The Manliest Guide to Layering (Not for Wimps)

photo credit to Viktor Hanacek @ picjumbo

There are two types of people in the world: those that can handle the cold and those that can’t.

Fortunately, we live in a day and age of selection. Every day the options for people to keep themselves warm are growing: new materials, new trends and new indoor (heated) places to wear them.

Of course, there are a few classic rules that one can stick to– after all, your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents skillfully endured many winters. Get through your cold snap and still look fashionable with some help from this guide.


The fact of the matter is despite the fact that you’re cold, your body is going to be sweating under that coat, cashmere sweater and scarf. Did you know one sure way to get caught off-guard by hypothermia is by not containing your sweat? Well now you do.

Wool provides old-school protection, able to absorb 30% of its weight and still appear dry. Many undershirts and long-johns utilized wool to create the perfect base layer. A more modern approach is to purchase “wicking” attire. This synthetic blend is available in shirts, pants and socks and can be found in most stores that sell athletic attire. It is much less bulky than wool, and ultimately more effective.


Now that you’ve got your base layer down, it’s time to start piling on those familiar garments that you busted out for winter.

Now don’t go crazy and start throwing on every sweater you know. While staying warm is the most important part of your outfit, your fashion doesn’t have to suffer. A button-up under a thick sweater or a sweater vest is a classic look. A trusty scarf will trap in the heat at your neck. A hat will keep your head and ears warm. Don’t forget gloves for your hands and socks for your feet.

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Colorblock Stripe Crewneck Sweater from Perry Ellis


Here come the big coats and bulk of your outfit. If you’ve followed the steps above, you won’t need that extra heavy, triple-layered trench coat. Since moisture is also a factor on the surface and could seep into the rest of your outfit, make sure your outer shell is breathable and water-resistant. Heaven forbid you get soaked to the bone and your whole outfit becomes a death trap. Be mindful of the possibility of wind as well and make sure there aren’t too many opening or possibilities that any extra chills can sneak in.

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This Melton Covert Coat from Ben Sherman is a handsome topper to your winter outfit. 

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