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Layering is one of those things that some people know how to do intuitively while others struggle with how to do it in a way that's flattering, appealing, and will turn people's heads on the street. There are a few rules you can follow to tighten up your layering game for the cool seasons:

Colour

The rules with layering are, generally, either monochrome with a single colour accent, or differentiate everything. The classic "layered" look is a three piece suit: pants, jacket, tie, and vest are all the same colour, while the shirt is in a contrast colour. You can apply this to casual style as well; we've seen plenty of denim-on-denim-on-flannel looks that knock it out of the park.

The other option, of course, is to differentiate. Choose colours that complement each other (remember your colour wheel from grade school art class?) - this becomes more complex when you're layering because you have so many pieces to co-ordinate. Classic combinations are blue and red, denim and tan, or black and white.

Ellen Page

Ellen Page (above) combines classic light blue denim and tan plus shades of black/grey/white for an effortless colour-combination layer. Trent or Eleven would be good candidates for this outfit.

One quick cheat you can use if you're wearing a plaid is to pull secondary, tertiary, and even quaternary colours from the plaid design for the other pieces in your outfit.

Take the Sunset plaid flannel, for example: the primary colour in this shirt is a medium cornflower blue, so it'll pair well with tones of that colour (light or dark wash denims). There's also an orange-red and a white, and where the white and red intersect you get a lovely warm orange colour. You can pull any of these colours to create an outfit with the Sunset. A white tee shirt or henley underneath an open Sunset with a light wash denim jacket and dark wash indigo jeans would be a perfect outfit. Bring in the orange with a pair of tan shoes, or choose your favourite white kicks, to finish it off.

Light wash denim jacket, off white henley, Sunset plaid

Below, Brianne Welch styles this black and white PDL Alpha shirt with grey, black, and tan. Combining neutrals keeps your colour palette from going wild, but note how Brianne has played with dark/light in her colour scheme.

Brianne Welch - Instagram

Patterns

We carry a lot of patterned and printed shirts, from florals to geometrics. Depending on how bold the pattern is, these can (and oftentimes should!) be the statement piece in your outfit. When you're layering, you'll want to avoid contrasting or conflicting pieces that will confuse the overall impression of your look*. Dress your patterns by pulling complementary colours from the design and showcase them with layers on top or beneath.

*Does not apply to advanced pattern-wearers... print-loving sartorialists, you do you.

ThePapiFemme

ThePapiFemme (above) pairs a bright, bold floral shirt with denim-on-denim for a look that can be dressed up or down, but is bold and makes a statement. Allow your patterned shirt to be your statement piece.

The Heartthrob and the Vixen (above) wears a denim button-up open over a lightly patterned tee shirt - in this case, stripes - to increase visual interest.

Your Body Shape

Something that PDL Alpha shirts do extraordinarily well is produce a masculine-detailed shirt that accommodates breasts and hips. Our box pleat provides room for your body to move without disrupting the menswear shape of the shirt. This is true for your shirts whether worn open or closed, underneath a sweater or over a tee shirt. That said, our bodies come in infinite different shapes and varieties.

There is no right or wrong way to layer for your body shape. However, if there are some parts of you you'd prefer to emphasize over others, you can use layering to achieve this.

To Tuck or Not To Tuck

The choice of tucking one's shirt into one's pants - or short or skirt - depends on a variety of factors, including your style, the individual garments themselves, and what you're comfortable with. However, here are a few guidelines some people choose to use.

If you're long-waisted - that is, if you have a long torso and want to make your legs look longer and body look shorter - you can tuck your shirt in to achieve this. It draws the line upward. You can maximize this effect by wearing a higher-waisted trouser. Want to tuck but you don't like how it emphasizes the width of your hips? Tuck your bottom layer and wear an open top layer that falls past your hips over that.

Likewise, if you're short-waisted and want to make your body look longer, untuck. Drop the waist by allowing the seam between your top and bottom garments to draw the eye lower.

The combination of high-waisted pants and a tucked in button-up shirt gives the illusion of longer legs, while the longer open jacket creates a straight silhouette.

 

The French Tuck

Popularized by Tan France from Queer Eye (Netflix, 2018) - and we're not clear on whether he named this trick after himself or not - the French Tuck is a key cheat code for de-emphasizing that roll of belly fat over your pants that some call a "muffin top". It's easy: you tuck the shirt in casually in the front, but let it hang in the back. 

Not only does this de-emphasize the belly by creating texture at the waistband, it will also bring the waist up for those of us with longer torsos without being a full formal tuck. This trick works especially well when layering an open shirt or jacket over your undershirt. For an effective French tuck, use a thinner fabric when tucking.

Crop Jackets

It's now become totally acceptable to have your longer shirt hang down in back underneath a shorter jacket - but only if it looks intentional. If your shirt is just an inch or two longer than your jacket this trick can look messy.

A short, cropped leather or denim jacket is the perfect top layer for this look. Pick a shirt in complementary but contrasting colours to wear underneath it - black leather over red and grey is a great combination, or blue denim over green and tan, for example. Your Alpha shirt can be worn open over a tee shirt (short or long sleeved) that complements both the shirt and the jacket.

 


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