The Keys to Ease – Make Sure Every Layer Works On Its Own

One of the keys to looking good is feeling comfortable in your clothes. Of course you need to be wearing clothes that fit you, but that’s only half the battle. The other half is feeling at home in what you’re wearing.

If you are wearing multiple layers, like a shirt, sweater, and jacket, for instance, make sure that every layer works on its own. This means that your outfit (or more importantly, your confidence) shouldn’t fall apart if you remove any piece of it. This is something I learned the hard way.

Some years ago, I worked in marketing for a large, international, menswear company. I like getting dressed up to begin with so I was pleased that my role allowed for it. Most days in the office I opted for a suit and tie. That would have been all well and good, except for the fact that my colleagues kept the office temperature at a setting I can charitably describe as “tropical”. At one point, and this is true, the thermostat in the office read 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Have you ever seen that Twilight Zone episode where the Earth is getting progressively closer to the sun and everyone is losing their minds and melting to death? That’s how I felt.


Unfortunately for me, I felt uncomfortable removing my jacket or tie even as I was sweltering. I felt confident all trussed up in a proper suit, but removing any piece of it felt like I was removing a crucial piece of armor. The real issue was that I wasn’t confident enough on the whole. But I didn’t do myself any favors by not making sure each layer of my outfit worked on its own. I was primarily self-conscious of the fact that I wore suspenders and removing my jacket would reveal them. Regardless of the reason, I should have made sure that each layer stood alone and that I felt good about them.

Does that ever happen to you? You have a specific shirt, sweater, jacket combination that makes you feel great but then removing one piece is like taking away a bridge’s capstone.

What I should have done in my particular scenario was, instead of full suit with suspenders, simply worn chinos, and a light sport coat over an oxford shirt. I would have been able to doff the jacket once the temps starting climbing and roll up the sleeves of the OCBD all while looking perfectly put together.

This doesn’t just apply to too-warm-offices either. Out to dinner, hanging out with friends, family get togethers. As dads and husbands sometimes we even need to remove an outer layer because someone spilled juice on it. Or our wife is cold.

Sometimes we only feel good about wearing an item if it’s UNDER something else. We like the collar or the color but maybe the hem is too short or something. So it looks fine partially hidden, but on full display it just doesn’t work. That’s a piece you should donate.

Don’t layer your shitty oxford under your nice sweater. Layer your NICE oxford under your nice sweater.

And this works in reverse, too. Don’t muck up a nice outfit with sub-par outerwear.

Make sure everything you’re wearing is strong enough on its own merits to stand alone. That way you’ll feel great no matter how many layers you need to shed.

Just make sure you know when to stop.

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