Layering. It’s one of those things in fashion that is sometimes necessary (because of weather changes), sometimes amazing (think the Gucci runway, that gives me ALL the heart eyed emojis in the world), and sometimes an absolute BEAST to figure out how to get right. To be honest, I think it’s hilarious when people compliment me on my layering skills, because I have been known to be the anti-layerer. When it comes to weather, I am terrible at figuring out how to layer. But when it comes to layering for fun fashion purposes, I’ve learned to overcome some of my layering phobias. Because it is sometimes a struggle for me, I thought I could share some tips to maybe help you think outside the box or even just get started with layering some things you already have in your closet…or need to go thrifting for, am I right?
When I was in high school, I stretched ALL the necks out on my shirts. If something was tight in the armpits, I wouldn’t wear it. I wore a simple v neck t shirt and jeans, tennis shoes and a sweatshirt (hooded of course). My dress code options were highly limited and the style at the time was more Oops I Did It Again than Private School Appropriate. No way was I wearing plaid mini skirts and combat boots (although that would have been totally awesome) to school when my skirts were getting measured all the time. Once a girl had to wear a towel around her waist as punishment since her skirt was an inch too short and no one was available to bring her a change of clothing. Heck to the no was a gonna risk being “terry cloth chic” for a day when I could just dress kind of dorky and, well, NOT wear a towel as my attire. I hated being hot (like I do now), I hated things touching my neck (claustrophobia applies to clothing too, you guys), and I hated not being comfortable. Now…well let’s just say that I’ll overcome the comfort thing for fashion if need be often. Unless it applies to heels. I just can just only RARELY do it you guys, it jus hurts too much!!
So now that you have some background on my layering history, you know that I wasn’t some born layer-er and rocking super cool blazers over vests over ruffly shirts…no no no. I had to learn to layer, overcome my fears of things touching my neck, and wear super powered hippie deodorant to deal with my sweaty, um, armpit situation. Let me share with you some simple thoughts to help you out with your next layering venture!
- Layering is a lot about shapes. I hated geometry you guys, like VERY MUCH. Layering is like geometry for clothes. Since there are no numbers involved, I can deal. The shape of the top that is the base layer has to be compatible with what’s going on top of it. A dolman sleeve is bad for layering because how can something go on top of a sleeve that goes all the way down to your waist? When you’re looking at base layers, think collared button downs, turtlenecks, simple t shirts, or blouses that have a puffed sleeve (as long as it is tighter at your armpit than a dolman or peasant shape!) It’s also excellent if your base layer has a sleeve as opposed to a tank top…it adds more to whatever’s going on top. Now that you’ve chosen a good shape for a base layer, what’s going on can be pretty flexible since the base layer is the correct shape. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it’s often better if the base layer is tighter rather than loose. Unless you’re adding something open and flowy on top of it, it will be more flattering if your under layer is snugger! The opposite of this “rule” (there are no rules, only suggestions!) is to look on Free People and you’ll see all kinds of flowy madness layered over more flowy madness. Adorable, but often highly unflattering. So…it’s kind of a personal taste thing.
- Layering is also about colors. There are absolutely NO RULES on color/pattern mixing except for one. If it looks good together, it GOES TOGETHER. Most people aren’t super comfortable with mixing patterns, but it’s a really fun thing to do! Florals and plaids are often excellent together. Polk a dots can be really cute with florals too! Honestly the only way to tell is to actually put the two items of clothing together and see if they get along. Sometimes they fight for attention, and sometimes they make each other more beautiful! If you’re freaked by the idea of pattern mixing, try using a neutral plaid or something as a base and put a floral with it. It will be less crazy than a lot of colors vying for attention.
- Buy layering “pieces” and reuse them constantly. This is probably one of the best things I have ever done for my layering phobias. I have bought some lace vest shaped tank tops and I wear them over dresses, collared shirts, and anything that strikes my fancy. I have them in black, white, and rust brown…good neutral colors for my closet. I have some basic button downs…plaid, gingham, stripes, and polk a dot…that I use as “under” layers. Lace makes an excellent top layer, as it adds texture to whatever’s underneath, it’s lightweight, and it will show through a bit what’s underneath which adds interest. Short sleeved sweaters go nicely over button down tops. Even tank tops can be used as a layer over something if it’s the right shape or fabric. Vintage slips are my favorite top layer right now…and even those vintage slip camisole tops you see at thrift stores would make for super cute “vests” over dresses or button downs. Before I bought those tops that I reuse constantly, I thought through all the things they might go over so that when I got them, I’d have a lot of outfit ideas already!
- Get inspiration from Instagram/magazines/blogs. So many girls out there are so genius with layering! I have found ideas that I never ever would have thought of by screenshotting a photo I see on Instagram and finding pieces that work for that look.
- Buy the basics. An idea of things that you could load your closet with to mix and match…blazers, vests (sweater, denim, button down, lace…whatever your particular style is!), button down shirts/flannels, kimonos or dusters, vintage slips, basic t shirts. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop I promise!!
Be brave, be bold, and just go for it! When I originally thought to try this vest and this top (both vintage), I actually didn’t think they were going to work at all. But when I put them together, something magical happened. They looked better together than they did apart! Even if you think it may be wrong, just give it a try. You never know, you might make magic! These earrings are from Southbound in Etsy and they’re amazing. They come in all colors and I want them all!
Happy midweek all you lovely ladies!