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Rules: How to layer your outfit


Layering with contrasting colors and patterns is a great way to add dimension to your outfit and give you a visual edge to separate you from the others. Layering not only looks great it also works as good old-fashion climate control during seasonal changes. When done correctly, layering shows that you are a confident, self-relying man that needs no direction when putting an outfit together. However, it can also go hideously wrong.

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COLOR

When selecting colors to layer, you obviously want the colors to go well together but you don’t want to be too matchy. We love to inject a bit of color into everyday looks, however, when working with bold colors the additional layers should be subdued. Too many bright colored layers and you’ll ‘clown out’. Don’t clown out. Eat Skittles, don't look like them. 

Here are 3 approaches.

1. Color as the first layer:

It’s always easier to wear the loudest color closest to the body so the additional layers atop mute it down. 

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2. Color Sandwich

The second approach is the color sandwich (Color in the middle). For example, your shirt is a subtle color, your sweatshirt is bold, and the top layer is again more subdued. This adds just the right amount of color dimension but still balances your look.

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3. Color on top

Lastly, wearing a bold color on the outermost layer, like an orange MA-1 jacket or a Floral Printed Blazer (pictured below) can be a bold move. Best practice is to make sure the layers underneath are subtle and go seamlessly with the bold color. The top layer is also the piece you can easily remove to bring your outfit from loud to soft.  

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PATTERNS AND TEXTURES

Patterns paired with a single, solid color is the easiest to pull off, if the colors compliment each other. If you want to do pattern on pattern, make sure that those two patterns are different enough but don’t compete. For example, wearing a tonal dot shirt with a subtle floral jacket (see below).  Similar to layering colors, layering patterns is a power game; if one pattern is bold the other should be more subdued. Pairing two bold patterns can be a beautiful thing or a complete train wreck.


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To pull off layers you have to make sure the fit of each layer is balanced. You do not want to wear an oversized shirt under your fitted sweater, there is just nowhere for the shirt to go.


Dres Ladro, the Descendant of Thieves creative director, designs our clothing with the purpose of layering in mind. Ladro makes it easier to mix and match garments by designing every item with an intrinsic, second color trim detail— i.e. under the cuff, in the back yoke, or inside the bottom hem. This second color is an indicator as to what will pair best with the garment… a sort of cheat sheet.