All Your Base Layers are Belong to us.
When layering most people focus on the middle and outermost layers. This makes sense as these are the layers that get the most attention and the ones that take up the most visual space.
However, this approach is problematic because layering is, at its heart, a practical exercise. You start with a base layer and add additional elements to adapt to transitional weather or to activities of varying formalities.
People love to point out that not wearing socks but wearing lots of top layers is silly, the reason it’s so ludicrous is that instead of pairing a fall base with fall layers you’re mashing a bunch of winter layers over a summer base, summer + winter doesn’t equal fall. You need to start with an autumnal base.
My base layer here is heavy chinos and a blue OCBD with a web belt. Informally with a denim jacket and suede ranger boots for running errands and slightly more dressed up with a tweed jacket and tassel loafers for grad school. You could even wear a repp tie and longwings and head to a high power WASP meeting.
As it gets colder you can add more layers easily to a solid base. Any color sweater could go under either the denim or tweed jackets, as could a scarf, down vest, top coat, etc… As you complicate your base you make it harder to add and subtract as temps and activities change.
So focus on your base when you’re layering, it’ll make everything else easier. Layering isn’t “fun times adding stuff to more stuff!” (ed. note: even for maximalists). You’re building a look that can adapt to shifting conditions on a practical basis. Make sure that you have a strong base to build on.
Jacket: Calvin Klein - Gifted (more or less)
Shirt: Vtg. Van Heusen “Profiles” $2.50
Belt: No Brand $1
Boots: Eastland Made in Maine - Thrift Gift, orig. $15
Tweed Jacket: (1/3 Suit) - $10
Loafers: Cole Haan (Made in Italy) $6