Your guide to stylish winter layering

Man coat jacket

Men’s layering for winter is not shovelling snow from your driveway. It’s about learning how to wear layers in winter to keep you warm, but most importantly, looking your best. 

The clothes we wear fit a purpose – protection. Where fashion comes into the picture is how our clothes make us look and feel. Our guide to stylish winter layering is about finding that perfect balance between form and function. 

We see layering up for winter as a genuine test of a man’s wardrobe–cotton tees, men’s knitwear, jackets, coats, and any other must-have winter accessories like beanies and scarves. It all comes together during winter.

If you think throwing on a winter jacket is enough to keep you warm and stylish during cold weather, you’ll definitely want to read up on our tips on layering clothes for winter from Rodd & Gunn. 

A proud Kiwi brand with a nearly 100-year obsession with quality, these guys are the masters of transeasonal layering with a timeless aesthetic that looks great year after year but lasts just as long.

Balance form and function – style and warmth – aesthetics and comfort – and all of the above with your guide to stylish winter layering–how to layer clothes for winter guys!

The 5 Winter Layers

  1. Underlayer – Cotton Tees, Polos & Men’s Shirts

Cotton is anything but a basic material. Capable of serving us throughout any season, whether it’s blistering hot or bone-chillingly cold, the humble cotton t-shirt is undeniably comfortable and a piece of wonderfully versatile fabric that is perfect for your base layers. 

Dubbed a miracle fabric, wearing cotton – crew neck or v-neck – offers breathability and absorbency when it gets warm and thermal insulation when the temperature drops by trapping the air between the fabric fibres, warming you up as you move with your body heat. 

Of course, t-shirts aren’t the only item of clothing made from cotton. There’s the classic polo shirt for that halfway point between casual and somewhat fancy. And, of course, the perennial favourite, a men’s button-up shirt. Acting as a pseudo-layer between 1 and 2, add an oxford shirt over your cotton tee for equal warmth, style and comfort.

  1. Bottom – Jeans, Men’s Pants & Chinos

When it comes to men’s layering for winter, choosing the right pair of pants is pretty simple.

So, rather than spend too much time on the bottom layer of our transeasonal winter outfit, we’ll quickly narrow down your options to denim jeans or chinos. 

A premium pair of denim jeans from Stridewise is one of the few must-have wardrobe essentials that are non-negotiable for men, especially during winter. Dressed up or dressed casually, denim jeans offer effortless style. Whether you wear classic blue or dark-wash denim, jeans are always a good bet for the bottom layer of your winter ensemble. And they get better with every wash!

As for our second option, Chinos are a touch more formal than a pair of jeans. Serving you from the office to the weekend, wearing men’s chinos combine the versatility of denim with sophistication to make these another flexible fashion option. 

  1. Middle – Knitwear, Jumpers & Sportswear

Humble men’s sweatshirts and knitwear jumpers are a must for your middle winter layer. Think of them like the connecting fibre between shirt and jacket. From lightweight cotton men’s knitwear for increased warmth without the bulk to mid-weight and heavier woollen sweaters, cashmere cardigans and merino wool jumpers, the mid layer is where we turn up the heat. 

Hoodies are another middle layering piece for the winter weather, even if they are a little more casual. Opt for some New Zealand sportswear instead for something a little less lax. The traditional rugby jersey is making a comeback, and it’s mighty warm too.

  1. Top – Coats, Jackets & Blazers

Depending on how cold it is, you’ll probably need a men’s jacket and a men’s coat; the outer layer is totally up to you. The combination of a form-fitting blazer and a quality winter jacket is a fashionable nod to your stylishness and practicality.  

The blazer is an elevation point for your transeasonal ensemble–relaxed elegance and immediate sophistication. In comparison, your jacket or coat offers necessary functionality like weatherproofing and extra pockets (when your hands inevitably get cold). It’s also a worthy investment to develop your winter fashion aesthetic.

  1. Extras – Scarves, Beanies, Gloves & a Belt

We started from the bottom now we’re here! With the three primary layers out of the way, let’s move on to men’s winter accessories like scarves and beanies. Essentially added warmth for the winter weather, the combination of both will protect your head, ears and neck from the chill. Add a pair of gloves and some woollen socks, and you’ll be the warmest, most stylish man layering up for winter. Oh, and maybe a nice leather belt to go with your pants.

Master Winter Fashion

All it takes is five layers to master men’s layering for winter. For those that prefer an abridged version, here’s the TL; DR.

Layer one, a classic cotton t-shirt and an oxford shirt, or a classic polo  

Layer two, denim jeans, pants or chinos

Layer three, men’s knitwear, jumper, cardigan, hoodie or jersey

Layer four, men’s jackets, blazers and winter coats

Layer five, a beanie, a scarf, gloves and a leather belt

It’s that simple. With the finest cotton, the softest wool, and the most luxurious linens, it’s why these garments remain a favourite for years to come. Get layering up for winter with these transeasonal wardrobe-essentials.