Winter is well and truly upon us. Windy days, cold nights and rain. So how are you supposed to dress for a day in which temperatures can range from frostbite levels in the morning, to quite comfortable around midday, and again head back into freezing at night?

I was asked this question by a friend so here are my tips and tricks for how to layer your clothes for winter.

Layering

Layering I believe is a fine art, you either naturally get it or you have to practice. It is safe to say that I definitely didn’t get the whole layering thing that well when I started working – it took a long time for me to figure out exactly how much clothing I needed to wear. As a result there were many days in which I swung between freezing all day to completely overheating and sitting in my singlet at my desk. A fine art indeed!

Also in winter you have more liberty to play with additional textures, fabrics and colour. Winter is all about warming colours and fabrics such as colours based on precious gems such as rubies, emeralds, amethyst and sapphire.

Top tips for winter layering

Singlets – always start at your first layer

If you are someone who really feels the cold, invest in some nice, itch-free woolen singlets. I have seen some beautiful ones on offer at Icebreaker this winter – they are also nice and breathable so you shouldn’t overheat easily.

  • A nice alternative to wool is silk, which is becoming more and more affordable as places such as Farmers are now stocking silk singlets. If you also find silk to hard to maintain (such as me :-) ), I tend to stick with the classic cotton singlet instead.
  • My top tip for choosing a singlet is start with a thinner base layer, as it is easier to add more clothes than take them off in winter! This is especially important if it is your base layer which is causing you to overheat.

Shirts – keep to the basics

  • Keep your shirts clean, crisp and classic (this means they have to be ironed!). Whether you like wearing cotton shirts, silk or linen, ensure that they aren’t too thick. That way you can wear them when you have a hot day and they can be easily worn in an office with overzealous air conditioning (which makes you feel like you are in the tropics!).
  • Keep the colours of any shirt to the basic/neutral colours in your wardrobe, such as navy, white, cream and pale blue. This is because shirts form an ideal foundation garment for many many different outfits as they can be worn with pencil skirts, pants and jeans, while being teamed up with sweaters and jackets for the complete look.
  • If you work in a more casual or creative workplace there are many ways you can alter the classic shirt to work for you. Either by adding in a pattern such as a floral, spots or checks or beautiful winter coloured shirts. You can’t beat a shirt and sweater or jacket combination on a cold day!

Sweaters – this is one of the main reasons why I LOVE winter!

  • I really like wearing sweaters – whether it be casually over a pair of jeans and sneakers, to work over a pair of pants and ankle boots, or alternatively a pencil skirt and pumps. :-) I love sweaters!
  • Sweaters tend to be made out of wool or are a wool blend, which is what I tend to prefer. There are many different shapes, but it mainly comes down to the neckline. If in doubt get a V neckline sweater. Not only is it the most classic style but I feel it is the most versatile as it can be dressed up or worn casually.
  • When choosing the colour of a sweater neutral colours are the best. But if you are going to get a colour think about what pants or skirts you hope to wear it with. You want to get a colour which works well this these tonally so it prevents your body being cut in half – for example black skirt and white sweater! You always want to lengthen your body, giving the appearance that you are taller :-) this can be dramatically affected by how stark the colour contrast is!
    • Colour examples: Camel and Navy, Red and Charcoal Grey, Emerald and Charcoal Grey, Burgundy or Masala and Black, Navy and Black (Navy at the face :-) is far more forgiving!).

Long sleeved tops

  • I have many cotton long sleeves tops that are worn to death in the winter months, as they are the best option for me to wear under either a woolen cardigan, sweater or shift dress for extra warmth. I have them in a rainbow of colours as they can create the colour foundation for your outfits. :-) I tend to prefer quantity over quality for these! Keep some aside for work so that they remain less worn – that way they are suitable for work.

Watch out for Part 2 next week!