Cheat Sheet: 5 Easy Tricks to Pulling Off a Layered Look

Hanah Snavely

From tartan-centric, grunge-inspired looks to ethereal, boho babe ensembles, layers are definitely having a moment. Furthermore, Spring 2014 runways were filled with skirts over pants, (yes, really), and dresses over skirts, which proved that this trend is no flash in the pan. So, as the weather cools and the days dim earlier, we say bring the layers on.

To get the multidimensional look while erring more babe-ly than bulky, try these 5 tricks to pulling off a layered look this season.

Photo by Stockholm Street Style

Photo by Stockholm Street Style

1. Create definition.
Unless you’re a supermodel, bulk is not your friend. Start slim with a base layer that gives you definition, like skinny jeans or a body con shift, and work out from there. If you’re wearing something chunky as a top, opt for something slim and form-fitting on the bottom. Dress over skirt? Keep the under layer form-fitting and the overlay loose.

Photo from Pinterest.

Photo from Pinterest.

2. Stick to streamlined.
The golden rule of layering is to keep your outermost layer your longest layer, and working in from there. As always, there are exceptions to this rule (for example: shorter dresses can look really chic over slightly longer dresses, especially when the fabric and hues are in the same family), but generally, pair your skinny pants with a top, add a vest, and top with a long trench and you really can’t go wrong.

Photo by Creators of Desire.

Photo by Creators of Desire.

3. Mix materials.
Avoid potential dowdiness by playing with weight and textures. Leather and chiffon, wool and cotton, latex and cotton, etc., will keep a look fresh and won’t weigh you down. And always keep in mind that light billowy fabrics like silk and chiffon make for great layering pieces that create movement.

Photo by Parisx3.
Photo from Pinterest.

Photo from Pinterest.

4. Keep it in the color family.
You can go relatively crazy with your layers, as long as you’re mixing tone on tone hues. Varying shades of white and cream is always classic, while blue hues pair easily, even in tougher fabrics like denim. If you’re going wild with pattern, keep the prints small when mixing, or limit a loud print to just one piece.

layered look 5

Photo by Collage Vintage.

5. Limit your layers.  
4 is the magic number in any layered look. Think: slim fitting trouser, oversized oxford shirt, sweater vest, and coat draped across the shoulders. And don’t be shy with incorporating a piece de resistance: an statement coat in a brilliant hue, wild printed leggings, or blouse in an unexpected shape that really brings it all together. Or, for dimension without the bulk, a statement scarf is always your friend.

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