5 lessons in how to layer

posted on: Thursday, 25 January 2018

Last week I shared the above photo on Instagram and had a plethora (oooh, look at me using the big words) of DMs and emails from you guys asking whether I could share some tips for layering and a general how to layer guide. So here we go, but this does come with a disclaimer. As with all things in fashion, you need to dress for your shape, your comfort and your "feel fabulous" moment. While I'm happy to share tips on how I layer, please know these are tips I use for myself. They are by no means the rules of layering, they are rather the rules I have set for myself after many missteps along the way... and trust me, there have been many mistakes made. Sadly all those pictures and any evidence of me looking like a layering potato have been burned! Ha! So, here we go... my five tips for layering the perfect outfit


1. Layer from thinnest to heaviest piece of clothing

This is the one rule that seems like a no brainer, but I'm taking no chances here. Layering in general is just easier, don't you think, if you aren't trying to pile shirts on top of thick wool sweaters? I mean just picture it! Must google this. I'm sure there's a picture out here somewhere of this style of layering. 

2. Play with colours and textures

Layering is most fun when done in combination. Sure, a chic head to toe colour palette can look fabulous (and fabulously slimming as well... don't hate me because I said that. I have an enormous arse which sometimes I like to slim, so kill me!). But, I am always most envious of the looks that incorporate a combination of items that is most unexpected. Let's say pairing a pop of pink with a rich camel, or putting a pinstripe with a plaid. It doesn't work all the time, and that's why my bed is constantly piled a mile high with clothes. When it does work, however, it's a moment of pure fashion joy. So I'll say it again, and you know I've said it a million times before, find your fun with layering. But, make sure you experiment with the combos of colours and textures. Remember, the goal here is to create your own style, not completely rip off someone else's. 

3. Choose a colour palette and stick to it from top to toe

Now, we are heading down a much more personal road, where I talk about my preferences that I have developed over the years. When I layer, I like to stick with a palette of colours. Note, I didn't say one colour (all the time at least) but rather a general grouping of colours. I will tend to go bright, bold with textures or neutral with colour. Seldom do I do them all in combination. The look you see here was a neutral palette, full of deep colours that, as my friends on the day said "all seemed to come straight from nature." Gotta love fashion pals. But, I also had another trick tied into the outfit, which I almost always do when layering with more than two pieces....

4. Pick an item that pulls all the articles of clothing together

In my hand, I am carrying a scarf. This was actually wrapped around me for warmth before this picture was taken. This item was sort of my inspiration for the colours and textures in the outfit. The green, camel and black, even the tweed, are all reflected in the scarf and I feel like it ties the entire outfit together. When I am really random with my colours (which isn't necessarily applicable to this outfit), I find one accessory or pattern that can tie in all the other elements of my outfit, bringing the look together fabulously. 

5. Remember your waist or a narrow point somewhere on you, even if it's just your ankles

So what's the difference between you wearing layers and or the layers wearing you? Often, I find it's a focal point. If everything is too oversized, overloaded and just large in general, the eye will just look side to side in an outfit. With any outfit, you can tell it's a winner if your eyes go up and down to take in the full effect. You want people admiring every inch of your ensemble from foot to forehead right? So, you need to either create an hourglass with the waist or provide a line (of sorts) to get the eye moving up and down again. This sounds crazy, and I'm not sure if the point is coming across. But next time you try on an outfit and you hate it, take time to see where your eyes are going. If they are taking in the length of your own ensemble, you have a winner. Try it and get back to me.

What I'm layering in this post: