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A quick check of my weather app tells me that it’s about 10 degrees warmer here right now that it is in Melbourne but that we started the day on the same temperature. That’s the crazy thing about this big land we live in, winter can look very different from one city or town to another.
Where I live, it’s not uncommon to have a 20-degree temperature range from morning to midday. We can start out in low, single digits and reach low 20s within a few hours. It’s all very well and good to have that lovely sun and warmth in the middle of the day but it can wreak havoc with your wardrobe and outfit planning.
To survive a BRinter (Brisbane winter), you need to learn to layer like a boss because you know you’ll be de-layering and re-layering in an eight-hour period. Even if you don’t live in a similar climate to me, layering skills are key to dressing in winter. You might need more layers but if going inside to a heated office or home, there will be some de-layering action required.
In this post, I’m sharing my top layering skills for winter as well as shining the spotlight on ONE GARMENT that is key to my successful layering throughout the season.
7 tips for how to layer your clothes like a boss
1. Your base pieces need to look ok without anything layered on top of them. This is my number one tip as it’s where I can often be let down if it warms up and I haven’t considered how my base pieces (eg jeans and tee or long-sleeve tee) look when the layers are off. Does the t-shirt sit well and look smart enough without any icing on top? Nail the base and you’ll never be afraid to de-layer.
2. Make your layers light in weight. If you live somewhere cold this doesn’t mean sacrificing warmth. It means utilising layers that don’t require bulk to keep you warm. Think cotton blends, technical blends, cashmere and merino wool. Even a jacket can have warmth without the bulk.
3. Wear thermal pieces as undergarments. Hands up if your mum made you wear a spencer back in the day. Yes, me too. They were scratchy and made me feel like a nana. Not so, the spencers of today. You’ll find the fabric is super thin and won’t add bulk but works to keep you warm.
4. Keep thick knits, coats or jackets as the very outer layer. If you look at each of your winter outfits and make only one piece on the thick side, then your outfit will be balanced out. You won’t feel like the layers have made you look and feel bulky. A heavy coat will not appear bulky if worn back with streamlined, lightweight knit or technical fabric layers. If you work in a corporate office then the coat will be key because once you’re at the office, it will be warm, so underneath will be similar to what you wear all year round. A chunky knit will appear balanced in an outfit when worn with skinny jeans or leggings.
5. Swap out leggings for ponte pants. If you’re wearing an outfit that includes a tunic-style dress or top, opt for a thicker pant in ponte. They’re still the streamlined shape of a legging but with more warmth. If it’s super cold, add heat-retaining leggings or tights underneath the ponte pants.
6. Concentrate on covering and keeping your extremities warm. My dodgy thyroid lets me know the minute the weather has changed, and my hands and feet are perpetually cold for the duration of winter. Keeping feet encased in wool or heat-retaining socks and boots helps; as does keeping a pair of gloves in the pockets of my coat or in the car for early mornings. Hats, beanies and scarves work to keep heat from escaping around the neck and head. All of these extremity layers can make great fashion statements so embrace not just for the practicality.
7. Embrace the cape or wrap. My favourite outerwear pieces are the ones that essentially give you permission to leave the house wearing a blanket. The rise of the poncho, cape, wrap or shrug in all manner of fabrications has been an absolute win for those of us who aspire to “couch chic”. Underneath you wear any level of layers you might need for warmth. It could be just be a short-sleeved t-shirt and jeans if you live where it’s mild. Add on the blanket/cape layer and you immediately have a layered/put-together look that keeps you warm but also looks the business because of the addition of winter textures. You can also add a coat over the top if required for warmth.
It’s the poncho/wrap cape that is the one garment I can say helps me successfully layer and de-layer throughout a winter’s day. How to wear a poncho is totally up to you. I have quite a few in my collection but this one below caught my attention because it’s a timeless classic that will work in your wardrobe for years to come.
Before I show you two other ways I’ve styled this poncho, let me talk you through it. It’s actually a wrap-style garment, which is AWESOME for versatility and for very much allowing you to leave the house in style, even though you’re technically wrapping yourself in a blanket. Yes, “blanket chic” is a thing. HAH.
It’s a woolly fabric but not made from wool – so great for those of us who find some wools a little scratchy on our skin. What sets this one apart and takes this piece next level is its leatherette trim and tassels. It’s designed in a shape that easily falls over your shoulders and I found that the fabric didn’t easily slip off the shoulder either. It’s 100cm wide from top of shoulder to hem at longest point; 65cm to shortest point
The lightweight fabric provides warmth without bulk for a mild day or when indoors, making this a great travelling piece and one that I can fold up in my tote bag during the day when it warms up. Best of all you can pop it in the washing machine in a garment bag. Easy care is key.
How to wear a poncho – three different ways
I’m a bit of a cracked record on mindful shopping, I know, but if most pieces in your wardrobe can work dressed-up or dressed down, then you have a wardrobe that’s really working for you. I’ve put together casual, work and evening options below to show you just how versatile this poncho/wrap is.
This is my weekend winter uniform – comfortable pants or jeans + long-sleeve casual top + wrap poncho – for watching my son play sport, heading out to brunch or hanging at home. It’s also an outfit I’d wear on a plane. I’m wearing layers for interest but also layers that will look very ok if I have to take off the top piece as it warms up.
I work from home but often head out for meetings, so that’s when things get a little more professional. Whether that meeting’s in a coffee shop or a boardroom, having a wrap like this one on hand as part of my outfit, means I’ll not be caught out feeling cold.
Heads up: the shape of the skirt is similar to the scuba skirt I wore a lot last year. It’s so, so flattering on.
Layering a frock for evening occasions or nights out can be tricky. You don’t want to take away from the hero piece – the frock – but you do want to keep warm while at the venue. To and from the venue you might need a coat, depending on where you are, but while at the venue, this wrap will work a treat if the heating is on the cool side and not meeting your PCLs (personal comfort levels).
Get excited. Motto has 5 x York Woolly ponchos to give away to five Styling You readers. Follow the steps below to enter.
- Head over to Motto HERE. Fill in the form (new subscribers get a $20 voucher; existing members get 10% off).
- Once filled in, you’ll be directed back here to answer this question in the comments below: How would you wear this poncho this winter?
Entries open on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 5am (AEST) and close on Friday, June 1 at 5pm (AEST). Australian entries only, sorry. The five winners of the “answer the question” competition will be judged on originality and creativity. Both steps of the competition need to be fulfilled to be judged a winner. The winner will be emailed and their name will be published here. Entrants must include an email address when the filling in the commenting system below to be eligible to enter. Full terms and conditions here.
This photoshoot was shot on location at Montrachet, Brisbane (do yourself a favour and experience a little Parisian chic, whether you’re dining in or picking up a baguette from the bakery). Photography: The Photo Pitch; Hair and Makeup: Dale Dorning/Arc Creative