How To Layer Your Clothing for Cooler Temperatures | the ReFab Diaries

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it's the time of year when we can’t help but notice that the temperature is dropping and the stores are full of cozy new garments to tempt us. But before you shop... I'm here to remind you that there's a LOT you can do with the clothes you already have to keep warm. 

How To Layer Your Clothing for Cooler Temperatures


So for starters (and definitely before you buy anything new), pull out the thicker stuff in your closet. Now take a look at it all together with things you may usually pack away. A thin but oversized summer top can be layered over a long-sleeved t-shirt and topped with a vest (or sleeveless cardigan) to create a whole new look. 

Similarly, a summer dress in darker colors can be used all winter when paired with the right base layers, great sweaters, scarves, hats, and coats. So let's get into some of the things to think about when your goal is to STAY WARM and look cute. 

Know your materials

Before you start restyling and layering based on how things look, it’s good to know what kinds of materials actually help you stay warm, and the best ways to layer them.

Thick and breathable material

One of the most important parts of knowing how to layer your clothing for cooler temperatures is also knowing how to use layering as a tool to stay warm AND dry. This is especially important if you're heading out to do something active. The right base layer (think Smartwool) will wick away sweat, while your top layers work to keep you toasty. Stay away from cotton as a base layer—it absorbs water and holds it against your skin.

Insulated material

As for an insulated outer layer, any kind of insulation-safe material will protect you against winter elements. But wool and silk are really the best natural fibers for the colder season, especially wool. It offers odor resistance and wicks away moisture while providing durability. 

So if you’re styling a summer dress for fall, for example, topping it with an insulated coat can do wonders for your style and warmth. Thinking you need something new? Before you empty your bank account on something branded "goose", remember that many thick and insulated jackets come stocked at local secondhand stores and thrift shops. And many wash well or are worth getting professionally cleaned. 

Understand layers

Now that we’ve covered the basic layering necessities, it’s also beneficial to know the kind of layering that suits the weather conditions. Whether it’s a cool breeze or freezing temperatures, there are plenty of options.

Base layer

To begin, the base layer is the first layer of clothing that rests against your skin. The kind of fabric you use for your base layer is essential, especially if you’re active. Choose materials like silk and wool, that work to wick away any excess moisture while keeping you comfortable. You can find them just about anywhere. You can, of course, always use the T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts you already own; just be sure your base layer is suited to the activity you have planned.

Mid layer

Your second layer, also known as the mid-layer, is about retaining warmth—in other words, preventing heat from escaping and trapping it close to your body to provide protection against ambient air. Some good fabrics for the mid-layer include down feathering, wool, and fleece. These are relatively easy to find and very affordable. If you happen to have any articles of clothing with fleece or down, use them to protect yourself against the oncoming cold.

Outer layer

Lastly, you have your outer layer, also known as the shell layer. Shell layers protect you against natural elements: rain, sleet, snow, and wind. With the layers underneath doing their tasks, your outer layer needs to provide breathability as well as waterproofing. Thankfully, you can find lots of good-quality jackets that will last a long time at your local thrift store. 

Add footwear and accessories

And finally... you definitely shouldn’t ignore your footwear and accessories. Hats, gloves, scarves, earmuffs, socks, boots—all are essential and can often provide the cuteness element you really want during a dull winter. Additionally, you want your feet to be insulated and to have enough grip in case of slick conditions.

Preparing to dress for cold weather can be actually be fun and it's a great opportunity to repurpose clothes you already have. So, look through your wardrobe and see what you can find. The old wool sweater may make a great new sleeveless vest that you can pair with stripey, long-sleeved t-shirt. 
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