A noble ogre named Shrek once said “Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it. We both have layers.” Yes, he was referring to the many emotional layers of human beings (or ogres). But it also brings to mind a key winter styling tip: layering your winter coats as a fashion statement. It’s an opportunity to pile on textures and showcase your style – even and especially when you’re outside braving the bitter cold. For us maximalists, layering is in our style DNA. We’ve always been in the camp that more is more, and that philosophy applies to our outerwear as well. Balenciaga’s FW18 collection took layering to a farcical level: hoodies, windbreakers, anoraks, parkas, etc. were carried by models making their way down the runway. The Cut’s Emilia Petrarca gave the stunt a go on her Instagram. While these experiments in extreme layering tickle our imagination, they’re unrealistically chunky. But it got us out of mental hibernation to brainstorm how to actually layer all of our coats. It’s time to stop throwing your fall coats and jackets into storage and see them as just another layer in your 5-tier outerwear cake. See how we achieved the multi-layered winter coat look while making it very fashion.
Crop It Like It's Hot
Even when it's not! There’s a science to layering, one that hikers and mountaineers have perfected like their lives depend on it (in some cases they do). Every layer serves a distinct purpose. And the formula is: base layer (keeping the skin dry) + mid layer (warm and fuzzies) + shell layer (protection from the elements). We're giving this formula a not-so-technical-fabric take. Find that extra tough leather jacket to act as your shell layer. A longer wool coat serves as your mid-layer, and some extra dry cotton as your base layer. Cropped jackets may take a backseat in outerwear options once the weather turns frigid, but extend the length (and warmth) of them with a longer coat. The dimensional effect of layering doesn't only happen around the collar with multiple open coats – and by layering coats and jackets of varying lengths, you can play with the proportions in an unexpected way.
Pyer Moss coat; Proenza Schouler coat (underneath) and dress; Prabal Gurung Turtleneck; Ganni boots.
If your legs are extra sensitive to the cold, you’ll want to layer up on long johns, but also consider adding an extra-long coat. Stay in the same color family, but mix up the prints to ensure that everyone knows that you’re wearing two distinct coats. Don’t just stop there. Take something sporty and juxtapose that with something tailored and clean. You're ready for both the impending bomb cyclone and board meeting all in one day. This is a jacket combo you’ll want to fully sink into.
Left: Opening Ceremony coat, Tommy Hilfiger shirt; Assembly track pants; Tibi boots. Right: Woolrich x Griffin coat; Tommy Hilfiger boot.
Power Puff Girls
Puffers had a big, big moment this past year. And they’re still going strong. Eddie Bauer invented the first puffer jacket in the 1930s. Back then, the options for shades, textures, and lengths weren’t as vast as they are today (see: Artizia’s never-ending Super Puff collection). It’s been the jacket of choice every winter, because who doesn’t want to walk around engulfed by a cloud of warmth? Here, grunge meets the outdoors. These puffers are for those that love to take a hike (or chilly walk on the beach), but are also down to listen to Pearl Jam while doing it.
If Pearl Jam isn’t your jam, that’s okay. Be your own puffer-clad superhero this winter. Super powers include serving as a portable heat lamp for everyone around you and the ability to teleport somewhere hot and tropical while you wait for the subway in the cold. With this look, your coat is the star of the show. Ezra Miller wore this similar Moncler x Pierpaolo Piccioli Puffer Dress on the red carpet early November, and it sold out immediately online. It is otherworldly, and what our space princess dreams are made of.
Left: Rachel Antonoff Louie Quilted Robe, 428, available at Rachel Antonoff; The Arrivals Aero Scarf, $135, available at The Arrivals; Tibi boots. Right: Dauphinette Juliet Feathers Maxi Puffer, $570, available at Dauphinette; Gucci Printed Hood, $390, available at Net-A-Porter; Ganni Sneakers, $350, available at Ganni.
Comforters have the word "comfort" in them for a reason; parting with our comforter at home induces physical pain. No more sweet sorrows, however, thanks to the many comforter-like quilted coats on the market this fall. There's a science behind their warmth: The stitching pattern of quilted coats creates little pockets for stable clusters of insulation. This ensures that there are no areas of the jacket that cold air could potentially seep through.
Convinced yet? On the first try, layering your winter coats might leave you with a mess of jackets and coats on your closet floor. But once you find your formulas, you’ll be feeling like a happy, multi-layered onion in no time. Trust us (and Shrek).