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ESP’s style guru Sue Donnelly looks at the art of layering as featured in the November issue.

With the weather in the UK being so unpredictable, it makes sense to dress with every variation in mind. This is where the art of layering comes into its own.However, you don’t want to look like the Michelin Man so here are some guidelines for you…

Start with the thinnest layer and work up to the thickest. By keeping the clothing nearest to your skin close fitting and lightweight you will retain the heat in your body without putting on visual weight. Your coat or jacket should be the heaviest garment to keep out the rain and wind.

Coordinate your colour scheme. Pairing up colours with no synergy can look mismatched and careless. Your wardrobe can be so much more versatile if you plan it around 3 or 4 neutrals in plain fabrics. You then ring the changes using patterned scarves, gloves, handbags, shoes and/or hats.

Buy clothing that can be adapted to more than one look. For example, a shortish length dress or sweater could also be worn as a tunic over leggings, belted over jeans or trousers, with a polo neck or shirt underneath. This then gives you great CPW – cost per wear.

Sleeveless jackets (gilets) like Lee is wearing in our shoot, are great value as they often cost much less than a full sleeved version but look sporty and cool while keeping the heat firmly in whetehr you’re male or female.

Most of our heat escapes from our heads so don’t discount the value of a hat or clothing with a hood like Lauren’s parka or Darren’s jacket.


Think about your body shape and proportions. A shrug style jacket or cardigan or a very wide collar will broaden the shoulders so your waist and hips look smaller.  A coat, jacket or cardigan that finishes on your widest part, will not.

Padded coats can add pounds. Leave them to the slim.

Don’t forget your socks! Our model Lauren may have braved it in the studio but bare ankles can leave you freezing in the cold weather.

Ensure the fabrics allow your skin to breathe. If you don’t you’ll definitely be hot but it won’t be attractive!

Have fun experimenting. Mixing and matching your clothing provides the most versatile wardrobe and you can spend your money on other treats instead.



Styling: Natasha Fierro

Photos: Andy Vernum @ Studio One

Models: Lauren Hughes, Jess Lockhart, Lee Bailey and Darren Grigas


Jacket – £50, Jumper – £40, Regular Fit Jeans – £60, Canvas High Tops – £40, All Jack & Jones (Queensgate)


Dress – £38 Warehouse,  Jacket – £75 Top Shop, Boots – £49 Dorothy Perkins, All from Outfit (Serpentine Green)


T-Shirt – £18 River Island, Coat – £110 River Island (both Serpentine Green), Jumper – £37.50 Tahlias Closet (Westgate Arcade) Jeans – £40 Top Shop, Outfit (Serpentine Green)


Bodywarmer – £70, Wally Knit Jumper – £45,  Anti-fit Jeans – £65, Quilted Shirt–   £65, Faux Leather High Tops – £50

All Jack & Jones (Queensgate)



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