By Michaela Courand-
Have you tried layering, only to be dissatisfied with the result? Have you wondered how to make one outfit work for chilly mornings, warm days, and cold evenings? Did you ever end up feeling like you were stuffed into your clothing? No one wants to look or feel like a sausage, and no one wants to melt! If anything like this happened to you, the reason is because “layering” is about more than just layers. If you simply put on multiple pieces, it probably won’t look the way you intend. Layering is a wonderful fashion trend that people enjoy year after year in the fall and winter seasons. It’s a great look and serves an important purpose, but it can be tricky to accomplish. Similar to other aspects of fashion, it helps to know a few simple things and have an idea of what you want in order to enjoy your outfit.
Layering does start with multiple pieces, but I also highly recommend different lengths, colors, and textures. Sounds tough, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be! I will give you an easy guide to follow.
Here’s how to start, relate it to peeling an onion. When you peel back the many layers, you will find the center. Similarly, a layered outfit starts with a base outfit that you can wear on its own. The base outfit is the foundation for the layers you will put over it. Because the Bay Area is warm in the afternoon, you can choose short sleeves for a base outfit. The warmth of the day is an ADVANTAGE! Many don’t get that luxury. If you would rather wear long sleeves as a base, then I recommend a thin thermal. However, choose a loose fit because a tight fit can be too warm midday. A nice feature of the thermal is that you get a bit of texture too.
Next, pick a simple bottom piece. It is preferable to choose a very dark color that will contrast with your top piece. Since California has warm days, you can pair your top with a nice short mini skirt or skater skirt. If you aren’t a skirts kind of gal, you can pair the top with dark wash jeans, black jeans, or even leggings if you want to add a bit of comfort. Whatever you do, the emphasis for the bottom is on dark colors to create distinction with the layers.
Now you need the layers that will go over your base outfit and you can take off and put back on as the temperature changes. I recommend a light layer to wear on top, such as an anorak jacket, or perhaps a vest. The anorak jacket or vest is great because it tends to be longer, so there is a length contrast with your base outfit’s top. Also, the jacket or vest often has a hood you can pull up if it gets too cold. If you choose a top layer with faux fur inside, you get another texture and more warmth. Vests are a great option because they are less formal and add just the right amount of warmth due to the lack of sleeves. Because vests are a casual piece, I wouldn’t recommend leggings. You would look a bit too comfy. Often, this one top layer is enough. You have the color contrast, several different textures, and layers you can put on and take off.
I would refrain from adding another full layer unless it is a really cold day. If you feel your outfit needs something else, you could add a scarf. It’s great for chilly mornings and cool nights, is easy to take on and off, and adds the perfect stylish touch. Make sure you choose a scarf that complements your other choices. If your other pieces are warm, then a light scarf might be best. And, if your other pieces are lighter, then choose a thick textured scarf to add warmth.
Layering is a learned skill that takes practice to get right. So don’t stress if you don’t quite get it right the first time you try! One of the great things about layering this way is that you are picking pieces one at a time, so you can play with the order and adjust things. Trying different combinations will help you find what works best for you!