Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Layer

My sister suggested I do a post on layering. I don't know when I started doing it, but it seems like most times I never wear all one color or all one fabric or all one style. I like to mix and match pieces, creating new outfits from old ones, and I rarely repeat mixes. This was such a foreign concept to my mom that she started having me over to "re-match" her clothes for her. She calls what I come up with "combinations" when responding to compliments from friends. Really, it's an easy way to spice up your wardrobe without having to shop (now you're listening aren't you...).

1. Separate any sets---that means suits (pants and skirts from jackets) and twin sweater sets (wear them separate as a vest and a cardigan).
2. Organize your closet by color. That way you can have a better visual of your wardrobe.
3. Organize your belts. Mine are in the Elfa drawer divider like I described here.
4. Organize your tanks/shells. Make sure you have basic tops that will work with a patterned outfit like solid black, white, brown, grey..
5. Decide what your favorite bottoms are to wear. I have a couple pencil skirts and a couple pairs of pants and a couple dresses that I love any day. I would lay all those out on my floor.
6. Pick your favorite tops. These could be blouses, tees, or knits.
7. Match them up with an "unexpected" bottom. This could even mean navy with black..or brown with black..or black, grey, and navy together! Or throw in some color...
8. Add a cardigan, vest, or jacket (or 2 out of 3). Layering is all about multiple pieces. You can turn a basic tee into an accent color by adding a cardigan with a belt over it. You can play down a silk ruffle top with a more casual cardigan.
9. Don't stick to your original matches. After a while I go back to my mom's and re-shuffle her clothes because she'll get stuck on one or two favorite "combinations". Don't get stuck! Make this a starting point to future closet creativity!
10. Pair with shoes---boots, pumps, booties, wedges (which will be big for Spring/Summer), flats. Put on textured tights to add to the outfit if it seems safe.

You probably guessed I'd post pictures from JCrew and Anthropologie as examples. They are pros at mixing unexpected mediums and coming out with fantastic results.

Did you notice all that is going on here? An oxford over a tee, only one button fastened, chunky necklace, classic blazer, jean shorts. So many textures and yet it works!
One of my favorites. The look of the skirt downplays the sequin top. The cardigan softens the rugged booties!
Hello! A safari-like jacket with a silk skirt? Can we say random and cool combination? Paired with wedges, it is probably an unexpectedly comfortable outfit.
I love the delicate silk top/soft cardigan/jewelry with chino shorts!
To be honest, I don't know if I'll ever get on the tie-for-girls wagon, but the fact that she has a gingham button down, classic cardigan, shorts, tie AND jewelry on should give her some kind of award.
She has a soft tee, a girly blouse, cropped trousers, heels, and textured jewelry. Love the look!
Dress, lacy shell peaking out underneath, long soft sweater, long necklace to go with the length of the sweater, and interesting flats!

Uhhh, hello texture! The bow tie skirt with a blouse and multi-colored, textured cardigan AND green textured tights. If that's not creative layering I don't know what is.

Was this helpful?


  1. To go with your layering post I tried my best to layer today..I have a black tank under a teal dress topped with a Grey long sweater bought together with a red belt and topped it all with black tights and flats ..be proud for moving your reader to experiment and take risks :)

  2. I love the short looks, so cute Ann!

  3. I am sooo into layering. great post girl! I have had my eye on that second look! love it.

  4. very helpful! and i agree-- boo to ties on girls! love #6 & #8!


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