How To: Ace the art of layering

Humour me for a second.

If I gave you and 3 friends the same delicious cake to take home and decorate for my imaginary cake shop, how would I know which one was yours?

What things would you add to your cake to help give it the kind of personality and flair that only you can?

The concept of layering an outfit is very similar in that you are adding other elements; garments and accessories to your basic foundation pieces (pants and top) to help build a better outfit;

An outfit that expresses your personality more than a top and pants alone ever will.


There is a common misconception that layering is the act of piling on clothing; one piece after another for no good reason and this is inaccurate and a little strange!

Layering is about adding interest not bulk.

I get cold very easily and while a coat is a sensible option often it is just too heavy and impractical to wear throughout the day,

so instead I’ll pop a tunic over my top, add a lightweight waterfall cardi, a textural vest and a nice necklace or scarf to finish (see above).

The layers of this outfit work because they are light, interesting and each layer compliments the other while still being warm overall.


Here are my tips on how to successfully layer an outfit for winter:

1. Layer one are your foundation pieces; your basics like a top and pants/skirt or a dress.

2. Layer two is a lightweight piece.  This could be a tunic or waterfall cardigan (or both).

3.  Layer three is a heavier or textural piece, like a biker jacket,  shearling vest or similar.

4. Layer four are accessories for cohesion and interest, (i.e a scarf/necklace/bracelet/leggings/stockings/belt).

Handy hints:

  1. If you are new to layering begin slowly by adding just one item of layers 2 – 4

  2. As you get comfortable with layering, you’ll find it easier to add items

  3. It helps if the colour of each layer compliments the next and so on

  4. By all means add a print or pattern.  I find that if one layer has a print or pattern the others will tie in best if they are solid but complimentary colours

  5. Remember, layering is about adding interest not bulk


When we get dressed in the morning, we put on underwear, a top and a bottom garment, shoes and if we’re cold, a jacket and generally that is where the creativity stops.

Layering allows you to do all those things but in a more unique and personalised way!

Still not convinced, check out my video of how I put the above looks together here.

Happy layering friend!

Erena Te Paa Stylist

#howto #layering #winterclothing