Ready for Anything: Transitional Layering

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Ready for Anything: Transitional Layering
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When the weather oscillates between chilling winter temps and sweat-inducing spring sunshine in a single day, you want layers that you can pile on when it's cold, then disassemble when the temperature rises. Building a functional yet stylish look that transcends unpredictable weather can be challenging, so we tapped two stylists and asked them to share their foolproof tips. Ahead, 10 layering tricks that will help you keep your cool even in the heat of the day.

Anchor Your Look With Outerwear
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Anchor Your Look With Outerwear

The first step in crafting an outfit that can handle temperature swings is to select your outerwear. "The jacket is the foundation of the outfit," says Dick Lerner, author of "Dress Like The Big Fish." Once you know which jacket you're going to wear, you can choose a color scheme and start assembling your inner layers.

Layer From Thin to Thick
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Layer From Thin to Thick

Start with the thinnest layer closest to your body then move out to the thickest. "Keep in mind what the day's temperature will be and just how much clothing you are willing to take off during the day," says James W. Cornwell, celebrity stylist and owner of Cornwell Styling in Washington, D.C.

Think About Fit and Length
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Think About Fit and Length

Consider fit and length when choosing layers, especially the inner layers. An undershirt or henley should fit close to your body and not look or feel uncomfortable under a button down or sweater. "A jacket's construction makes it ideal to [pair] with lightweight layers," Lerner says. For a sharp look, the inner layers should be the shortest and the longest layer should be your outerwear.

Choose Layers Thoughtfully
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Choose Layers Thoughtfully

Because you will shed clothing throughout the day, choose items that can stand on their own. "Each piece should have its own personality while blending well with the others," Cornwell says. As a general rule of thumb, layers should progress from lightest color to darkest color, as well as simplest pattern to strongest pattern.

Play With Texture
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Play With Texture

For effective layering, mix fabrics so you have pieces that work together to provide warmth when needed, but transition to cooling as temperatures rise. "For the first layer, cotton is the softest and most breathable, so it's always a good choice to start with a cotton fabric for comfort and air flow," Cornwell says. "Cottons come in so many great shapes, shades and styles that it's simple to start here for your layered look."

Consider Your Fabric Choice
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Consider Your Fabric Choice

Like your first layer, the second layer should be a fabric that can breathe but also can add some warmth. "This is where light wool, heavier cotton or a blend come into play," Cornwell says. "This layer, while still stylish, should always be a heavier fabric than that of your first layer."

Be Bold With Your Outerwear
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Be Bold With Your Outerwear

When it comes to winter coats, muted colors aren't the only option. "Be bold and be brave," Cornwell says. "If you are making a statement with your jacket, then do just that." Don't feel like you have to wait til spring to bring some color to your style.

Choose Pants That Fit Your Ensemble
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Choose Pants That Fit Your Ensemble

Don't forget that your pants are part of the package. If you're dressing down, well-fitting denim or military-inspired utility pants are great options. If you're dressing up, wool trousers or slacks can upgrade your look and will keep you a bit warmer than jeans.

Put Your Best Foot Forward
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Put Your Best Foot Forward

Don't overlook the effect your shoes can have on your overall style. If you opt for a monochromatic look, any pop of color will instantly stand out. "Go with a bold color to mix up your look with a fun shoe." Socks, too, should receive special consideration, especially if you opt for a pair of dapper oxfords. "There are some wonderful socks in a variety of cushion and lycra stretch in traditional solids and marled patterns that look great," Lerner says.

Add the Finishing Touches
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Add the Finishing Touches

When temps dip, your warm-weather accessories become functional parts of your ensemble. "Scarves and gloves are pieces that can be very bold," Cornwell says. "Bold pops of color, edgy designs and unique styles will get you noticed and get people wondering what else you have going on. You can also mix your textures here."

For more seasonal styling tips, check out Cold Weather Essentials For Men

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