November 22, 2013

The Dapper Man: Layered Looks

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Winter, along with the icy fear of finals, is upon us. This coming week will have our Ithaca temperatures barreling down to the 30s and high 20s, and we’ll be shivering in no time. One of the best sartorial decisions to make at this point is to layer your clothing. Layering is a fundamental style meant to preserve body heat as well as create an eclectic look. By and large, to survive in this climate whilst remaining fashionable requires some layering skill. To layer effectively, your clothes need to be categorized into, well, layers as detailed:

The Under Layer

This layer is the one that touches the skin. It includes your underwear, undershirt, socks and thermals. This is the base layer of clothing that is the closest to your body, and as such, it should never see the light of day. It is extremely important for absorbing sweat and keeping you comfortable. Invest in some soft, high-quality materials for the under layer. Your undershirt should be a basic white, black or gray. And most importantly, make sure it isn’t itchy, because when you have to itch through layers, it’s a nightmare.

The Middle Layer

One rule for this one: Try to always wear something with a collar. Collars are sharp, manly and can peek through sweaters and coats to generate a refined accent. Trust me, you probably have more collared shirts than you realize. Dress shirts, flannels, gingham shirts, polos and more all have collars. Once you have your collared shirt on, put a sweater, a pullover or a cardigan over it. BOOM, great preppy look, perfect for our Ivy League status. The combination of a collared shirt and a sweater-ish top is incredibly warm and impressive in almost every situation. As for your bottoms: jeans, chinos and slacks are all excellent choices. Just make sure it complements your upper half!

The Outer Layer

And as if the undershirt, collared shirt and sweater aren’t enough, the outer layer is for your heavy duty coats: peacoats, trench coats, leather coats, etc. When buying coats, keep in mind that they shouldn’t be skintight, as the layering will bulk up your body a bit. In general, for men, coats should be neutral colors: black, gray, tan or some slight variation of those. These coats are the final frontier, the first defense against the cruel world’s elements. They are also the main piece since it covers all the other layers. Make sure they make the statements you want to make.

The Auxiliary Layer

This one is for your hats, scarves, gloves and other cold-weather accessories that keep your extremities toasty. For these, you can go colorful and fluffy, just don’t go overboard. Also, a helpful tip: mittens are warmer than gloves. Another helpful tip: invest in something that will keep your ears warm; you won’t believe how cold they can get.

Ithaca is a place where wearing a T-shirt and a coat won’t cut it anymore. To survive, everyone has to pull out all the shots in their wardrobe arsenal. Layering with all the aforementioned tips is the way to amalgamate your closet into some snug outfits. Bundle up!