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Unexpected Layering, Pt. I

January 9th, 2013

The best thing about menswear is that it’s very simple.

A gentleman only wears a handful of shapes in a few traditional silhouettes, all from a simple collection of wardrobe staples.

The key is organizing and pairing these classic shapes in creative ways.

Here’s a few examples that I hope will get you thinking differently about the pieces in your closet.

    1. Shawl Under Jacket


    Too cold for just a blazer, but not cold enough for a bulky overcoat?

    Slide a shawl cardigan under your jacket and you’re all set.

    Keeps the body insulated and serves as a pseudo-scarf covering the neck (especially when “popped”).


    If you haven’t invested in a tweed jacket yet, I highly recommend it.

    It treads the dressy-casual line perfectly and can be worn a million different ways.

    Gotta love them winter textures!


    The nappy texture of suede shoes was meant for the cold chills of winter.


    • “Huxley” eye glasses by Warby Parker
    • Forest Green Donegal Tweed jacket
    • Blue chambray shirt by Rag&Bone
    • Burnt orange wide knit tie by Corneliani
    • Wool/Linen shawl cardigan by Club Monaco
    • Brown wool flannel pocket square by Armstrong & Wilson
    • Brown Leather Plaque belt by JCrew
    • Brown corduroys by H&M
    • Tan suede wingtips by Bass

    2. Turtle Under Shirt


    As a general guideline (not “rule”), layers look more natural when they get heavier toward the outsisde. By that theory, there’s no reason a thin turtleneck can’t be styled under a heavy shirt.

    I picked up this awesome corduroy shirt at Wal-Mart when I was back in Canada. Yes. Wal-Mart. It’s made by their house brand George and it was eight Canadian dollars – which is a small handful of mixed coins.

    Although there are often expensive items featured on Articles of Style, if you know what you are doing, you don’t need a lot of money to have style and look great! Post on this topic coming soon…


    A few classic pieces, thoughtfully put together, is all you need.

    The best casual looks are the simple ones.


    • Gold Plated hand-engraved shades by Matsuda
    • Brown moleskin topcoat by Banana Republic
    • Camel turtleneck sweater by Gucci
    • Rust corduroy shirt by George (Wal-Mart)
    • “Stella” Watch by Brera Orologi
    • Brown woven leather gloves by Hilts and Willard
    • Jeans by APC
    • “New Standard” Raw denim jeans by APC
    • Brown suede boots by Massimo Dutti

    3. Bootlegger Chic


    My inspiration comes from all over the place (as I wrote a little about here).

    This fit was largely inspired by the movie Lawless (you should check it out, for the menswear alone) and the awesome rugged layering of 1920s hillbillies.


    You’ve heard us say it before. Pristine is not real. Casual menswear looks better with some authentic worn-in character.

    This look is a great example. It works better because the chambray henley is soft from years of wear, the cardigan is starting to pill, the workbooks are naturally scuffed, etc.

    So invest in long-lasting clothes and let them tell your story!


    Funny enough, a reader sent us a question a while back asking if a henley  + waitscoat + cardigan was a good look or “too many buttons”.

    I wrote him back with something like “sounds like too many buttons brother. Keep it simple”.

    I take that back, because I’ve been loving this combo lately.

    The key is a band collar shirt (rather than a knit henley) with a deep placket that hits below the waistcoat stance, and a cardigan that is both chunky and rugged.

    My apologies guy. Do you!


    • Brown felt hat (vintage)
    • Shawl collar cardigan Vintage JCrew
    • Pinstripe chambray band collar shirt by Zara
    • Brown donegal tweed vest
    • Brown American Bison Belt by Trafalgar
    • Brown corduroys by H&M
    • “Iron Ranger” Brown leather boots by Red Wing


    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford.

    • http://undefined Dick Lickerson

      Unexpected layering… almost as good as an unexpected beej. (no… no it’s not)

    • John

      George line at Wally World has some very nice shirts. If you size down, they’re almost fitted off the rack.

    • Zach

      I just want to know where the socks from the first look are from.

    • Philipp

      Nice to see this awesome corduroy shirt here, i’ve got one from H&M in the exact same colour!
      Keep up the fantastic work!

    • Fletcher

      Dude – that was me asking that question about the too many buttons – LOVE the post and the look. Think I WILL give it a try now. Thanks Dan.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Haha Yes! I was hoping this would happen.

        Thanks Fletch

    • Ben

      I think I have that same moleskin coat from Banana Republic. Bought it between 1-2 years ago and by far the best coat I’ve ever had. I’m curious what size you have it in if you don’t mind sharing, I’m 5″9 and wear it in a small (despite the sales guy telling me I really needed a medium) but almost wonder if an extra small might have been better. They didn’t carry extra-small in the store so I couldn’t try one on. I’m pretty happy with the fit, just curious what you wear since I know you’re bigger than I am.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        I answer your question here:


        Thanks for reading my man!

        • Ben

          Thanks for the reply! I have worn mine over a suit, although it is a snug fit. It is my every day jacket and have no problem wearing it more casually. I get a lot of compliments on it as well! As far as buttoning it goes, do the same rules apply to jackets as three button sports coats or blazers (i.e. is buttoning all three a faux pas)? I kind of think when it gets cold all bets are off, but I was curious what your take or the traditional view is. Thanks!

    • RRJC

      I loved the wardrobe in Lawless!
      It inspired me to cut the collar off of one of my button-down shirts to make my own band collar a few weeks ago. Had a feeling this post was in the works.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Nice. Big fan of cutting collars off old shirts, and leaving the frayed hem too, especially after the shirt collar’s gotten nasty…

        Thanks for reading.

    • Chris

      Hey Dan,

      You always have great inspirations to work from. Love that green tweed jacket and orange combo. Great work. Question about the APC raw denim. How long did you have to break them in? When did you wash them? (or have you at all?). Did you have to go down a size because of the stretching?

      I see in the comments you had some tailoring done to them.



    • Ty

      I don’t understand the use of Warby Parker..The frame is made with injection molding and has no craftsmanship what so ever. Plus Warby Parker steals its designs from premium brands such as Salt Optics and Barton Perreira. Barton Perreira, Salt, and Dita would all be better choices than Warby Parker. All these brands I’ve mentioned have their frames crafted by hand using bamboo zyl, compared to Warby Parker who uses cotton based injection molding. I think the gentlemen of TSB can understand where I’m coming from considering Scarpe Di Bianco is used often on this site. You gentlemen wouldn’t where a pair of Aldo shoes…so why would you wear Warby Parker?

      With this being said…I enjoy this site and think Dan and the crew do a great job.


      • Ben

        I agree 100%. I work in an optometrist’s office that sells mostly high-end eyewear. I understand that not every can afford or would want to spend their money or premium eyewear, but the quality of Warby Parker and other similar retailers (e.g. anything you would get at Lenscrafters or other Luxottica owned stores) is really very low. Injection molded glasses are essentially the same way a plastic toothbrush or fork are made, as compared to many higher quality brands that use much better materials and craft their frames by hand. Not quite in line with the type of items usually featured on this site, although I can understand that not every piece a person owns can be top of the line because that would be too expensive. And it depends on what a person values and thinks is worth the cost. Just wanted to set the record straight about Warby Parker!

        • Ben

          *…essentially made the same way…

    • KB Toyz

      Holla at that Walmart shout out! You need to step your game up and do an all TJ MAXX wardrobe shoot!

      Get buckets.

    • Mrjbeee

      Great post. First and third look are definitely taste. Keep it up!

    • http://www.subscenestyle.com Jonathan

      So funny that I stumble upon the Lawless inspired look, the day after checking out the film. Great layering look.

      Completely agree with the Jules. The felt hat style that you’ve been rocking for some time now, is all over men’s street style posts these days. High steez points for jumping on that trend before it became, well a trend.



    • Andrew

      What are your thoughts on the fit and quality of Massimo Dutti shoes?

      They have a couple of pairs online that are interesting, but I don’t have any time soon that I can make it into the city and go to their store.

    • Jeremy Whitechick

      Long-time viewer, first-time comment poster.

      I predict pilling as one of the things we’ll see turn into a ‘thing’ in 2013, along with wide brimmed fedoras (which you’ve had one of for a while now)

      You heard it here first…

      J Whitechick

    • Don Pierre

      Brilliant As Always! The turtle neck was unique and unexpected!

      Need Your Style Assistance!Sent You A Email!Thanks!

    • Joe

      I really love this post (except for the cigarette frankly). Alex did a great job really capturing the details, I absolutely love that the pilling on the cardigan shows, and that hat kills here. I appreciate how much the team plays into this website. I also really loved that you threw a walmart shirt in there. I had a George short sleeve poplin shirt once that was great after a trim and cuff in the sleeve. Almost see-through it was so lightweight, and perfect for summer.

      I get the idea behind the first pic of look 3 – the working man taking a smoke break. I get it, if it was a frame from a movie, I wouldn’t think twice about it. But it’s not, it’s a constructed photo meant to look “good” by some definition. This made the cigarette very jarring if I’m honest. I get you’re (probably) not trying to glorify cigarettes, but it comes off that way regardless.

      • Jack

        I agree Joe. Cigarettes are in no way stylish and make a very negative statement that takes away from the outfit as a whole. Maybe a pipe would accomplish your working man on a break statement?

    • Arsene

      Burnt orange tie + elbows set it all off. Without them, this outfit wouldn’t matter much. Great stuff!

    • KD

      You killed it once again, well done brother. Question – I’ve been looking to replace my Corvus James Bond strap as it’s starting to fray real bad. Their website’s been down for a few months now and all the knockoffs are black instead of navy (navy’s much more versatile). Any idea where to find these now? Thanks man

    • Sergio

      I think what people are enjoying most lately is the everyday looks that are being featured both in the TSBdaily and in the main entries being featured. Personally I’m a huge fan of look #1, I think the green tweed blazer is completely BAD-ASS and a color that I would have never thought of incorporating in. Look #2 is also exceptional because it is not only simple but again an everyday look, as well as #3, that tweed vest is great! Love all the suit looks but these are awesome!

    • European reader

      Great stuff, as always. The donegal jacket is damn sharp. It’s also nice to see that cigarettes can still be found in photos. They do tend to add something of an “old world cool”-vibe.

    • Carter

      Dan T.
      The style guide is a great addition to the site! It gives me a great foundation to formulate kits for specific occassions as well as revisit posts from the past! By the way, was the collaboration with Angel Ramos ever published? If not, we need to see that soon?
      Be well and happy new year to all!

    • Brian

      SOLID, as always. Please tell me those APC New Standards have been altered (tapered, to be specific). I have a pair and the leg opening is definitely not that narrow.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Yup. Had ’em doctored up by my guys at The Tailoring Room.

        They know what they are doing with denim alts and they have a chain stitch machine to match the denim sewing lines (a lot of tailors don’t).

    • Jack

      Thoughts on Tom Hardy’s cardigan-over-sweater look in Lawless? I tried it out recently when the temps dipped under 20.

    • J Saltzman

      Strong looks, brother! IMO these looks are superb examples of dressing like a man that knows how to get things done and actually lives in his clothes.

      Speaking of “too many buttons”, might consider a write up about how much difference those little things make in creating and keeping a quality wardrobe.

      Keep inspiring!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks J.

        Can you elaborate a little on the post topic you would like to see?

        • J Saltzman

          Yeah Dan,

          Sure some guys switch out shirt or blazer buttons seasonally to achieve a look. Replacing cheaper or unflattering fasteners with high grade ones. Although I won’t go as far as seasonally or per occasion I think small changes like that are an excellent way to get more versatility and mileage from a piece especially when vintage. You mentioned a future budget post so you see where I’m going with this. In other words more custom highlights would make for a good read. It’s fun to see how clever us gents can be, and that’s just our clothes.

    • Bobbyb

      Its all about that coat though. Perfect fit, sharp as you can get. Some contrast – a Gucci turtleneck with an 8 dollar shirt. I look forward to the budget post!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        All about that high/low

    • Alan

      Looking much better with the lapels down Dan ;-)

    • Ashley

      Yet again some serious looks here. Good work.

    • Carter

      You all have been on fire lately with the posts. I’ve found myself digging through the archives for inspiration as well! Continued success for you and your team in the new year! Keep the content coming.
      Be well!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Carter. Have you been using the Style Guide?

        • Luke

          I can’t speak for Carter, but whenever I’ve tried to use the style guide (mostly to find a look/piece from an old post), it hasn’t worked for me.

          • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

            Are you using Internet Explorer? It’s the only browser that doesn’t currently support The Style Guide.

            We’re working on that…even though IE sucks and only 5% of our readers use it to view our site.


            • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

              It also doesn’t work on Mobile devices…yet!

              We have some major upgrades coming to the functionality of The Style Guide in the coming weeks… It’s just in “phase 1” ;)

    • Miguel

      Love the first look, that’s something I’ll wear.

    • TimL

      Great post Dan. I love the look in #2.

      I have many of the George dress shirts when the went on sale. Nice quality shirt and comfortable in my opinion.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Yea, just make sure you hang them to dry after washing…the cheap cloth tends to shrink…

        • Anonymous

          Hmmm… I have had these for 3 yrs and never a problem.
          I have about 20 different shirts by this brand and all holding up well in the wash and iron dept.


    • TO

      Great stuff here Dan! Grooming’s on point, doing a bit more on the hair these days?

      The more the details of the forest green speckled tweed jacket you reveal, the more I love it! Look number one ties in some interesting elements for sure, I especially like how the neckwear echoes the jacket’s detailing!

      Number three is pretty exceptional too, I was playing around the other day with similar layering, but didn’t get something I was satisfied with. Will definitely try again!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks brother.

        Had a hat on earlier that day…so hair was a little frizzy.

        Just like ANYTHING else, getting dressed is a skill that gets better with PRACTICE.

    • Shawn

      Dan; I find it quite interesting to see a Walmart shirt among your posts, seeing the price tag and quality of your usual pieces! Great job! Looks good!

      And I gotta agree with what you said about the movie ‘Lawless’, the looks in the movie are unreal!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Shawn. More on (very) affordable style coming soon.

        And yeah, sick movie.

    • Lothar

      Where can I buy those cigarettes? Which brand is that? It’s really awesome looking!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Everyone’s a comedian.

        • Joe

          I laughed.

    • Z

      Smoking = lame

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier


    • Brady

      You guys are killing it lately, I’ve literally been checking the site everyday for inspiration. This post was right up my alley, considering I just got a tweed blazer, navy chunky cardigan, cord button up, and new raw denim for Christmas.

      Also loving the Warby Parks.. just picked up my second pair. Keep it up gentlemen!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Brady. Sounds like Santa had you on his Really Nice list.

        • Brady


    • Ben

      Great looks, thanks! Just one question — can you explain how you pick the items for the “shop this look” sidebar? They’re clearly not the items you’re wearing. E.g., in the first look, why didn’t you link to the actual Rag and Bone shirt you’re wearing?

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        The Rag & Bone chambray shirt is 3 or 4 years old, it is no longer available online.

        When items are available for sale online, we link directly to them. If not, we sometimes try to find similar, comparable items.

        Keep in mind the clothing featured on this site is from the personal wardrobes of the people featured. Therefore, many of the clothes are from past seasons, or vintage shops, etc…

        Thx for reading.

    • JW

      TSB team – the blog is an absolute smokeshow lately. Keep up the great work.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Player. Our best days are ahead of us.

    • John

      Great looks. I’ve worn something similar to look 1 and look 3 many times this winter. That hat feels right on the last look too.

      Also, after buying a navy shawl cardigan I want to wear it all the time! I should probably buy another one (and a tweed blazer)!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Hate to say I told you so! :)

        Thx for reading.

    • Anonymous

      Great post. You might want to double check your spelling and grammar though.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        I’m on it. Thanks Anonymous.

    • rismomax

      I just bought a corduroy shirt that is the same color as yours in post number two! Was having trouble fitting it into my wardrobe….Off to get a turtleneck!

      Thanks Dan!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        ;) Thanks for reading!

    • Kristopher

      The frequency of quality posts as of late is unreal. Resepct for that. Definitely appreciate having something to distract me from the confines of the office. Wait. What. Look 3 is nasty. This has become my fall winter go-to look. Chunky shawl collar cardigans over waistcoats, chunky shawl cardigans over v-necks, chunky shawl cardigans over cardigans, you get the point. Fire all around. (and Lawless is tooo dope)

    • Mathieu Lavoie

      “The nappy texture of suede shoes was meant for the cold chills of winter.”

      not if winter = snow ;-)

      Looking great mate, very nice post.

      Take care


      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Of course not.

        Thanks for reading Mathieu

    • Matt

      Love the post all of these looks are great. Like the layering, where can I find a hat like the one in the 3rd look? I’ve been looking but can’t find one anywhere.

    • Dave

      Wonderful, wonderful post.

      Thanks for this one Dan.

    • Jules

      Hi, some great looks here – interestingly your felt hat with beaten up brim seems to have taken Pitti Uomo by storm this year.

      Quick question as I’m trying to find a perfect fitting pair of jeans – what’s the hem diameter on your jeans in look 2? They’re not to baggy and not too slim

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Jules. For the record, I been wearing that hat for years :)

        I had those APC’s tapered and hemmed by my boys at The Tailoring Room…the hemline is probably around 15″ in diameter…

        Cheers mate.

      • Ian K

        I’ve taken 3 pairs of old boot cut jeans and had them tapered for a more modern look. It’s not very expensive, and much cheaper than buying new denim. It doesn’t work for every pair due to the fading, but the ones that work, it’s like owning brand new clothes!