Fall Style: Layering

By Esther Tam
Photos: Refinery29, Pinterest-refinery29, Pinterest-akoglanoglu, Pinterest-thestyleup

As fall is in full swing, we are faced with a daily challenge to dress ourselves every morning in a look that will keep us warm, look cute, and allow us to easily add or subtract layers (because in Boston, the weather always changes on us without a warning!). How can we achieve this feat? Layering, my friends, is the answer! The art of layering and looking effortlessly chic is a tough style to master, but it is doable with these 3 easy steps!

1. Basic pieces: To keep your outfit from looking too messy and busy, start with basic pieces such a plain t-shirt, tank or dress. This basic piece acts as a base to layer on more color, patterns, and detailed pieces on top.

2. Add more layers: From your base piece, add on other layers such as a plaid shirt tucked under a cardigan, a collared shirt peeping out from a knit sweater, or a cardigan worn under with a blazer. This may sound difficult, but by properly layering (thin to thick, basics to outerwear) and tucking strategically, you will be able to get everything to look just right!

3. Add accessories: To complete the look, go load on the accessories! Scarves, beanies, long chain necklaces, and knee high socks galore! Don’t be afraid to be creative with your choice of accessories and wearing multiple. That’s what makes the outfit more interesting and cute!

This fashionista starts with a basic white t-shirt, layers over a plaid shirt, and adds tons of accessories from a scarf and beanie to amazing arm candy and cute booties!

Tips on how to get it right and looking fabulously chic!

1. Start with thin layers: Yes, you heard me right. Although our objective is to stay warm, when layering two, let alone three, super thick sweaters over one another, you end up looking bulky and frumpy. You probably won’t feel very comfortable either. Thus, choose thin layers that can be easily worn on top of one another, then add on bulkier layers to keep you cozy and warm!    

2. Neutral tones: To avoid looking like you got attacked by a crayon box, layer with neutrals such as black, gray, and tan. Because these colors are more subdued, when layered together, they do not look too bright or intense and overpower each other. When adding pops of color, start out small by sticking to one color family (shades of red) or choosing between warm (red, yellow, and orange) and cool (blue, green, and purple) tones.

3. Balance patterns with solids: If you want to throw in some patterns, you will need to get a little more strategic about how you layer. It’s okay to layer patterns such as florals, but to keep your outfit looking cohesive, match the colors of your basics with the colors in the floral. Don’t be afraid to even mix more than one pattern, but choose patterns that compliment each other, for example, stripes and checkers or polka dots and stripes.

4. Play with fabric: Layering different fabrics adds depth and dimension to your outfit, and simply put, it just makes your outfit look that much more interesting and fashionable! Experiment with materials like fur, leather, knits, and chiffon. Furs and knits go great layered over clothing, and leather and chiffon work great layered underneath other clothing.

5. Experiment with proportions: Layering can also be effective when layering with different proportioned clothing–start with smaller, fitted pieces on the inside and work your way out. For example, wear an oversized sweater over a fitted shirt or an extra long, loose cardigan over a skirt or dress.

Here are some examples to give you a better idea on how to layer:

This model rocks an amazing winter patterned oversized sweater over another thinner sweater worn over a denim shirt.
Layer on the color (not just the layers) like the model in this outfit for Madewell F/W 2012. The red knit sweater brings out the red in the brocade pants, tying the whole outfit together. Love!
Don’t pack away your favorite dresses just yet! Layer a cozy sweater over and even throw on some tights and leg warmers to wear your favorite dress into the fall!
Neutral tones flow seamlessly together in this outfit, with hints of yellow and orchid sprinkled in to add some fun!
I couldn’t help but throw in a picture of me layering to show how simple it is to do. I started with a thin basic tank, doubled up on my cardigans, and added a long chain necklace and plaid scarf that brings out the red in my outfit!

After reading all these tips, you must be wondering, layering seems like so much work, how can it be effortlessly chic? Well, my fellow fashionistas, sometimes looking good takes some time and extra effort, but in the end, you will be so happy you did!

Stay chic! (And warm!)

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