Layering 101

Layering is one of those styling rituals, which comes naturally to some and seems like a nightmare to others.

Once layering is mastered it becomes second nature and allows us to hide the parts of our body we don’t want the world to see.
It extends the time of the year we can wear garments, how we wear and to what occasion and allows the reinvention of old favorites that we just can’t bear to part with.

To make layering easy your wardrobe needs to be stocked up with some key basics:

1) Black cardigan: long, short, mid length, any shape and size (a girl can never have too many of these.)
2) Long sleeve and cap sleeved tees in various colours, black and white to start.
3) Tights (3/4 and full length) and/or cigarette trousers.
4) For winter – black or charcoal knitwear basics: polo, crew neck.
5) Black and nude slips.
6) A belt or three: black, brown and one statement belt.
7) A great fitting pair of jeans.
8) A classic, great fitting winter coat.
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These pieces allow you to layer those sheer silk summer tunics with tights and a black cardi for more casual looks with ballet flats.
Throw on some great fitting satin pants with killer heals and your tunic will be ready for a cocktail party.

Basic knits allow your tunic to be worn in the winter months, with a slip and tights or as a dress and with a knit and jeans for a more laid back look.

That gorgeous summer silk dress can be teamed with a great winter coat, tights and belt to brighten up a dreary day in winter. Try teaming it up with a great cardi and thin belt and you have a new outfit for work as well.

A cap sleeve tee can be placed under that gorgeous thin strapped dress you love. This will hide the top of your arms (just can’t seem to make it to the gym these days!)

Got a dress or skirt that is that tiny bit too short (and you are afraid will make you look like mutton dressed as lamb)? Have no fear, this can be worn with some three quarter tights and ballet flats for a more sophisticated and knee covering look.dressleggings

The key to layering is to keep the layers thin, do not try to layer your thick winter jersey under your silk tunic, you will look like the Michelin man. Layering should not make you feel or look bigger than you are, it should complement your shape.

The key to layering (if it’s not your second skin), is to try anything. Sometimes it will work and other times you will end up looking like a bag lady.

Spend an evening or three playing dressups. Take all the clothes you have in your wardrobe, decide what you still can’t part with, and add the above basics if they're missing. And remember just try, try, try on until the layers come together.

If you’re still having trouble, think through your friends. I’m sure at least one friend will stand out as a layering great.

Invite her and a group of friends over and spend sometime over a wine or two inventing new ways to put your clothes together. This will also provide a good opportunity to have a clothes swap.

Sometimes all it takes is fresh pair of eyes and your wardrobe takes on a new lease of life.

Finally – never be afraid to try. There will be disasters, but adding layering to your styling vocabulary will allow you to wear pieces you thought were out of your comfort zone, and double your wardrobe by just adding a few basic pieces.

Good layering and happy practicing.

Alex Carter

Alexandra Apple

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