Saturday, 4 February 2012

Basic ideas on layering for style or warmth

It's starting to snow outside so I thought there was no better time to do a post about layering clothes. :-) This was requested by a reader quite a while ago. This post covers very basic style ideas and not a little bit of common sense.

Wearing clothes in layers is useful for two reasons: a) you can stay toasty warm and b) you can look damn awesome. When I was a younger Goth it took me a long time to twig on to the fact that adding extra layers of detail to an outfit (even something as simple as a T-shirt over a striped long-sleeved top) can make all the difference between a casual, minimalistic outfit and a more complex, textured look. (You'd think it was fairly obvious, but I hadn't really a clue about fashion and make-up in my younger years and am still learning!)

  • When dressing for winter weather, we all know that the sensible thing to do is to pull on a thermal vest under our top (mine has a nice lacy trim that you can just see above V-necked tops; it's details like that that actually convinced me to wear a thermal layer in the first place, up until that point I had assumed they were all hideous contraptions in Spandex or something! >.< So shop around for a base layer that will keep you warm without looking daft, I don't know what I would have done without my thermals this winter...) and an extra pair of socks.
  • If you are into more Victorian or romantic styles (or don't want to give up pretty dresses even in the dead of winter), you might also find it useful to look for a silk chemise or slip as an insulating base layer to give you an extra layer of warmth. Try somewhere like Marks & Spencers.
  • Girls, if you have a fondness for longer-length tops and tunics, you can use a lace-trimmed petticoat or underskirt to make the item look like a dress.
  • Conversely, wearing a blouse over a dress gives your dress a new look.
  • Ripped jeans under dresses can also be a slightly grungy or punk-tinged look for cooler weather.
  • Lace bodies were all over the highstreet for a while - these are useful to add a layer of interest to a plain or casual outfit and relatively inexpensive to buy from stores like Primark.
  • A 'classic' Goth fashion tip for both sexes is to rip a hole in the crotch of some old tights and wear them on your arms as sleeves.
  • Other commonly-seen layers include stockings or over-the-knee socks over tights, fishnet gloves under a long-sleeved shirt, striped or lace tights worn under ripped jeans, ripped tights pulled over your boots, or just a mesh or fishnet shirt worn over or underneath a tank top or your favourite tee.
  • Historically-inclined outfits are the most obviously likely to include a lot of layers, from corset (worn on the outside, you harlot!) right down to petticoat and stockings (or waiscoat, shirt, and jacket for the gentlemen of course).
Johnny Slut (Specimen)
Layers. He has them.
  • Jackets, blazers, capes and shrugs - obvious but simple ways to layer up and keep warm.
  • As you have probably already gathered, tights, stockings, jeans and T-shirts are often ripped to allow the layers beneath to peek through. This is fine if your layers are for fashion alone, but if you're layering for warmth think twice before you start cutting holes in your new jeans. Fishnets are surprisingly insulating (I read in a fashion magazine that the holes trap heat, apparently) but I'm fairly sure this doesn't apply to everything with holes in; you may need more than a loose-knit jumper over your T-shirt to avoid pneumonia.

Sary at The Walrus Room also did a lovely and slightly more timely post about layers; she says, "The key is to try and mix and match textures while trying not to overwhelm the outfit." You can read her post (with some helpful advice about layering accessories) here.


punklace said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Been layering up for a while now, but needed some new ideas!

Anđela said...

Both posts were really helpful especially now when it's too cold to not layer up.

Amanda J said...

Thank you for this post! I think we all need ideas on how to stay warm while braving the elements. Some good suggestions. A little off-topic, but is it just in my town where girls are out in this kind of weather in short skirts and even bare legs?!? The madness...

Nightwind said...

Layering is handy and I agree, can lend to a somewhat different style. I have a leather trench coat that comes in handy during the cold of winter and I layer under that.

Still, I don't fare well in really cold weather and I feel that layering or otherwise wearing winter clothes can get burdensome after a while. For some reason my clothes seem to get hung up on one another and no matter who well they fit individually, they seem to start poking out awkwardly when I'm wearing too much.

I'm just glad that we've had an unbelievably mild winter where I live this year. I've been able to dress the way I prefer.

linnea-maria said...

Since I live in a extremely cold weather, its right now colder than minus 25 C. I put on sweaters, leg warmers, arm warmers, scarfs, home knitted wool socks, etc. over my usual dress and tights. That is how I dress indoors. Outdoors, well that's another story.

ultimategothguide said...

Whoa. o.O And there was me muttering darkly about a little bit of frost when I walked to work this morning.

Tenebris In Lux said...

I'm thankful for the mild winter that I've had so far, but this is always helpful.

By the way, I adore your new profile picture. Big hair for the win!

Lady Bethezda @ Bethezdas Preoccupations said...

Nice post. I feel much more dressed up when the weather turns cooler. You are exactly right when you say just the addition of a longer sleeved striped shirt under a short sleeved shirt takes an outfit to the next level.

Eurofighter said...

I've recently ran into a style that can be a nice winter alternative to goth in cold countries like this year's Ukraine.

It's a Japanese style known as "cult party kei", it involves lots of layers, old clothes, cozy knitted things and light makeup - I think it can be pulled off as an old doll image. And,of course, you can use black and warm knitted lace. Gonna try it tomorrow. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, Amy. I shall put clothes in layers when its really cold in the winter season or days that are extremely freezing and I'll try it out this week starting from Tuesday. Good idea and a very helpful tip for now and future use :)

ultimategothguide said...

Daniel - you're welcome! :-D

Eurofighter - I've been seeing a lot of cult party kei photos on Tumblr. It's definitely a very pretty style. I'd be interested to see your take on it. :-)

Eurofighter said...

I've started making jewelry under its influence, Ukrainian winter makes me run to fluffy, kawaii and pink+blue things, away fom classic goth until it gets warmer. =)) What is more, there's icy hell at university classrooms.
Tomorrow's gonna be a blue-and-black day... :)

Under_The_Stairs said...

Great post.Even down here in Texas it gets a little cold :)

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