J.Crew’s Stylist Gayle Spannaus’ Top Tips For Layering Like a Fashion Insider

Leah Bourne
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If anyone has mastered pitch-perfect layering it is J.Crew. Seriously, have you checked out the brand’s catalogue recently? Between models posing in a jean jacket layered under a navy overcoat, or a another in a turtleneck, button-up, and vest, the label has turned layering into something between an art and a science.
Wanting to become layering pros ourselves—the J.Crew way—we went to the source, J.Crew’s Head Stylist Gayle Spannaus, who shared her top layering tips and tricks with us. Besides telling us she is obsessed with puffer vests, the bottom line with layering, she says, is to remember: “There are no set rules for style—style begins and ends with confidence.” Here, 6 of her insider secrets for layering clothes. Follow along, take notes, and you’ll be a layering expert in no time.
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Photo: Stolkholm Street Style

 1. Start with color.
“We always start with a color tone and keep it within that family of color,” Spannaus told us. “If you’re layering neutrals, keep it neutral. If it’s jewel tones, keep it jewel tones. That’s always a good rule to go back to when in doubt. That said, a piece that stands out can be wonderful too.”
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Photo: Le Fashion Image

 2. Proportions are key. 
“A general guideline we sometimes use with layering outerwear is that the hem of the coat should not extend too far below the hem of the dress, unless it’s almost to the ground—proportions are so important.”
Street Style - Day 8 : Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015

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3.Have fun with mixed and matched prints.
“We love mixing up prints in different scales—a large print [for instance] with something small,” Spannaus said. “Alternatively, it can be the same scale but different or inverted colors. If you want to be daring you can do scales of stripes and checks or plaids and polka dots. When mixing prints and patterns, keep one thing the same, like colors and tone, which will make the look feel pulled together and thoughtful.”
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Photo: Street Peeper

4. Layer light with heavy.
“Textural changes are incredibly important,” Spannaus shared. “Wear something light with something heavy like cashmere and silk, but don’t wear heavy and bulky together.”
Yigal Azrouel - Front Row - Fall 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

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5. Don’t be afraid to pair multiple jackets together.
“Multiple jackets are a great way to layer,” Spannaus said. “An anorak under a heavier coat, for example, gives femininity to an oversized jacket and adds a mix of texture to a look. A puffer vest over a blazer is perfect for fall. We love mixing up layers of outerwear!”
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Photo: La Modella Mafia

 6. When in doubt, layer with a scarf. 
“There is not one magic tip [to layering]—but this season we love scarves,” Spannaus shared. “A scarf is such a great finishing touch when you’re not up to layering jewelry and it can be worn and layered so many different ways.”

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