I have an amazing friend embarking on a new career. After not needing a super professional wardrobe, she now has to look sophisticated but relatable for her adventure. She knows the key can be layering but isn’t sure how to start. So for today’s Fashion Friday, we’re loving layers and amping up our fall fashion.
I tackle layering like I did when I played with paper and magnet dolls as a kid:
- Take staple wardrobe basic – think neutral grays, navys, taupes, and blacks on bottom (or top);
- Pair with interesting fabric/color/patter, preferably one;
- Layer under or over the focus piece with a complimentary color (e.g., bright silk paisley blouse marries with a navy cardigan or blazer);
- Add an interesting accessory (don’t overpower your outfit – if you have a big belt, let it be the feature. Think of all your options: necklace, earring, scarf, shoes, belt, handbag, and make sure they work together).
Here are some of my favorite ways to layer an outfit to yield a professional, but not formal, style. Not only does layering give you endless wardrobe possibilities with fewer pieces, it adds sophistication to every outfit because it showcases your creativity and ability to don more than a uniform of a jacket and pair of pants.
This first example shows how simple neutrals can create an interesting outfit with texture from the vest, the pop of orange plaid from the shirt, and the cute booties. Because the watch and handbag are oversized, everything else is simple; earrings, makeup, even colors remain muted.
I offer this next option up with caution. It is such a great idea but be very careful about proportion here. If you carry extra weight in the middle, adding bulk like a scarf under a belt could be troublesome. But otherwise, the idea of a scarf belted over a coat is a clever way to layer in a unique way. If it’s the wrong proportion for you, not just the big belt but the oversized coat (better for tall girls, less flattering for petite women), then still play with belts of different shapes and sizes and wear it under your layering piece.
Focus on the woman in the middle with the mixed patterns. Instead of playing with textures and colors, she kept the textures and colors the same on top and bottom, and she played with pattern to great effect. A pretty floral in fall colors on bottom with a sailor stripe on top. To accessorize, she stayed neutral but added texture with a camel scarf, simple silver necklace, and brown suede booties. A simple fix to layer with accessories.
Ignore the hat in this next example, but this is a lovely idea for colder climates (you can very rarely marry a blazer and sweater down in Texas). Note all the elements: pop of color in the blouse with a complimentary color in the sweater, neutral but pattered blazer with rich neutral trouser; plus the dangling earrings are the singular “bold” accessory.
I’m personally in love with red pants right now. I just got a pair from Banana Republic I’m doing flips over. This is a great illustration of playing with your statement piece on bottom. Red pants with a denim blouse and then a classic pattern pops in her animal print sweater. Her one layering accessory is a great mix of long strand necklaces which I’m also a big fan of using to glam up an outfit.
Don’t be afraid to mix colors and patterns this fall and try out some new layering options. It’s a great way to amp up your style quotient and expand your wardrobe.