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Coat Layering 101: How to Bundle Up without Bulking Up

(Or, How to Win at Winter)
Photo: Imaxtree 

Photo: Imaxtree 

Listen, we all intrinsically know how to layer. You put something on, and then you put on another thing, and then you basically keep going until you end up feeling a semblance of warmth. But why stop at base layers and chunky knits when it's possible to layer your warmest pieces: Your outerwear.

But before you try to shove three coats over a T-shirt in a misguided attempt to avoid frostbite, know this: Coat layering is a different beast. One wrong move and you end up looking more Ralphie's little brother in A Christmas Story than I-just-threw-these-on-and-now-I'm-the picture-of-warmth-chic. Not exactly what you're going for.

Instead, the trick to looking purposefully warm rather than stiff (read: like this, this, or this) is be sure your inner coat is slim enough to comfortably fit underneath something bulkier. The easiest way to eyeball it is to check the shoulders and sleeve volume — a more feminine-cut silhouette with a proper shoulder will always lay flatter underneath something more relaxed or draped. But that's not to say you can't layer something shorter, like a cropped puffer, over something a bit longer, like a thigh-length blazer that toes the line between jacket and coat. Or, if you're feeling really capital-F-Fashion, you could try pairing two belted coats together, tucking the more slim-cut one inside a more oversize iteration.

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Ahead, find seven winning coat-layering combinations that — let's be honest — won't just keep you warm: They're Instagram #OOTD gold, if you're into that sort of thing. 

Bomber + Puffer 

Pattern on Pattern

Colorblocked Coat-Layering 

Short + Long 

Red on Red 

Longline Puffer + Longline Wool

Double-Belted Layers

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