Layering is creative way to add interest (and warmth!) to an outfit, a lethal fashion combination for the fall and winter seasons. Even better is that when done correctly, layers can be slimming – whether you want to emphasize a tiny waist or pull the eye away from problem areas like the thighs and stomach. What’s not to love?
The Secret to Chic Casual Layers
Always start with three.
Three key pieces on the top half of the body is all it takes to look effortlessly put-together. Oddly enough, two just doesn’t work; it always feels like like something is missing. Notice that all of the outfits in the image above (pulled from the How to Wear: Layers Pinterest board) have three distinct layers.
Oversized T-shirt + structured wool coat + scarf
Lacy dress + faux leather moto jacket + scarf
Button down + faux fur vest + scarf
Textured knit sweater + blazer + scarf
One more secret: Vary the lengths of the layers. This will elongate the body and add visual interest. If all of the pieces hit at exactly the same place, the look can come off as bulky or messy.
Use Texture and Pattern to Add Interest
When starting out, an easy way to create layers that work well together is to choose a neutral color pallet and just add texture. For example, try a black cami under a black lace racerback tank and a black open-front cardigan (all in varying lengths). Another simple option is to add layers in different shades of the same hue.
Once comfortable with the monochromatic approach, be daring and try using pieces with color and pattern. View our article on Mixing Color and Pattern for some ideas.
The Next Step
Mastered the basic three-layer look? Feel free take it further but remember not to overdo it. Try four layers, or even five. If you fear you’ve gone overboard, keep Coco Chanel’s advice in mind: “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” Although it’s not necessary to always take this literally, it’s helpful to keep in mind.
Lastly, try adding layers to the bottom half of your body.
Skinny jeans + chunky wool socks (scrunched, NOT pulled up) + ankle boots
Tights or leggings + over-the-knee socks + knee-high boots
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