Skip to main content

Layering clothes: 5 men’s fashion essentials to transition to cool-weather style

How to layer clothes with 5 essential pieces every man should have in his closet

Fall weather can change by the hour. You can head out for a morning jog bundled up. Then, you head to work in a sweater and slacks, only to wind up wishing you wore something lighter by the time lunch hour rolls around. At that point, it’s so warm you can eat outside. Head home from work as the sun sets (beautiful — but a bit depressing), and suddenly, you’re freezing.

Figuring out what to wear can be more complicated than your workday. Layering clothes can have you ready for everything Mother Nature throws your way. Certain pieces give you the freedom to wear them when needed and shed them when not. It can seem challenging — another item to match with your outfit. However, five classic pieces make layering outfits a cinch. Here’s how to layer clothes for cold weather.

a man in a crewneck sweater speaking with a woman in a blazer
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pullover crewneck sweater

Crewneck sweaters never seem to go out of style, making them a staple worth stocking up on for cooler months. Not only are they classic, but they also layer well over T-shirts, polos, and button-downs. You can also throw blazers or leather jackets over them, depending on what the occasion and weather call for.

Play with different styles and textures. Rib-knit cuffs allow you to roll up your sleeves and allow other layers, such as button-downs, to shine through, too. Or, opt for three-quarter sleeves for an even more layered effect. Cable knit crew necks ooze cozy vibes. It’s worth opting for one in several colors, so you can mix and match as you become a pro in how to layer clothes for cold weather.

Light, waterproof jacket

April has a reputation for being the rainy month, thanks to the old line, “April showers bring May flowers.” Fall isn’t immune to rain, though. It’s hurricane season, and even areas not typically in the eye of storms can catch remnants of them. A light, waterproof jacket is easy to layer during chilly mornings or evenings, rain or shine, and pairs perfectly with boots.

Opt for a classic yellow slicker to stand out. Tan,  black, or gray ones offer a more muted look. A longer trench coat looks more formal and will keep legs dry, while a shorter raincoat gives off more casual vibes and may make going from workout to work a breeze.

Cardigan blazer

You likely have plenty of blazers and cardigans. However, a hybrid of the two is worth trying on for size (and style). It’s what it sounds like — a sweater with lapels, a la a blazer. The piece adds a unique layer of style and presents a happy medium between the formality of a blazer and the cozy, casual feel of a cardigan. The cardigan blazer works with any under-layer, from a crisp button-down shirt to a light V-neck.

a man looking in the mirror with a vest and buttondown and tie
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Vest

Vests add a little extra warmth but won’t leave you sweating on a 60-but-breezy day. There are plenty of styles to choose from. Solid wool, cable knit, and argyle are work-wear classics. Pull them over collared button-downs and even ties for a timeless look.

Puffer vests are versatile outerwear pieces that you can use for layering clothes while commuting, running errands, and skiing. A red vest will have you standing out in the store or on the slopes. However, more subtle colors, like forest green, black, and navy, are available at major retailers, from Macy’s to Amazon.

Long-sleeved T-shirt

Like the crewneck sweater, a long-sleeved T-shirt is an essential piece for layering clothes, and you’ll want several for your rotation. They make for comfortable undershirts and can prevent a cable knit sweater from feeling itchy. However, you can also showcase them while looking effortlessly stylish when paired with a vest or underneath a cardigan blazer. Opt to have a variety of colors in your wardrobe, from bright greens and blues that pop to basics like white, black, and navy.

Knowing how to layer clothes for cold weather is a clutch skill during the fall months when Mother Nature’s plans are anyone’s guess (including your local meteorologist’s). Rain, sun, clouds, heat, cold, and even snow are all potential forecasts in certain parts of the country. Layering clothes doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Investing in key pieces like vests, long-sleeved T-shirts, and crewneck sweaters will give you the necessary building blocks. When layering clothes, playing with texture can add an element of style. A crisp button-down shirt with a cable knit sweater or sweater vest will have you looking timeless without boring. You can also freshen up looks by rolling the sleeves of your top layers at the cuff, which shows off the bottom one, too. Have fun with it, and opt for pieces and colors that suit you.

Editors' Recommendations

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on healthline.com and parents.com. In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
Dress in tailored style: The best men’s blazers
Walk out in style with these incredible blazers
Man in vest and blazer

Your wardrobe is an ever-changing animal. Whether it is changing through the seasons of the year or the seasons of your life, it is ever-evolving as time goes by. There are staples that the seasons offer which should always be in your closet regardless of how much you or the weather changes. Blazers are one of those staples. Whether you think you are someone who is always in a suit or someone who sees no need for one, a blazer is something you will unavoidably need. Of course, there is one aspect we need to get out of the way before we start listing out our favorite men's blazers.

Suit coat vs. blazer vs. sport coat
For the purposes of knowledge, we want to make sure you know and understand the differences between these three coats. Of course, in the fashion world, many brands and stylists use these three terms interchangeably. If you want to be a true sartorialist, you will want to know the difference. Even if this article focuses on all three under the banner of blazer.

Read more
The 9 best men’s winter boots for style and warmth
The best men's winter boots for every occasion
Man wearing boots on pavement

When the winter season hits, your feet take a beating. They can get cold. They can get wet. And that can ruin your day. Your best way to fight that is to pick up a great pair of cold-weather boots. These are some of the most important boots you will have in your closet, as they will be instrumental in getting you from the fall to the spring without causing you to catch a cold or having to buy a new pair of socks over and over. Of course, the best men's winter boots is a list that is subjective and overwhelming due to every brand claiming they have the warmest on the market. But we always do the legwork for you, and we have delivered again with our list of our favorites for you to check out.

How much should I spend on winter boots?
Of course, the price of the right pair of men's boots can be all over the map. You can grab an easy pair of boots on Amazon for less than $100. Sure, that is quick and easy, but you will likely be back by the end of the season or the beginning of the next season for a new pair as they likely wore out. You can also go the other direction and find a pair of designer winter boots that can run you upwards of $1,500 and up, and up, and up. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you are getting high quality. Your best bet is to focus on a quality brand you trust and spend between $200 and $1,000. Here are favorites following those parameters.

Read more
How to wear 1970s fashion if you aren’t Harry Styles
Thanks to Gucci and Harry, 1970s style is back — this is how to add it to your wardrobe
Harry Styles at the 2022 Venice Film Festival

Harry Styles may only model as a hobby when he isn't busy being one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, but he still managed to take over the 2022 Venice Film Festival with just two looks. The two Gucci ensembles, personally curated by Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, went so viral over Labor Day Weekend that they overshadowed everything else at the legendary film festival. Styles has been collaborating with Gucci for years, replacing Jared Leto as the unofficial face of the brand. While everything Gucci creates is heavily inspired by the 1970s, they have leaned into that decade especially hard recently when outfitting Styles for brand campaigns and public appearances.

'70s outfits for men are still a thing, and here's how to do it
While Gucci and Styles had the menswear community salivating, the looks they put together are admittedly too eccentric for even the most fashion-forward common man. However, that doesn't mean the rest of us mere mortals can't embrace the 1970s aesthetic. The decade provides some fun inspiration for anyone's wardrobe with big lapels, bigger pants, and the biggest swagger. So we put together this guide on how to wear 1970s fashion if you aren't Harry Styles.
The jacket
Jackets from the 1970s were all about wide lapels and bold shoulders while maintaining a form-fitting but not tight silhouette. The style offers a fresh alternative to the slim cut, soft-shouldered, narrow lapel look that dominated suiting in the 2010s. It is also a more refined look than the 1990s-inspired big, baggy suiting that has trended recently.

Read more