. You should opt for cosy materials such as wool, cashmere or Heattech. 

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7. Wear a Knitted Vest


(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

Style Notes: One way to add layers to your look without feeling bulky is to wear a knitted vest or poncho over your shirts, dresses or other, thinner knits.

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8. Wear a Jacket Under Your Coat


(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

Style Notes: Ada Oguntodu shows how you can double up on coats and outerwear by layering a blazer under a raincoat. Chic, right?

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9. Layer a Cardigan Under a Wool Blazer


(Image credit: @lindseyholland_)

Style Notes: Sandwiching a cosy cardigan between your favourite top and wool blazer is a foolproof, stylish way to keep warm. 

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10. A Blanket Scarf Will Be Your Best Friend


(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

Style Notes: While you probably can't acceptably leave the house wearing a giant duvet around your shoulders, we've found the next best option: an oversized wrap scarf.

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11. Two Jumpers Are Better Than One


(Image credit: @shotfromthestreet)

Style Notes: When all else fails, try layering a thin jumper or sweatshirt underneath a bulkier one. When it comes to winter warmth, two jumpers are definitely better than one. 

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12. Invest in a Puffer


(Image credit: @nnennaechem)

Style Notes: We firmly believe a puffer coat is essential for winter, whether you opt for a playful printed style or keep it neutral. 

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13. Elevate Your Favourite Hoodie With a Structured Coat


(Image credit: @aida.bdji)

Style Notes: While your favourite hoodie might be reserved for trips to the gym or days spent on the couch, pairing it with a structured coat and jeans will elevate the look and keep you warm. 

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14. Try a Bra With a Blazer for After Dark


(Image credit: @hannahlewisstylist)

Style Notes: Not all layering needs to involve thick knitwear. Layering a slouchy blazer over a bra top creates a cool new combination you can wear out-out. Plus, it's surely warmer than just a little top on its own?!

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Next Up: These 7 Colours Are the Key to Looking Richer Than You Are This Winter

Opening image: @modedamour

This story was originally. published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Emma Spedding