How to Layer Clothes: A Guide for Modern Men

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life” – Oscar Wilde

But no matter how serious Wilde considered his tie and fashion, it is rare for men to accept that fashion is important for them. Only when they let go of their fragile egos, will men really make an effort to dress better. And we all hope that happens, don’t we?

Fashion and Men

While it may be true men were once ashamed to accept that they cared about how they looked and whether they were fashionable, men today definitely care. A research found that men today were more conscious about their fashion than women!


Looking at growth in online sales for several commodities, the graph clearly shows that men’s clothing is on the very top with a strong 17.4%. If this trend does not make you believe a change is coming, we don’t know what will.

But what we can tell you is that there no point putting up that careless front anymore. We all know you care, and you care hard. And now that we have come to accept it why not get to work on it?

Layering Clothes for Men

With that said, working on clothing begins from the very basics. From learning about the best underwear to get for yourself to find the best shirts and shoes for yourself. But you know what grossly gives away men’s inexperienced attempt at being fashionable?

The dirty shoes? Un-ironed clothes? The unmatched socks? Not really. The one thing that men all across the globe absolutely suck at is layering their clothes.

And when we say that, we do not mean that men are not buying the right jackets or coats to get their layering right. The statistics presented show that the revenue of the men’s coats and jackets market has continually been on the rise.


The predictions for the market for future years have been rising too. So, what is wrong with men? Why do they keep making those same old boring and horrible mistakes with their layering to make us cringe?

While we might not be able to grasp at what exactly is wrong with men (clearly there is more than we could imagine), we definitely can help them improve and we will:

  1. Understanding the Fabric

The biggest mistake that men make in their absurd layering choices is that men do not consider the fabrics. Why does it even matter what my tee shirt is made of if it is going to be under my jacket, right? Wrong! It makes all the difference in the world.


While the world of clothing is dominated by synthetics like polyester, it is the composition of cotton and wool that really set clothes apart. This composition is responsible for the warmth and the weight of your clothing.

This very weight is what dictates how your layering works. The general rule is to layer from light to heavy. So, your basic white cotton tee comes as the base layer because it is the lightest. Your denim shirt comes on top because it’s a little heavier. The padded jacket comes on top because it is the heaviest and the warmest.

If we talk about a similar rule, the color also dictates how you layer. Always go from the lightest color to the darkest.

No rocket science!

  1. Independent Control

Another huge mistake that men will make when layering their clothes is to layer with anything and everything they can get their eyes on. Not every basic shirt will work as your base layer. The idea is that every layer of your look is an article of clothing that you could independently wear on its own.

  1. Outer Long; Inner Short

Would you wear your shorts over a boxer that was longer than the shorts themselves? Absolutely not! You would find the right mypackage and fix it with a pair of shorts that is long enough to hide both.

Using that very approach, let’s talk about sweaters – one of the most common pieces of clothing for layers. Sweater sales around the world have risen continuously and will continue to rise and not just because they are warm.

Sweaters make up one of the classic articles of men’s clothing to layer clothes. But a sweater carries that air of primness about it. It requires that you execute a sweater look carefully, which means that you absolutely CANNOT have the inner shirt longer than the sweater. If you wear a dress shirt, make sure it is tucked in.

This comes from a long-held rule that the inner layer must be shorter than the outer layer. No matter what happens, don’t go against this rule.

  1. Alternating Through and Through

But people love to be quirky with how they layer their clothes. And honestly, there is nothing wrong with experimenting. In the end, it comes down to your new comfort level. But a sort of methodology to being quirky will never hurt you.

Patterned clothes – checks and lines – are one of the go-to quirky options for men. To really make it work, the rule of thumb is alternating. Going checkers entirely in your layers do not work.

What works is alternating between your options. So, when you wear a solid shirt, complement it with a patterned tie. Follow it up with a plain waistcoat and subsequently a patterned jacket and a solid pocket square.

The apparent contradiction seems to add up and make your layers work.

Final Word

Although these rules will always help you look fly on the go, we agree that sometimes rules just don’t work. Sometimes, breaking free is all that you can do and all that you should do. When those times come, never hold yourself back and try your own creativity.

After all, what is fashion if not an expression of one’s self?

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Evie Harrison
Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison
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