With Spring still trying to make an appearance, most of us have yet to say goodbye to our winter clothes. Now as someone who feels the cold, wearing warm outfits is essential, but I so long to wear my Spring wardrobe. To that end, I’ve recently focused more on wearing several lighter layers.
I love layering because it adds depth to a look. It’s more involved and hence you can create more interesting and original looks.
It’s easy to just take a top off the rail and wear it but if you wear a layer underneath, then put a cardigan over and a belt round it before finishing with a necklace or scarf – suddenly you’ve added a personal touch and made the top your own whilst creating a much more stylish layered outfit (not to mention a warmer one).
Investing in a wardrobe of layers
Many of my clients express a desire to make their look more stylish and interesting but often confess they struggle to know how to layer an outfit. I always encourage them to focus on developing a broad collection of layers – think of them as an extension of your accessories wardrobe.
For example, I recommend investing in the following:
- numerous types of base layering tops (e.g. long, 3/4 or elbow length sleeved tops; vest tops; blouses and shirts)
- various styles of necklines (e.g. scoop-, square-, crew- and roll-neck, collared)
- several interesting colours (the majority should be in colourful accent shades rather than just plain neutral ones)
- varying thickness to suit the climate
- different fabrics and textures (e.g. cotton, wool, silk, satin, velvet, denim, cordroy, leather etc.)
- innumerable layers to wear over tops (e.g. jumpers, tank tops, waistcoats and the most versatile of all cardigans)
- many options for legwear (e.g. leggings, jeggings, skinny jeans, thick tights, knee length socks)
- a few stylish outerwear items for when you head out (e.g. blazers, gilets, hoodies, leather jackets)
- plenty of colourful accessories to finish the look (e.g. scarves, necklaces, belts, broaches)
Right now I’m chiefly wearing my fine roll-necks under a variety of tops and dresses, which work with everything as they don’t interfer with the neck line. I also love to layer my tights (one colourful plain pair peaking through a knitted crocheted pair) and finished off with a scarf. Not only do the layers add maximum warmth they also dress down the overall outfit creating an alternative look.
There are particular brands that are great for layering tops, such as Wolford, Mint Velvet, COS, All Saints, Uniqlo, Zara, GAP and H&M.
A few rules
Now in theory a layered outfit should have an air of effortless style, like you’ve just thrown it together with little thought or precision. However for many (at least at the beginning), I recommend you follow a few rules and adopt a more deliberate approach.
Here are a few tips to ensure you don’t get into trouble:
- Keep your base layer fine, providing a smooth line underneath
- Ensure your base layer is in someway visible (otherwise it defeats the point) – whether it be a visible collar, cuff, or a longer hemline
- Avoid clashing necklines, if the item you’re layering has a low neckline opt either for a base layer with a lower scooped neckline that’s invisible or a roll-neck which equally won’t interfer, alternatively if the neckline is plain opt for a collared layer to wear under. Equally make sure the layer over the top works with the neckline.
- Limit the number of layers to approx 3-4 (and be sure to keep them fine if you have a fuller shape)
- Try to add at least 1-2 contrasting colourful layers to the outfit, however I don’t recommend this for all four layers at the very least opt for tonally similar shades (i.e. teal, turquoise, aqua and mint)
- The trend recently has been to wear clashing patterns, however for the average wardrobe I would say one patterned layer will work best – easier and timeless
- Incorporate a variety of fabrics and textures in a single layered outfit to add interest and richness to the look
- Ensure different fabric finishes complement the overall look and suit the occasion (i.e. for dressier outfits perhaps choose a sheer or lace layering top, rather than a basic t-shirt fabric top – which on another occasion could dress down the dress for a daytime look)
Why not check out How to Master Layering and give your Personal Style a Boost Part 2 in which I share some Clever Tricks and How to Make The Most of Your Budget.
Want a hand in creating your wardrobe of layers?
If you’d like to discover what colours will ensure you look great on you and what styles will suit and flatter your shape then you may be interested in my personal styling services - Colour Analysis & Style Analysis - for women, or Style Analysis for Men. To build your wardrobe of layers you can follow on with (or cut straight to) a Women’s Personal Shopping session or Men’s Personal Shopping session.
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