How To | Lessons in Layering

With this crazy weather in the Souh, sometimes it's hard to get dressed in the morning. I'm freezing at 7 am and burning up by mid-afternoon. Some days it's pouring rain and others it's the perfect Fall day. Dressing in layers is the easiest solution to all your weather-related outfit problems. However, mastering the art of layering clothes can be tricky! Most women are afraid to layer for fear of adding the illusion of extra weight or bulk. Follow these easy suggestions to help keep that to a minimum, stay warm and still look sleek!

The Basics

If nothing else, remember this: pile on thin layers! The foundation of your outfit should be a lightweight top. You'll add more interest as the layers go on so just pick a solid or other pattern that acts like a neutral such as stripes. Your second layer can be a cardigan, pull-over or sweater. This is the step where you can add a pop of color. Mix in bold patterns or a slightly thicker textured material. But, still try to keep it lightweight because there's a few more layers to go! The third layer will be a coat or jacket. Make this the opposite of layer two, if your sweater is bright or patterned, choose neutral outerwear. If both your foundation layers are neutrals, take this opportunity to add an interesting coat. If you want to be a true fashionista, trade your coat for a cape! Capes remind me of chic Parisian women. Embrace this look, you'll love it! Next up is a scarf. It's an absolute must: the cherry on top! On Fall days where the temperature isn't as cold, you can skip the coat and just opt for a scarf instead. It's a fun layering piece and doubles as an accessory. Speaking of accessories, those are your last layer. If the scarf is the cherry, then accessories are the sprinkles. 

Quick Outfits

Layering is an easy way to remix your closet and make more outfits out of what you already have! One of my favorite looks is to layer a sweater over a button-up shirt. Wear it with jeans and boots for a Saturday afternoon brunch or with a pencil skirt and thick tights to the office. Pay attention to necklines here. If you're layering a sweater over a button-up shirt, make sure the neckline is a V-neck or a lower rounded neck. If the neckline is too high, it will look stuffy. Keep the top button of the shirt open, that elongates the neck and brightens the face.

Adding tights and cardigans is also a great way to get more use out of your summer dresses and winterize them. Another quick outfit is to pair a summer dress with thick stockings and wear a sweater over the top. You can completely cover the dress top to turn it into a skirt or wear an open cardigan or jean jacket with a scarf. A new outfit instantly! Just make sure you pick a dress with darker colors, you don't want to wear summer prints or florals in neon with dark, heavy boots. That's not balanced. 

Tips & Tricks

Layers one and two (a basic shirt plus cardigan or sweater) should be as slim-fitting as possible. You can play with a bit of depth of texture in layer two but try to keep the line of the silhouette as close to your body as possible. 

Texture is great! Mix up materials with varying thickness. It's just another way to add interest. But remember texture can add bulk. One of my favorite ways to add texture is with fur! Whether you go with faux or real, try a fur shawl collar. It's the fastest route to a little glamour and instant sophistication. Another favorite is leather leggings. Leather is so hot for this season (and really always). Leggings are a great layering piece under longer sweaters and the luxurious leather adds dimension to your outfit.

Belts can be your friend or your foe when layering. I have never been a huge supporter of belting coats or thick sweaters as I don't believe that does anything to enhance a woman's shape. But belts can be helpful if worn on top of layer one. That helps to create the illusion of a waistline. Just remember to keep the belt high so that it hits the narrowest part of your waist. 

As always, pay attention to proportion. The length of each item is equally as important. Try a long sleeve striped tee underneath a chunkier sweater with 3/4 sleeves. Let the t-shirt peek out from the bottom of the sweater. Instant glam. Each layer should hit at the right parts of your body, anywhere you want to draw the eye to. As with belts, bring the attention to the narrowest part of your waist, above the hip bones, and the knee.

For those of you who are daring and want to take layering to the next level try wearing a vest over a jacket. A fun, olive-green safari vest is very versatile. I believe it's a neutral Fall essential that every woman should own. Add the vest over a form-fitting blazer for a fashion forward look. 

Hats are also a very interesting layering piece. This season it's all about the floppy hat (think Rachel Zoe) or the structured fedora. Keeping the top of your head covered will keep you extra warm and of course add depth to any outfit.

When in doubt, choose monochromatic colors in deep shades. That will streamline your outfit, help reduce the look of bulk and still allow you to layer up and stay warm.

What other tips do you have for layering?

Images: Bows & Sequins, Atlantic-Pacific, Vogue.com, Monmondefou.com, Joycotton.com


Krystal said...

layering is the best! its what i love about winter :)

Jessica said...

So many great tips. I am trying to practice my layering skills now that the temps have dropped. This post will definitely be helpful.

Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

Heather @ Glitter and Gloss said...

I am loving fur this season!!