Layering for Winter

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Tags: fashionweather

Winter is cold, we all know that. However, when visiting Japan in winter, you will find that most indoor environments are heated to a comfortable temperature. If you wear heavy insulated winter clothing, you’ll find yourself overheating and sweating when you are inside shops, restaurants and trains.

Going out in the cold while you are sweaty not only makes you feel even colder, it can also make you fall sick. So what’s the answer to winter comfort both indoors and outdoors?


By wearing a few thin layers rather than one or two heavy garments, you can manage your body temperature efficiently and comfortably. The layers of air trapped between the clothes act as additional insulation when you’re out and about.

Then, when you go inside a heated environment, just unwrap your scarf and unfasten the top layers to help you to keep from overheating. Best of all, you can use clothes that you already own for wearing in tropical climates. These take up less room in your luggage too!

Use patterned pieces as accents to keep your look fresh and interesting.

Layering allows you to create interesting colour contrasts. Add colour to dull outfits with scarves and other accessories.

Basic Winter Layers

When selecting clothes for layering, the idea is to go from thin to thick.


  • Thin T-shirt (this can also be a thermal item such as Uniqlo’s HeatTech)
  • Long-sleeved T-shirt, turtleneck or henley shirt (thin knit material)
  • Button-down shirt (flannel, denim or other thickish material)
  • Sweater or cardigan with zips or buttons (thick knit or fleece)
  • Waterproof windbreaker jacket or overcoat


Button-down shirt


  • Tights/Leggings/Pantyhose (don’t be shy, guys – they’re a cheap way to stay warm and will be hidden under your pants)
  • Knee-length stockings (thick knit)
  • Jeans or thick pants
  • Waterproof and leakproof shoes or boots. Cold and wet feet not only feel unpleasant, they can cause chafing and blisters.


  • Scarf (long enough to wrap around your neck twice)
  • Hat (wool or fleece)
  • Gloves (waterproof is recommended)
  • Legwarmers (especially if you wear skirts or dresses)

Save On Luggage Space

As long as you wear a fresh clean T-shirt, underwear and socks every day, you can “recycle” most of your clothes without needing to wash them every time you change. Hang up your outer clothes to air for a day, or at least overnight between wearings (spritzing with a fabric refresher spray is recommended).

Choosing to layer would drastically reduce your load yet keep you just as warm.


Choose clothes made of natural, breathable materials such as cotton or wool. These allow any moisture or sweat to evaporate quickly.

Select sweaters and hoodies that open in front with buttons or zips so you can unfasten them while indoors to cool down without removing them.

You can lose a lot of body heat through the top of your head, so be sure to keep it covered when it’s cold outdoors. Your scarf can also serve double duty as a hood if the weather is mild.


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