Guide to Layering

Autumn Layering

By this time of year, if you haven’t done the old seasonal-wardrobe-switcheroo (whimsical summer dresses into storage, oversized sweaters out), then you’re clearly in denial. It’s not easy to admit that the summer, and its corresponding good times, are over – for a few months at least. But there’s one thing to buoy your sartorial spirits at this time of year: autumn layering.

Autumn is a time when you can get creative with your outfits through some skillful autumn layering. Below are a few tips for layering, plus my guide to the key pieces you need to layer like a pro. You’ll be surprised at how many outfit combos you can come up with by breaking it down and keeping a few simple rules in mind.

Keep layers thin

Where many go wrong with layering is with the bulk and bumpy silhouettes that can result from ill-thought-through attempts at layering.

That's where heat tech from Uniqlo, is your saviour. Heat tech is the genius collection of thermal under-wear (t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, singlets etc) that keeps you toasty but has no bulk to it whatsoever. With a strategically-worn heat tech piece, you can keep your other layers thin, meaning that there can be more layers to play with without bulking them up.

Balance proportions

Inspired layering / baked potato. It’s a fine line. To avoid slipping into the latter category you’ve got to balance the proportions. So if you’re layering heavily above your waist keep it simple downstairs. For example, if you layer a couple of tops with a blazer and your outerwear, keep it simple below with a pair of well-tailored trousers.

Mix up the textures

To keep your outfit interesting, mix up the textures in your outfit. This keeps the eye moving over your ensemble. Thin merino knits, silk shirts, wool blazers, cotton trench...

Stick to classic tailoring

You can’t go wrong when you’re working with quality basics. Layering clean lines will result in a sharp look. Once you’ve got it set up, then you can add the sauce - with your accessories and outwear.

If in doubt, go with the same colour family

If you’re not confident in your layering skills, stick with the same colour family (read my guide to tonal dressing here) or go monochrome. If you do this remember to keep the proportions right and play with different textures.


Belts are your best friend when it comes to cinching it all in and tying those layers together.  It’s worth investing in a few good belts to add interest and structure to your outfits.

Key Layering pieces

You will find you have most of the items listed below already in your wardrobe. Take them out, have a little trying-on session when no one’s around, by mixing different pieces within and between the categories below. Take selfies in the mirror of the combos that work for future inspo on mornings when its hard to put oneself together.


  • Roll neck tops in black, white and neutral tones
  • White cotton shirt
  • Silk shirt
  • Strappy or strapless top
  • Knitted vests
  • Slip dress
  • Floral dress


  • Tailored trousers
  • Jeans
  • Leather leggings
  • Midi and mini skirt
  • A-line or floaty skirt


  • Blazer
  • Light weight coat (trench)
  • Sleeveless coat/gilet
  • Tailored wool coat (always worth getting a slightly over-size so you can layer-up underneath)


  • Belts
  • Coloured tights
  • Scarves – silk neck scarves and long wool scarves
  • Necklaces
  • Shoes: ankle boots, knee-high boots, loafers, trainers, strappy heels over tights/socks (it can be done)

Six steps to a layered look:

The Coat
The blazer
The shirt
The turtle neck
The leather skirt
The boots

When I work with my clients on a wardrobe edit, one of the things I do is look at individual pieces and come up with new layering combinations to maximise the use they get from their clothes and so that they connect with pieces they might have become bored with over time. To find out more about a wardrobe edit click here, and to schedule a call with me click below.



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