Time to layer up for winter in style

As winter begins to bite, with dark night, frosts and maybe even snow, it’s time to wrap up and get the layers out.

Redhead woman with a black cap and a cup of tea on a white background. Close-up.I had a moment of revelation this Bonfire Night, the deeply satisfying feeling of being both warm and stylish at the same time. It is possible!

Believe me, I’ve endured many a November 5th waddling around like an overstuffed sleeping bag, unable to put my bobble hat on due to the fear of bending my arms and splitting a seam. It seemed compulsory to wear all my wardrobe at once.

But now I’ve come through the ‘layering’ tunnel, I have some seriously good tips to help you pile on the clothes while keeping your human form, sense of style and manoeuvrability.

Top tips:

  • Wear a soft touch shape vest as a cheeky base layer. M&S have great ones.
  • Keep layers fine. They trap more warmth and you can wear more of them. Light fabrics worn underneath with heavier fabrics on the top work well. Don’t try bulky and heavy together as this only makes you resemble the Michelin Man.
  • Try a thin denier pair of tights under your jeans if it’s Arctic conditions.

You’ll find three layers work best – here’s my guide:

Layer 1

Stick to what feels comfortable for you and your personal style. We don’t all have to go trend mad but sometimes a few little tweaks can make us feel a little more unique and well ‘with it’.

Start with any thin or long-sleeved base, patterned if you dare, and build from there by adding a T shirt, sweater or shirt over the top. Contrast layering adds interest.

Polo necks are big news again this season. They’re really versatile and can go under anything from long waistcoats/sleeveless cardigans to day dresses. Trying wearing one under ‘coatigans’ and dresses from the sleeveless to the shirt dress.

Layer 2

Add your outerwear. A good coat always makes a great statement or impression and it can deceive onlookers into thinking you’re trés chic instead of the real truth… you’re harbouring  ‘that’ moth eaten Bambi jumper underneath. Just don’t take it off.

This season try:

  • Military Style coats and capes
  • Lightly quilted jackets
  • Country style tweed blazers with high neck knits
  • Richly hued trench coats with vibrant scarves – animal print if you dare.

Layer 3

Accessorise darling. You can go to town with the colour and prints if you’ve kept the rest fairly neutral. Remember, these can tie in with your colour scheme or make happy contrasts.

Why not jazz up your outfit with boot or textured socks (long and ankle style with a heritage vibe texture e.g. aran or marl knit jumpers. Or if you’re a little savvier, why not make your own woollier versions by cutting sleeves off jumpers.

Add a plaid or patterned scarf over the top of your coat to draw eyes to your face and keep your neck warm, of course.

Give your winter coat a bit of seasonal style by adding a blingy brooch to the coat collar or wear a silky neckerchief underneath for a bit of Parisian chic.  If the collar and coat allows it, you could go for added trend brownie points and tie a Pussy bow under the collar with a long thin silky scarf.

Gloves can be fun, too and there are some lovelies out there, from leather to leopard in all sorts of colours. Marks & Spencer have a great colour palette in their leather gloves.

Hats are something that us girls can be a little shy with because they are a statement and not for the faint style hearted, but if you get it right they can look amazeballs.  Even a knitted hat can look fab. Just try some on.  Believe it or not, I have a felt flat cap of sorts (Italian made) which I adore… it’s quirky just like me.

A word about boots…

I know a lot of women have more shaped lower legs and struggle to get long boots that fit over their calves. Well fear not because there are knee boots out there that you can try in varying prices.

However, I would say that a good leather pair is worth investing in as they will last you a lot longer and you’ll get your cost per wear back in no time.

Boots don’t have to be long and certainly not over the knee for most of us (yes they are out there), so why not cash in on the ankle and shoe boot love this season and add a block heel to boost your strutting status.  They are so versatile and come in prints, plain or embellished, so go dress up a jean, skirt or dress and don’t forget your opaque tights.

Try to keep the hosiery in a similar colour to your boot or if you fancy a statement you could try a contrast with a patterned or textured version, just ensure its in keeping with the look.

If you’re a bit of a fashionista and colour confident you can contrast with coloured legs with these shorter boot styles, but ensure you don’t cut into valuable leg length and keep hems on or above the knee.  Ooh cosy legs ahoy.

So, it might be cold outside, but that’s just the excuse you need for some lovely layering and super stylish winterwear. Who needs sunshine?

Sara MARSDEN-SHREEVE

About Sara MARSDEN-SHREEVE

I’m an image consultant which means I get to help women look and feel great – it’s my dream job! I became tired of seeing so-called ‘perfection’ portrayed in the media, and it’s my aim to help women feel confident whatever their body shape. You can find out more about how I can help you by visiting my website.