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Three expert layering secrets

Three expert layering secrets

When the weather's this confounding, there's one styling trick that works for both your wardrobe and your body temperature – layers. They help you adapt to fluctuating temperatures of spring and showcase your styling chops. You're hopefully familiar with the basics (keep them lightweight; the further you get from skin, the bulkier the layers get) but there are some more advanced moves, too. Let our expert stylist Millie Rich reveal the insider secrets of wearing clothes on top of clothes.

Go tonal

What is it?: Wearing one colour head-to-toe, but mixing up your shades. That detail's important – if all the colours are too close, your outfit looks like a uniform.

How to do it: “Tonal dressing is about mixing up textures to layer alongside each other,” says Millie. “Whereas if you wear contrasting colours it can make you look more bulky, tonal outfits are a very failsafe way of dressing." It's also a great way to make different layers feel nice and cohesive, especially since you know nothing's going to clash. “It creates an illusion that you’re not wearing as many layers."

Expert tip: "Go for muted colours, like neutrals or blues, both of which can be a good way of testing out tonal dressing. If you’re new to this, I'd avoid bright colours.”

Seek out hidden liners

What it is?: From The Workers Club to Oliver Spencer, brands are increasingly offering a multi-function purpose in the form of removable liners in their jackets. It makes sense. After all, if you’re going to be investing in a piece of outerwear, it should work in every season, and in-between.

How to do it: “This is about wearing a layer and keeping warm without it being visible to other people,” says Millie. “It’s a lot less fussy if you can clip your liner into a jacket to give you extra warmth. You don’t have to worry about the hem of your shirt being longer than the jacket, or think whether your t-shirt needs to be tucked or untucked.”

Expert tip: If you don’t want to make too much of a statement, make sure the liner is a similar colour to your jacket. “Another plus is that it’s removable, so it makes the jacket more transitional for different seasons.”

Secret thermals

What is it? Normally, when we talk about layering, we mean putting more clothes on over the top. But there is another option – slip them underneath. “Wearing thermals is all about being able to keep warm and wearing your normal clothes without having to layer on top,” says Millie. “If you work in an office and you don’t like jumpers, then you can wear a subtle under-layer without having to bulk up.”

How to do it: Thermals aren't pretty, so keep them hidden. “There should be no peeking out of the sleeves or hems," says Millie. "It’s best to go with something in a similar shade to your skin tone, or else a similar colour to the item of clothing you’re wearing on top.”

Expert tip: “Avoid white. These aren’t your grandad’s white long johns.”


Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Millie Rich and Luke McDonald