If You’re Freezing, You’re Layering Wrong

  • Pretty self explanatory — start in your bra and underwear. Just make sure that they, too, are warm. Here I'm wearing a velvet bra from Anine Bing and underwear of unknown origin. My favorite wool sets are by a small brand called Hanro.
  • Lesson 2: Add a lightweight sweater (you will be layering over it, so if you want to include, say, a cotton shirt, that's fine too, but it's so cold that I'm going with lightweight sweater) and tights. If you have the kind that hold you in because of compression technology or whatever, GREAT! Wear those. (Sies Marjan sweater, Falke tights)
  • Left off of layer and lesson 2 commentary but still incredibly important: an '80s hairdo is 100% mandatory at this stage of the process. (Calling it a "hairdo" is nonnegotiable, too.)
  • Lesson 3: Add decidedly functional, but still frivolous-feeling, accoutrements e.g. a pair of wool socks (these ones are from Topshop) and a silk neck scarf (silk keeps you warm, trust moi).
  • And here's where shit gets real. Pull jeans (or any pants of your choosing, really; I recommend a pair that will hug your legs to prohibit wind entry) over your tights and socks and another sweater over the one that came before. If you feel like a static queen, it is because you are one. (Brock jeans, Zadig & Voltaire sweater)
  • For your next trick! A utility jacket, or any form of light outerwear that cinches at the waist. If you don't have a jacket that cinches naturally, you can always tie a belt (or a ribbon, or a rope, etc) around the waist of another loose-fit jacket. This one is Ralph Lauren.
  • And now for the sauce! Fasten a bow around your neck. (If you don't happen to have a de facto bow tie, this can be replicated with robe or ribbon or even a pair of torn, old tights). When you tie it, you will bring the sweater and the neck scarf underneath the jacket closer to your body, making you 16% warmer according to an unscientific study my prefrontal cortex just executed. And because you're wearing tights and thick socks, you may also go ham with the footwear. Kitten heels are welcome (this particular pair is on sale at Barneys.)
  • Boo! Did I scare you?
  • A ha, here we are at the penultimate step, foolish smile not withstanding. For this trick, I added one more layer: the overcoat. It's a two-ply, cashmere/wool blend, double-breast coat that is flexible and thus capable of fitting over two sweaters and another jacket. This particular coat actually belongs to my cousin. (Acne coat acquired on sale chez SSENSE.)
  • Woah, I don't know why I said cousin in the previous slide. I meant husband. He's not my cousin.
  • AND FINALLY!!!! Here we are at the finish line. Add a hat to keep your brain warm (I really like these, by Le Bonnet) and a scarf, which you can either wear as a scarf or as a pageant ribbon because remember! You have lots of shit around your neck to keep you warm. You can also add a basket or another bag of your choosing (e.g. this, this, definitely this.)
  • Bye!
Leandra Medine | January 11, 2017

I have resisted this series to the best of my ability because it makes me feel like I am 22 again and nary a single sign of life’s progress has presented itself, but now that I’m 28 — a number of years to match the number of degrees it is outside — I’d fucking love to feel like a) I’m 22 again and b) I’m warm.

So here you have it — a progression of layers that demonstrate how to stay warm through winter without looking like an asshole. Important to note is that I said nothing about feeling like an asshole which is encouraged and completely fair game.

Click through the slideshow for details, commentary and a spiked slushie.

Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

  • Natasha

    Mind. Blown.

  • Mariana

    Love it! But…can you move or do you feel like the Michelin logo? Maybe both?

  • Pandora Sykes

    Want to know how the husband-cousin thing happened. V-e-r-y interested.

    • Pandora Sykes

      Also that piece from 2011 is so fucking good. The faces!

    • Greer Clarke

      a lil Freudian slip?

  • Robin

    I was so confused by the hair going from slide 3 to 4! Now I’m slightly sad I live in Spain where temperatures don’t seem to drop below 12 grados Celsiusss, because I would love to be hugged by soft materials like this

    • Adrianna

      Ironically I’m considering traveling to Spain *because* of the weather this winter. (I have a mostly-paid for trip to Sweden in Feburary, so I want to take advantage of the time it takes me to get to Europe from NYC)

  • Mary

    Do you get really hot once inside, though?

  • Sabah Malik

    All these years on the cold-ass east coast, hating on the weather and not 1 pair of wool underpants #imafraud

  • Cinamaron

    It’s super important to have a good layering strategy in the winter! Sweater tights under jeans, wool socks, REAL WOOL SWEATERS NO BS COTTON and an enormous scarf worn UNDER the coat are all key parts of mine. Turtlenecks- also helpful. I live in Minnesota tho so clunky snow boots and a down coat are also necessary.

  • Joules14

    Does this layering assume one is outside all day long? Or that you at least strip down to the “light sweater” layer once at work?

  • Abigail Fraser

    OK, but not all of us are blessed with a figure like your Leandra, if I did that I’d look like a snowoman!

  • me

    Hooray!!! A return to “Ye Olde Man Repeller” that I fell in love with six years ago !!

    Seriously, sis, posts re winter layering are always welcome: Being cold sucks.

    All hail The Queen of All Layers !

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    Hmmm… while I love the quirky awesomeness of this look as someone born and raised and still reside in Chicago I’m going to have to say nope to this type of layering. It does not work in real life – at least not where it is zero degrees with a wind chill of -10. You start with your underwear, a THIN long sleeve pullover or tee (can be thermal or cotton), a THIN sweater or Knit top over followed by a thick cardigan ( I live in big cable knit draped cardigans). For your bottom half you start with a nice quality tight followed by fleece lined leggings (and if it’s REALLY cold you double up by wearing fleece lined tights as well!. And then wool pants. If you want to avoid the sausage roll look of your pants being too tight then you throw on a long sleeve top and then a sweater dress, drapey sweater cardigan, with your double layer of tights, thick socks and boots. THAT’S winter layering in my neck of the woods.

  • Adrianna

    Wearing leggings underneath my jeans has absolutely changed my life

    • rachel

      I have a pair of underarmour heat gear leggings that I have worn 100+ times, and only like 5 of those times have been without pants over them

  • Mika M R

    Hi. Suggestions for similar jeans that does not cost 400us$?

    • Leslie Hitchcock

      Madewell, & Other Stories

      • Mika M R

        Thanks 😀

  • Perla

    I just realized my layering game is all wrong!

  • rachel

    OH MAN I totally remember the 2011 post! I remember loving that first pose, which I am now going to call “pirate looking through a broken spyglass” because why not.

  • Leslie Hitchcock

    Really, really sad I’ve gotten rid of any utility jackets I used to own because now I only want to wear them with my Saint Laurent bow! Bravo, LM!

    • Leandra Medine

      Hi Leslie!

      • Leslie Hitchcock

        👋👋👋 xx

  • Aydan

    My mom knitted me an Alpaca sweater, scarf, and hat for the homiadays. Arriving in NYC this weekend could not have been more perfect timing for extreme layering with my beautifully mom-made clothing!!

  • PanarchyInTheUK .

    But … surely your wrists are cold with the overcoat sleeves ruched up?

  • Amelia Diamond

    pretend I never said this but you look so cute/cool!!!!!!!!!

  • Juliana

    I’m in Brazil, it’s 35°C outside, AND I’M STILL READING HOW TO WEAR 939483 LAYERS just because you’re the best thing in the whole wide internet, Leandra.

  • Rhonda Belcher

    Love this site & adore Leandra, but come on, girl… If it’s cold, wear ankle boots! Those kitten heels positively guarantee “toesicles” – even with the socks.

  • Russian-born Canadian here. I’d suggest buying a set of thermals (leggings + top) to wear over your regular underwear, way warmer than nylons and cotton. My set is kind of itchy though so if it’s above -5 I’ll wear cotton leggings instead of my thermals (still warmer than nylon tights though). I also like to layer my socks because my extremities suffer the most – I wear knee-length wool socks over my regular cotton socks. And gloves!!!

  • Babs

    Oh maaaan! The OG layering posts! my roommates thought I was crazy when I started taking your lead, but I had found my religion.

  • Jolie

    Yes! I pretty much do this exact layering routine everyday during the winter…though not quite as stylishly, since my love for fashion is overcome by hatred of cold wind around New Year’s. I’m putting in a recommendation for Uniqlo HeatTech layering shirts and leggings — they’re thin af but somehow still SO WARM. They save my life every winter when I’m wandering around the city waiting for people in the dang cold. Another trick: two pairs of socks under ankle boots. And a coat that covers your butt…always.

  • Gwyn

    i love this!!! kitten heels not functional for slush and snow but functional for fulfilling my heart’s desires

  • Melissa

    Yes!! Still love these posts after all these years. You look amazing.

  • Inga

    Wow! You look stunning! I am going to use these tricks. Even though i am in Barcelona. And it is 14 degrees here.

  • libs

    THIS is the man repeller content I’m here for.

  • Julie

    @LeandraMedine:disqus where are your gloves?? Babe, those are gonna freeze!

  • M-Th G

    I live in Vienna and I need moooore of this!

  • ahepwhoa

    love this, so well done =) also 2 scarves, 2 sweaters, 2 coats. basically double up on everything haha

  • Natty

    you forgot step 3.5: cover yourself in dryer sheets before applying sweater 2

  • how do you not stretch out your shoes / do you buy them a size extra with this in mind?

  • Claudine

    I love your layering strategy, but we have to talk about the shoes I think!
    I’m a woman. I have always cold feet. Even with wool socks when I don’t wear big boots.
    But they are really beautiful ♥ so maybe we don’t have to talk about them….

    Your posts are amazing Leandra! Thank you for that.

    xox
    Claudine / http://www.claudinesroom.com

  • Nanja

    You are a genius.

  • Nanja

    You are a genius.

  • Amber MB

    The fact that I was sitting here just now, feeling parts of me freeze that I didn’t know could freeze, and that the thought, “what would Leandra do?” crossed my mind, and that I am now warm as a July day, is testament to thee greatness of MR. Excited to soon add more layers to my current quota of five.

  • Sanna Wege

    I’m rather short and curvy. If I wore that many layers I’d look like a ball of wool.

  • Do your feet not freeze?! My feet are always so cold! I need snowboots to keep them warm!

    • Leandra Medine

      I’m wearing tights and wool socks!

  • Emily

    LOVE IT

  • Estilistas

    this is perfection!

  • Yas queeeeeeen.

    Sidenote to anyone looking for warm layers, make the first layer entirely silk and you will be golden. It IS so toasty, not itchy or bulky in the least, and makes me feel luxurious knowing that all my underwears are fancy.

  • b.e.g.

    Cotton is not an insulator as a first layer. Silk, yes. Wool, yes. Thin layers work best. Next to skin silk or merino wool. Then perhaps a silk shirt, and over that a sweater. Sweater can be thick or thin. Or a wool blazer over the shirt or thin sweater. A regular coat over that. If you wear a CG or similar parka you will not want to layer as much because you’ll sweat. Your bottoms too should be thin layers (merino leggings like Smartwool work great under looser pants or skirts/dresses). I find one underlayer beneath pants is enough especially if you have a long, knee or longer coat. Smartwool for top and bottoms come in different weights (150, 250) depending how cold it is. But I believe that the most important part of keeping warm is a warm hat, a warm scarf, and warm boots (sheepskin with a waterproof foot). Wrap your head in a sheepskin hat (or any other fur) that covers your ears, or in a thick cashmere or any wool beanie, and a warm wool or silk scarf (I prefer merino). And gloves naturally (layer with those thin ski liners and sheepskin mittens for best insulation). Head, neck, hands, and feet.

  • M

    Please tell me where that pineapple bag is from I’ve been dreaming about it for approx 29 days

    • Leandra Medine

      Mercedes Salazar!

  • Valerie Barahona

    WHERE IS THAT STARRY SCARF FROM?!?!

  • Sofia

    Oh I Love this! <3_ <3