Layering seems easy, but it can be challenging. There’s a certain balance to layering one must observe because there is such thing as too many layers or not enough. I’m from Los Angeles where layering is everywhere but is not necessarily the type of layering you do to keep warm. It’s more for fashion sake; therefore I’ve had some practice. The easiest ways to approach layering is building onto an already existing, simple outfit and add on in stages. If you start taking items from every category and slapping them on to your outfit the result will be a fashion overload. I tried to lie out the steps for warm and cold weather and added pictures so you can apply this process all year round. I hope it helps, enjoy!
Step one: Start with a base outfit- Start off with a simple base of clothing that consists of a top and a bottom. For example: shorts and a t-shirt, tights and a dress, jeans and a tank, etc. You want the base to be minimal so that you have something to build on without having TOO many layers. Think of it like cooking. You don’t add all the ingredients in a pan at one time, you add them one at a time to build the flavor then taste. When you add items in one by one, you can build your outfit and see if it looks good. I started out with a tank from Forever 21 in which I cut the sleeves off, WESC jeans and my Lita shoes. This outfit isn’t the best on its own but as layers are added, the outfit improves.
Step two: Adding your first layer- If you’re experiencing warmer weather, you want to think light layers, such as a cardigan or a vest for your second layer. If you’re in colder weather you might as well go all the way with thick sweaters and knits. Be careful that your second layer isn’t too thick, you don’t want to feel constricted when you add on a top layer. (You also don’t want to look like a stuffed marshmallow. :) ) Try and pair colors and/or prints that complement each other but don’t match exactly because the layers won’t have the dimension that you want, they will blend. Choose a layer that will peek through under a jacket or sweater but will not cover your base outfit completely. A plaid button up will do in this category, as the print will break up the solid colors of the bottom and top layers, if you choose that route. I put on a maroon and cream American Apparel cardigan because the maroon complimented the gray and red on the shirt but didn’t match the red on the shirt exactly. I also liked how the maroon on the wrists would peak out of the top layer’s sleeves.
Step three: Adding top layer- As stated in step 2, if it’s warm you can add a light jacket or blazer on top, but if it’s cold add a leather jacket or coat. You want your top layer to be your anchor piece meaning it should be bold and hold the layers down. It should act as the “cherry on top”, the final piece to the puzzle, the strong statement of your look. Solid colors make the best top layers otherwise the print will conflict with the shown layers and appear as if there is too much going on. Although this is not always the case, it’s generally a good rule to follow. As I said earlier, I’m from LA where it is not that cold and for that reason I added a blazer to my outfit. This Zara blazer is a bold statement piece not only because of the soft looking, suede fabric but also because of the shoulder pads that sharpen up my shoulders. The cardigan is still peaking out; giving it some color and contrast, while the color and shape of the blazer compliments both pieces under it.
Step four: adding accessories- Hats, leg warmers, scarves, belts, socks, knee highs, and gloves all fall into this category. Accessories are fun and should be played with but be careful because they can get out of hand. They should be complimentary to the outfit and not taking away from it. Belts are always a nice way to add shape and you can use them in a few ways; a belt over a cardigan and shirt gives the look a silhouette. Under the cardigan but over the shirt is slimming, this way it cinches your waist as the cardigan drapes over your body making it appear smaller. Limit yourself when you venture into bulkier items like hats, legwarmers and scarves. I would say take maximum of three items from the accessories category for your look. I decided to put leg warmers and a scarf on because it’s been chilly. I liked the print on the scarf and thought it gave the outfit some pizzazz and the legwarmers added some bulk to the long layers on my torso.
Step five: Adding jewelry- Jewelry should be the last items you add because like accessories, jewelry should be complimentary to the outfit and not give it a slow death. Cocktail rings are a nice subtle touch and so are elegant necklaces. Bracelets are hard when you have long sleeves on; if your long sleeve is thin, add them over the sleeve. If you have a jacket on: loose the bracelets, they don’t get seen anyway. Friendship bracelets can work under a jacket or an elegant bangle,but nothing bulky. Earrings are tricky. I always follow these rules: if you have a scarf or neck item on: omit. If you have your hair up and nothing on your neck: put those puppies on. I kept the jewelry really simple for this particular outfit because as you can see, there is a lot going on already. I paired 2 rings with it and that’s it. Like I said, the bracelets won’t show, I’m wearing a scarf so there is no need for a necklace and earrings would just blend into the scarf being an overkill neck situation. In my opinion, rings are a must and are perfect with every outfit.
Layering is about balance much like anything in fashion, as they say less is more. Layering should look effortless and be appealing. I hope these tips helped break down the process and make it a little easier to work with.