Now that it’s December I’m thinking of layers of all sorts. Sometimes I dream of the chocolatey, fudgey, mocha, whipped creamy layers in concoctions like this one. A small ‘sliver’ wouldn’t upset the fitness regimen too much. Would it? Of course when you pile that ‘sliver’ on top of tourtière, roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, mincemeat tarts, and other seasonal fare… I might have to crank up the exercise bike a notch or two. Or ski a couple of extra hours a week… or a day. Ha. 
Chocolate truffle layer cake from Food and

All those pastry and gooey layers tend to add up to an extra layer of… well… me. Sigh. Which makes me really glad that it’s beginning to look a lot like this around here. For two reasons. The first is that we can ski now. And cross-country skiing is just about the most perfect form of exercise. And the second is that it’s cold. And when it’s cold I start thinking in terms of layers of another sort. The kind that keep me warm. And which also conveniently hide any accumulated evidence of Christmas baking debauchery.

View of the Rideau River near Manotick, Ontario in winter
Our view of the river, now that winter is here.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been collecting shots of layered outfits on my Pinterest board. Outfits that appeal to me and which I think are chic and sensible. I love the look, below, from which I found here on the blog Closet Full of Clothes. The soft brown coat, camel blazer, and dark brown fur actually makes me think of chocolate mousse cake. Yum. And it’s one of the few outfits in the myriad of “how to layer” posts I found that involve honest to goodness cold weather conditions. 

Layering for winter outfit from

You’d be surprised how many articles, and posts, and Instagram photos there are that purport to show the reader or viewer how to dress in layers for winter. Some of them are silly, and involve models in open-toed shoes, gauzy skirts, bare ankles, no gloves, sleeves as gloves… you name it. But some of them are lovely, chic, and sensible. And give me ideas for pairing pieces I already own. Like this cozy outfit from Le White tunic, comfy loose-fitting mock turtleneck, leather trousers, and boots. I love the beige sweater with black and crisp white. I could totally do this look.

Layered outfit from Le
So I hauled out my black leather trousers, and paired them with my white silky Vince turtleneck, this camel cashmere and wool turtleneck that I bought at Aritzia last year, and my new Stuart Weitzman boots. The Vince t-neck hangs an inch or so below the sweater in front (except not in this shot, I notice) and a couple of inches longer in the back. 
White Vince turtleneck, camel wool and cashmere Babaton sweater from Aritzia, black Holt Renfrew brand leather trousers, black Stuart Weitzman Brogan ankle boots.
My version of the Le look.
I chose to use a silky turtleneck as my base layer instead of a shirt, like in the photo. Mostly because the t-neck fits closer to the body and thus will be warmer. And also because it’s easy to slip a heavy sweater over the silky fabric. That’s basic layering theory folks. Base layer close to the skin + insulating or mid-layer that is a bit looser and traps air. I really love this Aritzia sweater. The shape is boxy enough to hide any evidence of Christmas over-indulgence, and loose enough to serve as a great mid-layer. 
White Vince turtleneck, camel wool and cashmere Babaton sweater from Aritzia, black Holt Renfrew brand leather trousers, black Stuart Weitzman Brogan ankle boots
See? Silky base layer, looser mid-layer.
And it’s also slim enough to slip under a light winter coat, like my brown Max Mara coat which I bought way back in the fall of 2010. In Canadian Winter Layering Techniques 101, one’s outer layer is usually for wind and rain protection. But since I’m not going skiing or winter camping in this get-up, I’m not too bothered about wind protection. Or worried about getting wet. So I donned my chocolate brown, vintage beret with my Max Mara coat and brown gloves. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get out of the house with the outfit intact this time. And not chicken out and leave the hat behind.
White Vince turtleneck, camel Babaton sweater from Aritzia, brown Max Mara coat, black leather Holt Renfrew brand trousers, black Stuart Weitzman brogan ankle boots, vintage brown beret with Bakelite brooch, gold earrings from Magpie Jewellry
All layered up, and ready to go.
I do love this vintage beret. The Bakelite brooch that came in the hat is the exact shade of the coat. But sadly, as you know…. I’m mostly all hat talk… and little hat action.
Brown Max Mara coat, camel Babaton sweater from Aritzia, white Vince turtleneck, vintage brown beret with Bakelite brooch, gold earrings from Magpie jewelers
Hoping to make it out the door with my hat still part of the outfit.
If you think that my camel sweater looks familiar… you’d be right. I actually featured it on the blog last year, in this post. And I just checked. The sweater is still available on the Aritzia website, if you’re at all interested. Now, speaking of outer layers that protect against getting wet. I should have had an outer layer on my bottom when I attempted to take this shot on our deck. The little pile of snow on the bench which had melted in the sun was a bit cold on the butt when I sat down. Amazing how leather pants are not, in fact, waterproof.
Black leather trousers from Holt Renfrew, white silky Vince turtleneck, camel Babaton sweater from Artizia
Ah ah ah… that’s cold.
So ’tis the season for layers of all sorts. Edible layers. Wearable layers. And unwelcome, but hopefully cover-up-able, layers. Which will be dispatched forthwith by hours and hours of skiing. Hopefully. 
Now, I’m going to wrap up this post… wrap up in my layered outfit… and go finish my Christmas shopping. Meanwhile I leave you with this delightful little video. About wrapping up. 

How about you, folks? Do you have to wrap up this time of year where you live? Are you fond of layering? 


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40 thoughts on “Wrap It Up… The Season for Layering”

  1. I love the look of wearing two coats, and the fur around her neck, well, there is nothing warmer than fur. I own a fur infinity type scarf and it never fails to keep me warm. The two coats would be great if walking somewhere in cold weather, but if I were driving my vehicle it would be completely too warm…. and if shopping you would have to take one off and carry it. Guess I am just being too practical about it, but it is indeed a great look. xo

    1. I agree, Pepper. Two coats would be one too many for me. I used to wear a blazer under my winter coat regularly when I worked. That's because I walked around all day at school without my coat, and I could take the blazer off and on depending on which room was freezing and which was sweltering. It always seemed to be one or the other. Nowadays unless I'm shopping downtown and will be outside a lot, I skip the blazer.

  2. The first picture looks suspiciously similar to one of our favorite Costco cakes…a birthday classic around here. It definitely adds to my personal 'layering'. Ha!

    We have suddenly gotten winter this week and are expecting another 8 inches in the next two days. So I was able to dig out all my warm layers. I love your sweater and have something similar in cashmere that is now in the rotation. My Eileen Fisher puffer coat from several seasons back is still going strong – and probably will be long after I'm tired of it! But for now, it's still my warmest and favorite coat for layering. Scarves, gloves and boots are all back in the front closet. Might as well enjoy it. I hope our snow stays long enough to ski! We often get a blast and then it warms and melts.

    1. That cake does look very much like the Costco version, doesn't it? But it's a chocolate truffle cake from the website "Food and Wine." I'm finally wearing my down coat as well, now. It's so warm and even light in weight. Our snow seems to be sticking around…we've skied two days in a row now.

  3. I have worn the " double turtleneck " look before and you look fabulous in your's, Susan 🙂

    I'm a huge fan of layering ( especially if the outer wool sweater is a bit itchy ), so wearing a cotton shirt base layer underneath is a necessity.

    Forking out for a few cashmere sweaters in the last ten years or so for comforts sake has been worth the expense. My basic winter uniform remains a T-shirt or turtleneck skivvy as the base layer, a wool or cashmere sweater and a coat or jacket as the temperature dictates.

    1. I hadn't actually done that double t-neck thing since way back in university when heavy cowl neck sweaters were in style. I always wore a lighter t-neck underneath since I did't like the droopy cowl neck on its own. Maybe I'm regressing, fashion-wise.

    2. Never tried a cowlneck, but some turtlenecks I have worn do have a slightly looser collar so if I wear a skivvy ( turtleneck T-shirt ) underneath it can be seen.

      It usually doesn't require a third layer after that here. If I do, it's a cotton skivvy under a crew, turtle or V-neck wool sweater and an overcoat at the most.

      …and I doubt you're a fashion regresser 🙂

  4. I do hope you keep your hat on! It truly "finishes" the look.

    Layering is the only way to go when the temps dip. I have a couple of faux fur coats that keep me warm without too many layers, but they are big and heavy.

    That cat video is hilarious. I wonder if my pug will let me wrap her?


    1. That's what makes a great down coat so great. They are warm but usually not heavy…at least mine isn't. Oh..please wrap the pug! I'd love to see a shot of that.

  5. I like the art of layering,from yummy ones to outfits-we have modest -5°C here,but it calls for layering already. I love the colour combination you've founded and play often with this colours,too
    My combination today was white t-shirt(visible below in front),camel cashmere turtleneck,dark grey jeans (your black leather trousers are so beautiful),camel coat and large grey polka dot scarf. I had grey velvet beret (not vintage but old). So,I'm voting for your outfit with beret-it suits you perfectly and it keeps hair curl-free in humid air . What's there not to love?

    1. Oh, that sounds gorgeous, Dottoressa. The grey and camel must be lovely together. I used to wear a cream beret when I wore a soft bulky woolen turtleneck…way back in the 80's. And I have a reddish orange cap from that era that I must pull out and wear. Maybe:)

  6. Layering is definitely the way to go. Love the many layers of this post and hope you kept your hat on. It looks great. Very amusing video. What a compliant cat! Iris

    1. Er…ah… actually I didn't. Must get some bobby pins to help hold it on. So that's my excuse for this week:) That cat is very compliant, isn't it?

  7. Out of necessity, I learned to layer when I spent three winters in Moscow, USSR. I also learned there that the skin and/or fur of an animal offers the only way to stay warm in extreme cold. (At least that was the case in the 1970s.) Here in Portland, Oregon, a large wool Russian shawl as my only outer garment has kept me warm in the coldest weather. Although its wool is thin, it is densely woven and incredibly warm.
    Your winter outfit is perfect. I certainly would keep the beret on if I were you…on you, it is a beautiful finishing touch (when the wind doesn't necessitate a toque around the ears). Now show us the outfit/s you wear for cross-country skiing. I envy you the opportunity to ski from your home in winter. We had a bit of snow, followed by a coating of freezing rain, in Portland over the last few days, and it has left me determined to go where the snow is (our nearby Cascade Range) more often. The ice, while gorgeous in the trees and bushes, has wreaked havoc with those sames trees and bushes as well as traffic.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Leslie

    1. Wow… I'll bet you have some tales to tell about that time, Leslie. And not just about the cold.
      I'll try to get some shots of the skiing togs. But be warned… they're won't be stylish.
      Freezing rain is the worst, isn't it? We usually have one or two ice storms every year. During a three day ice storm back in the nineties, our entire region was without power, some areas more than others. We had none for nine days. Fun times!

  8. I'm envious of all that snow too …but possibly not so enthusiastic if I had to clear it every day! 🙂 love the views from your home though and that you're able to go cross country skiing.
    I'm wondering if you ventured out wearing your hat …I hope you did! It took me a while to actually wear a beret or woolly hat but once I had the confidence it makes a great difference to my frizz inclined hair so all in all I think I look better! 🙂
    You look really great in your camel jumper layered over the shirt …casual but stylish. I enjoy wearing layers too and very convenient when out shopping, for lunch, coffee etc. In the last year or so I've bought a couple of cashmere or wool ponchos that also layer well over t shirts/shirts/jumpers and feel cosy on all but the coldest days here.
    Take care and have a good week.

    1. I love the snow a lot more when I don't have to battle the resulting traffic jams on my way to work. I just set aside my plans for another day. I'm going shopping tomorrow…and I must try your technique of coffee and list making as my first stop.

  9. Cakes , coats & cats – I like them all . A lot more people seem to be enjoying your blog now Sue . I'm not surprised as you write so well on such a variety of topics , plus you are good humoured , friendly & never pompous . I'm always pleased when another post pops up . So Thankyou .
    Wendy in York

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I love it that I'm getting quite a few readers, like you, who have been commenting for a while. Feels like we know each other now. I laugh when I mention to Hubby about a comment on a post…and he'll say… was that "Wendy in York"??

  10. It's hideous here at the moment — we've had two snowfalls this week, each leaving between 1 or 2 and 10 or 12 centimetres, depending on what part of the city. But each time, the snow was heavy and wet and followed by weird intervals of rain or of a drop in temperature so that there's ice under compacted snow-which-might-as-well-be-ice. Dressing for it is tough because the best boots for keeping feet dry aren't always the best ones for sidewalk traction and ditto for coats that repel water and coats that keep warm. Not to mention going indoors for shopping. So there's not going to be a short, happy answer here, but thank you for diverting me with the pictures of how great someone can look in layers of weather-appropriate clothes. As for me, I bought a beautiful leather skirt yesterday (nicely discounted, Jason Wu, inspired, tbh, by your leather pants) — and a pair of Sorel ankle boots…I'm going to try not to wear them together. . . 😉

    1. That's the worst of winter, isn't it? Snow, then rain, then snow etc etc. Hard to dress for that. Still… you might be making an interesting fashion statement pairing those Sorel boots with your new skirt. Wool ankle socks peeking above the boots, heavy sweater on top… I'm liking this picture.

  11. Cakes , coats & cats – I like them all . The weather's 'meh' here , not cold , snowy or wet , just gloomy . Good job we have Xmas & fairy lights to cheer us up .
    Wendy in York

    1. Not sure what happened earlier. I saw your first comment in my e-mail inbox. Then when you sent the second comment it dawned on me that I hadn't seen your first one on the blog. I checked the "spam" box and they were both there. So now you've been "un-spammed." I don't know why that happened. Sorry about that.

  12. I am so glad turtlenecks have come back in style! A few years ago I couldn't find a simple cotton one, for myself or husband, except on line. Of course, llbean will always have them! But now they are back and great for layering. Just bought a lightweight one today at JCrew: luscious colors! And now, to tell you the truth, I don't like layering or winter or sweaters or cold weather. There, that's it! We do have a short winter here, but oh, I long for bare feet and t-shirts. Consequently, I don't buy many winter clothes (hoping it will all just disappear?) but am already looking at spring and summer things.

    1. It has been hard to find nice turtlenecks. There are always cotton ones for skiing… but I'm often looking for ones over which sweaters slide on and off easily. I may have to check out J Crew to stock up. I love to layer… but start to long for tee shirts and sandals around the middle of February.

  13. Susan, you look amazing, by any definition, for any age group. Bakery debauchery (I have to borrow that phrase) seems to have inflicted nary an injury upon your form 🙂

  14. I love Aritzia but find it pricey. All the sweaters seem to cost $160! That one is a beauty. I'd like more information about the fit – I swing between XS and S in Aritzia sweaters. This one looks like a roomy fit – might get away with the XS. Any thoughts? Oh, and like you, I howl out loud at some of the "cold weather" fashion shots. I guess it's all relative (cold weather in Ottawa is a whole other thing to cold weather in Florida) but open-toed boots never make sense to me.

    1. The Aritzia sweater is a roomy fit. I have broad shoulders so I usually take a size 10 in higher quality tops at stores like Nordstrom or Holt Renfrew, and a large at shops like Zara and such, if that helps. I'm a medium at Aritzia. That's what this sweater is. Part of the roominess is the cut; it's quite boxy, but long enough not to make me look too wide up top. In my opinion, the quality of the sweater and of the wool, makes it well worth the price.

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