How to layer like a Canadian: 5 style rules
Don't tell a Canadian that layering is a trend. We invented layering. But the everything-at-once look is having more of a moment than ever this year.
Toronto-based stylist Truc Nguyen calls it an offshoot of the "seasonless" dressing trend, where clothes that were traditionally divided by season are now inbounds year round. "You'll see designers showing parkas on the spring runways and t-shirts on the fall runways," she says. "It's not as bifurcated as it used to be."
That doesn't mean you can wear shorts over your snow pants and tank tops as undershirts. But these five rules will help you build a layered look that will pack heat in the winter chill.
#1. Invest In Coats (Like, Plural)
Think of the coat as the canvas that will be the backdrop to your wardrobe all winter long. Nguyen says that at a minimum you need two distinct styles.
The biggest Canadian winter must is the down parka, for those casual situations when it's you versus the wind chill. While it's tempting to wear the down parka literally everywhere, Nguyen says you also need to also invest in a winter-ready wool coat in a versatile darker neutral such as navy, black or grey.
"It could go with a suit, it could go with a dressy shirt and a dark pair of jeans, and it elevates the outfit," she says. "There's nothing more awkward than when you see a man dressed in a beautiful suit for an evening out but then he's in a daytime parka. You wouldn't wear running shoes with your suit."
#2. Make Your First Layer The Lightest...
Your first layer should be the thinnest, allowing you to pile other pieces on top without creating too much bulk. Nguyen recommends Uniqlo's heattech turtleneck—a thin yet insulating fabric—as an option that's lightweight and warm.
"Turtlenecks are a big trend this season and there a lot of different weight options for turtlenecks," she says. "On top of it you could wear a lighter weight dress shirt that you wouldn't have been able to wear otherwise." Cashmere and merino wool turtlenecks are two other options that are deceptively thin for how warm they are.
UNIQLO HEATTECH Extra Warm Turtleneck, $29.90, UNIQLO.com
#3. …Then Go Big On Top
When it comes to coats, it seems like we're all suddenly XL. Credit the oversized outerwear created by designers such as the newly appointed Calvin Klein chief creative officer Raf Simons and Parisian design collective Vetements. The trend has extended to the statement bulky sweater, which Nguyen suggests layering with a puffy vest on days that are frost-thawingly temperate.
#4. Make It Look Intentional
Mix up the cuts of your layers so that you really showcase what's underneath. "You can have different necklines, different things poking out," Nguyen says. "That makes it seem like a fashion statement as opposed to okay, I don't have a really thick sweater so I'm going to put two thicker shirts together."
#5. Use Accessories To Add Personality
Up the cool factor on a conservative outfit with a unique accessory such as a fur-lined trapper hat or a printed scarf. "Plaid is always in and out and it's back in right now," Nguyen says. "So if you don't have any great plaids in your wardrobe, a scarf is a great way to add a little personality or pizzazz to whatever you're wearing without taking too much of a risk."