How to wear layers in winter – how I did it in The Netherlands

by Sylvia

how to wear layers in winter

It was COLD on my recent visit to The Netherlands. Certainly when you are used to tropical temperatures year long.

The remedy?

Plenty of layers, warm woollen fabrics and knee-high boots.

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I showed you my asymmetrical vest before, but here I have worn it yet a different way and tied it up with a fabric belt

I wore a singlet underneath as well as an old woollen turtleneck sweater. I wore my most comfortable and warm subtle cordoroy skinnies from Unqlo with my (now very old) custom made black boots.

Still not satisfied, I added a silk scarf (ages old from one of my first jobs!) and a hat. That would suffice for indoors!

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I added my grey coat from Zara on top when stepping outside. If the weather was not too bad, I just manage with the silk scarf.

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There were plenty of times when I took out the real stuff though. I absolutely loved my blanket scarf and just could not resist getting another one. Love the colors!

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As for the boots, Greetje keeps pushing me to buy new ones. But these were custom-made for me! They fit like a glove, are sumper comfortable and I think they can still see the light of day.

Are they perfect? Certainly not. But hey, I only need them once a year; they will do.


In the end I had a lot of fun with winter dressing and adding on the layers, thanks to the fabulous winter capsule wardrobe I built. Adding the winter pieces that I still had in The Netherlands made it even more fun!

Black Skinnies: Uniqlo (old)
Silk scarf: Daniel Hechter (old)
Grey coat: Zara
Grey sleeveless long vest: Stella Carakasi
Cream sweater: no idea (old)
Blanket scarf: Zara
Hat: somewhere in The Netherlands (old)
Boots: custom-made in Shanghai 9 years ago

What is your favorite way of layering?


1 Sarah

Before I read much of the post I was wanting some boots like yours, so I’d say they will do for now! But seriously, I really like the fact that they don’t gap at the top. I have no end of trouble find boots that fit at the top. I’d hang on to those for dear life!

Still loving that asymmetrical long waistcoat vest thing too.

2 Sylvia

haha, well Greetje thinks they are too square, which is true of course. But that makes them a bit edgy too (and comfortable). And yes, I love the way these boots hug my calves nice and tight…

3 Erin

I love your coat it is so stylish, but where are the best places to shop when you are on a budget? i cannot afford J Crew or Banana Republic or all the other high end stores, but i still like to look trendy.

4 Sylvia

The coat is from Zara which is a very affordable shop. Target often has nice things too, as well as Uniqlo who is also featured in this post. Don’t forget about thrift shops either.

5 Jodie filogomo

Great look Sylvia!! I love how you layered the vest, then jacket!!! Jodie

6 Sylvia

thanks. It was fun playing with these layers! I do miss layering here..

7 JokevdB

Very nice, especially the combination of light and dark which works really well; a stylish woman!

8 Sylvia

Thanks for your nice comment Joke. I hope you don’t mind that I translated it into english? I prefer to keep everything in one language here….

9 Aileen Wrennall

I agree with Greetje, the boots are too clumpy and square for me as well, but I love everything else xa

10 Sylvia

Yes some day I will replace them, but they are in a cupboard in The Netherlands almost the whole year….

11 Greetje Kamminga

Yeah, well… you asked my opinion. Uh or did you not??? Haha. So sorry.
I think you layer like an expert and still manage to look good.
Nice photos.

12 Sylvia

No worries Greetje. I know you are right and this outfit would have been better with more elegant boots. Perhaps I should have bought those boots after all!

13 Sharon

Who cares? If they re comfy and you love them, it’s all that matters. They have character and a history, just like us!

14 Sylvia

Yes so true! I will keep them for history’s and character’s sake. Thanks Sharon!

15 denton

Sylvia, you look fabulous. I see my fashion education is still proceeding apace, it never would have occurred to me to examine the toes of your boots. But probably comfortable for walking!

16 Sylvia

Very comfortable indeed!

17 Suzanne

Personally the boots are what I like the best. ha ha! You can tell they were custom made because they fit your legs perfectly. Very hard to find boots that aren’t too large or too narrow on the calves. These are perfect and I think they make you look even longer and leaner, if that is possible.

The hat is so cute!

BTW…I bought my first ever piece of asymmetrical clothing yesterday…all thanks to you!


18 Sylvia

Oh that is too funny. I will keep wearing them then!

haha, well done Suzanne. I bought 2 leather jackets thanks to you. And you will be happy to know that I’m wearing them with nothing (but bra) underneath!

19 Dawn Lucy

You look adorable in all your stylish layers! I think your boots look great! Love the Zara scarf … such pretty colors! And who looks that cute in a hat?!!
Dawn Lucy

20 Jeanne

Sylvia – You have a wonderful sense of style and such a clear sense of your “look”. I went to the Stella Carakasi store in Berkeley CA and got your asymmetrical vest in pearl at a reduced price . I love it and get many compliments. Putting a belt on the vest is brilliant and I’ll try that next. Jeanne of

21 Sylvia

Lovely! It’s a great vest. Have fun with it!

22 33

Los Angeles doesn’t rain much and it’s a car city therefore I never realized how important it is for shoes to be water proof until I was in NYC one winter. The wet socks/feet make the whole body cold.

I think tall/thigh high boots have their place in cold weather places. Sure beats wearing 3+ layers in lower body. 🙂

Another thing about layering is that there much be room to stuff all the layers under. A very fitted overcoat may look too stuffed (thus unflattering). Something to consider when investing in an overcoat.

23 Illustr8or

Winters here in Virginia can vary from one year to the next, but I’ve still learned & adapted my own style of layering as a result. As I tend to get cold easily, it’s not of out of the question for me to wear 3-4 layers but can still look un-overstuffed.

I’m a huge fan of turtlenecks (the longer the collar & the bigger the sweater, the better!), so I’ll wear a very lightweight t-neck with a thicker, oversized one over it. For the lower body, I’ll have on 2 pairs of sweater knit tights, thigh high leg warmers, wool socks, and Ugg boots. And if I’m going to be outside any, then I top all of that off with a hooded sweater jacket, beanie hat, and huge wooly scarf to cover my neck & most of my face.

24 Sherry Edwards

Yes, I love layering. The more items the better, ha! ha! And, I finish it off with a scarf. Because of the humid heat in the summer it makes layering difficult and inefficient.

25 Sherry Edwards

As for your beloved custom made boots (which you don’t wear to often) maybe you can just get them cleaned and polished. Maybe re- soling and they will last your life time.

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