Layering Basics For Fashion & Function

Layering clothes first started as a function; it helped people stay warmer in the winter, and some layers helped keep people cooler in the winter. Here are a few of the layering basics for function:


Base Layer
  • This is the layer that is right up against your skin.
  • It is used for moisture wicking to keep you from getting hypothermia in the winter, and to keep you cool in the summer.
  • It is also typically made from a comfortable material since it has the most skin contact out of all the layers.
  • It can be designed to fit tight around the body or loosely to allow airflow.



  • This layer provides warmth in necessary conditions; it can be omitted if conditions are not cold.
  • The insulation layer traps air next to your body, keeping your body at a warm temperature even if the air outside is frigid.
  • This layer is typically made of natural fibers such as wool or goose down. They are available in many different weights, giving you the right amount of warmth depending on your activity or location.

Examples of an insulation layer include: wool sweaters, down jackets, fleece pullovers, and more.



Weather Protection
  • This layer is used for protection against the elements; things like wind, rain, hail, and snow.
  • This typically fits a bit larger than a typical jacket, so that it can be used over the top of other layers.
  • This layer needs to be waterproof or water resistant, but still breathable to allow for sweat evaporation.
  • While this layer is typically considered to be a jacket or shell of some kind, weather protection can come in many forms.

Examples of the weather protection layer: hard shell and soft shell jackets, windbreakers, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, and more.


Now this function has evolved into a combination of both function and fashion, and we use these layering basics to create fashionable outfits that keep us at a comfortable temperature all year long.


Base Layer

In fashion, this layer is similar to the function layer, but may have a little more flair than the classic functional base layer would.

  • This is the layer closest to the skin.
  • It can be used to control temperature by keeping you warmer, or cooler, depending on the length and fit.
  • It is generally a little more basic, without too many patterns or colors, but as always in fashion, this is not a strict rule.

Examples of the base layer in layering fashion include: undershirts, camis, tank tops, blouses, plaid shirts, or a structured dress.



While the insulation layer can be, and is used, for warmth, in fashion, it is also used to dress up an outfit.

  • Can be used for extra warmth; commonly used for effect.
  • This tends to be more of a statement piece, rather than a base layer, in layering fashion.
  • Comes in a wide variety of styles.

Examples of the insulation layer in layering fashion include: vests, coats, denim jackets, cardigans, sweaters, and more.


Weather Protection/Accessory

The weather protection portion of layering basics is typically referred to as the accessory of an outfit.

  • It may or may not always provide weather protection, but it is the outermost layer of an outfit.
  • Many will provide not only some form of weather protection, but an element of style as well.
  • Can also be thought of as the accessory of any outfit, and there may be more than one.

Examples of the weather protection layer in layering fashion include: hats, scarves, boots, long socks/stockings, gloves, necklaces, large jewelry, and more.


Layering clothes is a very popular new trend in the fashion world, but not many people know where the trend started. It is interesting to look back at layering basics and recognize both the functionality and the fashion behind layering clothes on an everyday basis.


Check out our layering tees, tanks, camis, and more below and start putting together your own fashion statements!


cap sleeve shirt
Cap Sleeves
half sleeve shirt
Half Sleeve Shirt
leggings and jeggings
long tank tops
Tank Tops
3/4 sleeve shirts
3/4 Sleeve Shirts