The Ultimate Guide To Layering Clothes

Last updated on : September 03 2017

how to layer clothes

Colder weather raises a conflict between wanting to keep it sexy while staying warm and cozy. The logical fashionista way to combat the cold is by living and dying by layering your clothes.

In this guide we’ve taken a deeper look at your layering options, while getting you through the cold season in a modish and sensible way.

Why Layer

Layers are a convenient way of staying warm during the colder months. You stay warm outside, and can easily shed your outer clothes to get you to the right temperature when indoors. It's very convenient. 

Layering has the unique and one of a kind ability to expand your wardrobe. It gives you the option to wear summer and spring favorites all year round. Often summer and spring clothes add a much needed punch to drab winter colors.

Done properly, layering should not add bulk or weight to your look. If you are worried about adding clothes weight or being uncomfortable this guide is just for you and addresses your concerns while still inspiring your trendy fall style.

How to Base Layer Clothing

In late 2014 we saw a unique fashion trend of wearing long sleeved turtlenecks under shift dresses or pinafores. The look seemed to reintroduce under layers that were common in the mid 1920s. Since its reintroduction it has sort of stuck around for the long haul.

Use Thinner Fabrics

As you hone your layering skills remember that base layers should be with thinner fabrics to avoid bulking or disfiguring when worn.

Long sleeved shirts or blouses work well for layering under. Choose thin cotton sateen or polyester fabrics, chiffon, and silks. Resist knitted fabrics with ribbed or thick textured patterns.

Use Multiple Thin Layers

Multiple thin layers are a great way to keep warm and comfortable when the weather cools down. Consider using multiple body-conscious knits or thermals rather than bulking sweaters and thick turtlenecks.

The goal of layering is to use more than one layer and it is often much more achievable and doable when you depend on thinner fabrics to create the look.

Pair cozy and warm polyester all-over print leggings with a simple tank top, thin oversized cotton sweater, and wool neck scarf or simply go for tights and a midi skirt with the same top.

The thinner your layers the more layers you are able to comfortably add for texture and chic style.

Options for Outer Layers 

Coat vs. Cape

A winter coat is a wardrobe staple for many fashionistas. While it is important to have a well-fitting winter coat, wearing one everyday becomes overdone.

An alternative to the traditional winter coat is a modern cape. Capes have picked up in popularity because they are warm, cozy, and have a unique ability to make you appear more slim.

When a winter cape is paired with a sexy crop top or a statement bandage dress the look is not only trendy but very feminine.

Capes are designed to be versatile closet staples and simply drape around your shoulders. They are often secured at the middle of your neckline with a button, clip, drawstring, or brooch.

Whether you opt for a winter coat or a cape remember that your outer layer will be the very first thing people will see, so make a statement. A bright-colored coat or patterned winter cape adds a polish and style to an otherwise neutral ensemble.

coat and bandage dress

Amber makes a statement in this moto jacket and bandage dress combo. Shop all Bandage Dresses at The Kewl Shop

Knee-High Boots & Booties

Can you wear knee-high boots with a bandage dress or bodycon styled summer number? Absolutely.

Knee-high boots are a must-have layering piece because they are versatile, cozy, and scream “I’m warm”. With knee-high boots you introduce a level of sophistication and class without really having to do much more to pull your look together.

Cold-weather footwear such as knee-high boots or booties keep your feet warm while giving you a sexy style that makes your legs look like they go on forever. Add a pair of textured tights, belt, and scarf to pull of a look that is cozy and comfortable for those winter nights out with friends.

Choose a pencil heel for dates with your love and thicker heels if you plan on doing a bit of walking.


Sometimes when the cold hits we forget that dresses are still viable options to wear. If dresses make up more than half your wardrobe then by all means keep wearing them and don’t put them in the back of your closet - instead layer up.

If you add a coat, tights or leggings, and even well fitting pants under short summer dresses you get a look that is feminine, flattering, and stylishly dramatic.

Additionally you have the option of sweater dresses. Sweater dresses are great ideas for cooler weather and often work well with layering. Whether you choose a form-fitting sweater dress or a more relaxed fit style, pair it with knee-high boots and a fringe jacket.

Add light and breezy scarves, long necklaces, and bracelets. Always remember that the key to layering sweater dresses is that it includes every part of your outfit - clothes, jackets, shoes, and accessories.

Bandage Dresses

A bandage dress should never be relegated to your summer wardrobe. Each bandage dress you own can be worn year round. They are designed and constructed to be multi seasonal pieces.

A good-quality bandage dress is made of a heavier stretch material that keeps your body supported and warm. Pairing your dress with opaque tights, simple booties, and a leather or jean coat will give you an edgy look featuring simple and straightforward layers.

Layering your bandage dress is simple because of its flexible fabric and your options are almost limitless. Add a warm sweater and your dress converts to a sensible and stylish skirt. Pair with a smart shrug or faux fur jacket, and you are all set for a night out, date with friends, and more.

Read our article on how to style a bandage and bodycon dress. 

Leather is Your Ally

Leather is often a very controversial material but no one denies its ability to keep you warm. When you layer up with leather you easily achieve a look that balances sophistication with edge. The great thing is that leather not only comes in jackets but is found in skirts, pants, and in some cases tops.

It used to be that leather was reserved for rebels and biker chicks. Nowadays when you put on leather you are simply making a statement of confidence and feminine swag. It is edgy, stylish, and polished.

Throw on a pair of leather leggings, leather opera gloves, or a leather jacket under your cape or coat for added warmth.

mesh bandage dress and leather jacket

Calyi looks stunning in this mesh bandage dress and leather jacket.

Fur on the Fringes

Wearing a bulky faux fur coat may not be your preferred choice of trendy winter wear. However, you do not need to wear a full fur coat to soak in the warmth of the material. Stay stylish with a form-fitting coat that boasts a faux fur collar and cuffs.

Another good idea is to opt for a fur vest worn on top of your thin turtleneck or long sleeved knit. Choose a contrasting pattern or color to give your look more dimension. Fur on the fringes also means you can wear over your favorite crop top and pair with your boyfriend jeans.


Wearing leggings under your skirts, dresses, and shorts is one your easier go-to options. When it comes to layering up for winter, adding tights or leggings to your look keeps you warm and comfortable while giving it texture and style.

Don’t just opt for light or basic tights or leggings. Instead choose all-over prints that include everything from animal to florals. Leggings are a great way to add spice and color to any look.

Layering for the fall

Maxi Dresses

Maxi dresses offer a simple way to layer up because they are long dresses that cover you from shoulders to toes. Typically maxi dress styles are very fitted so layering under could prove to be a challenge. So opt for putting your layers on top for these instead.

If your dress is opaque easily add tights or play it safe by simply sticking with leggings. Add long oversized sweaters to this look along with snoods and statement jewelry.

The maxi dress is very versatile when it comes to layering because it is thin and fitted. Play around with various pieces in your closet to pull off a layered look that works and keeps you from feeling too bulky.

Remember To Accessorize 

The point of this guide is to encourage you to pull off layers without feeling stuffed or overdressed (literally). Remember that your layering does not stop at just your clothes and shoes it continues on throughout your entire body.

Hats & Beanies

Switch out your summery straw hat with a thicker felt one during the winters. Wider brimmed hats keep your ears warm, and keep you looking and feeling stylish.

Other viable options include your trusted beanie or even a fedora when you are going for a sleeker and more sophisticated look. Choose textured and vibrant colored hats and beanies for a trendy and satisfying look.


Bright printed scarves not only look great but keep your neck warm while adding a pop of color to your winter wardrobe. The trick is to wear neutral solid colors and let your scarf and accessories bring the color and drama to your look.

Luxury cashmere scarves are a great for dresses and jeans (and decidedly much warmer) but you also have the option of a snood (the big circle scarves) or a chunky scarf with tons of texture.


The truth is that adding layers is simple and when done well pulls off a chic look that is often seen in magazines and television because layers provide dramatic punches to style and offers you a sexy and stylish texture that is rarely achieved in warmer weather.

About The Kewl Shop

We're avid writers on the subjects of beauty, lifestyle and fashion and have years of experience in the industry. You'll find most of our articles right here on The Kewl Blog.

We also love everything chic and sexy and so are active retailers of the most sexiest dress of all, the bandage dress. These dresses are designed to show off your curves, they're figure hugging, tight and stretchy and will enhance your shape.

Shop Our Bandage & Bodycon Dresses Here!

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About the Author

Sasithon Bella is the kewl in The Kewl Shop. Co-founder, chief buyer, bandage dress guru and a lot more. If you like what you see at The Kewl Shop it is because of Sasithon Bella. You might know her better as Sasi.



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