Layering clothing started during the second World War. Due to clothing having to be multi-purpose in a vast number of circumstances and temperatures it was essential to create numerous options. As far back as 1912, Charlotte Gibbs ventured that “several layers of light material are better than one layer of thick material”.
It is easier to move around wearing numerous layers of lightweight fabrics than one heavy one, it is also warmer and more versatile. Wind chill finds it far more difficult to penetrate an assortment of layers of different weaves than just the one thick garment.
So back to World War 2, when American and British troops embraced the T shirt, undershirt or less glamorous vest. It was a vital garment and the base to military dressing. Obviously after the war the habit transferred to civilian life and has been part of it ever since. In some ways it has been refined and glamorised but not dramatically changed.
For the female fashion market, to me, my most important base is a silk camisole in either black or white. Cool in summer and lovely and warm in winter – but always light as a feather. Over this I can wear a various number of garments – our Ruffle Neck Polo Neck Jumpers which are ideal to wear under a casual one-size Poncho.
Layering can be fun, particularly if you think outside the box and you will be surprised to see what actually works. Trial and error is the name of the game. The great thing about 'layering' is that you can put it all on and be nice and snuggly and take a layer off as you warm up - but to be comfortable you need to make sure it is not too bulky. You also want to try to maintain a slimline look.
If you want to glam things up then our French-style Knitted Jackets, inspired by the legendary Coco Chanel, are a perfect and colourful addition and can take you to any occasion – casual or formal. You can wear them just with a camisole underneath, but as soon as the weather cools the Ruffle Polo Neck sweaters are ideal as they come in a very fine knit, so are also very light to wear but lovely and warm because of the two garments worn together.
You can also wear our Ruffle Polo Neck sweaters underneath our collection of Anytime Dresses, making them ideal for summer or winter.
If you want to wear a sweater over a dress, skirt or jeans, in my opinion the sweater can be a Sloppy Joe style, my personal favourite, with either a camisole or polo neck sweater underneath, or you could go for a slimmer line style. There are no rules, just make sure that the look is comfortable and that if you are going to start taking layers off in public that you are happy with the look underneath too.
I've selected our best items for layering in our Seasonal Layering Collection.