Peeling Away the Layers: Layering Made Easy

September 12, 2009 • Magazine

Peeling Away the Layers: Layering Made Easy

Peeling Away the Layers: Layering Made Easy

Sat, 2009-09-12 15:00

Dear Bean:

I have always loved layers, but I feel that a lot of the latest looks are so complicated that I wouldn’t be able to put the final product together without someone to dress and pin me every morning. Is there a way to look edgy and trendy without looking that I’m just trying too hard?

Fashionably Exhausted

Dear Exhausted,

Take a deep breath, kick up your heels, and relax. Following trends can be a full-time job, especially when certain trends step outside your comfort zone. This season we have sweaters over other sweaters, over long sleeve tops over tank tops, over skirts over leggings over leg warmers…and that’s one outfit that doesn’t include accessories. Woosh! Now I’m exhausted!

The most important thing to commit to is your own personal style when shopping around for trendy updates to your wardrobe. If you aren’t comfortable wearing the grandfather sweater over just leggings and calf-boots, then you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so.

Decide on one layering piece that you love, looks fantastic on you, and you know will give a kick to any look you put together. From that look, just start building. For example, if you love a particular vest, maybe try it on with a long-sleeved puff-shoulder top or a peter pan collared short-sleeved blouse underneath. Then try throwing on a cardigan or a scarf and see what comes out of it.

You then have the options of skirt, pants, etc. If you choose a skirt, decide if the look calls for pencil, a-line, or mini, and you can start narrowing down your options. Once you have the skirt, do you want to pair it with stockings, patterned tights, or solid hose? Do you want to have a pair of socks over your hose and perhaps peek out the top of a knee-high boot? Or would pants be a better option and then cinch it all together with a thin belt around your waist?

Think of the layer of the trend not as ten different layers magically forming within your wardrobe. Think of it as playing dress-up around one piece of clothing and picking your favorite result. You can almost compare the process to having a centerpiece on a dining room table and playing mix and match with the tablecloth, Fiestaware and candlesticks.

Yes, there are a lot of questions and sometimes it can get quite frustrating. The process of layering is just that: a process. However once you take the time to pick out a few ensembles based on this process, you can put them together that much more quickly when you’re getting dressed for work in the morning. Just don’t take the time to do this while you’re rushing to make a morning meeting — you might just miss your point of being punctual and your end result may look a bit haphazard, much like your frame of mind. And remember, you are not obligated to layer every piece of clothing that you own. If your outfit looks great in two layers versus five, then stick with two. There isn’t a competition to rival the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man.

So take a different approach and pour yourself a glass of wine and play mix and match with your closet one evening. Fashion is fun remember? Plus this is a great way to discover fresh new looks without going out and buying them! With that being said, happy exploring, and you’ll be trend setting in no time!

1. Anthropology Outfit 5
2. Chloé Stretch Gabardine Pants $625
3. Chloé Silk Pleated Skirt $1,455
4. Vivienne Westwood Red Label Tartan Cotton-blend Asymmetric Skirt $330
5. Anthropology Outfit 1
6. Anthropology Outfit 4
7. A.P.C. Cotton Pleated Shorts $180

Image Layout: Minette Higden

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