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Layering 101 & Three No-Fail Layering Formulas

Fall was a season designed for layers and today my Layering 101 guide will have you dressing for variable weather like a pro! Come learn the basics and check out three of my no-fail layering formulas.

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Layering 101: The Basics

The trick to comfortable layering is to avoid unnecessary bulk. With that in mind, here are a few tips:

  • Look for close-fitting (but not tight) base layers (tees, tanks, blouses).
  • For a mid-layer sweater, look for warm but thin fabrics like merino wool, silk, and cashmere.
  • Consider going slightly oversized in your outermost layer.
  • For layering blouses or button downs under sweaters, look for lighter, flexible fabrics like silk, rayon or tencel. If you love the look of broadcloth, there are some bodysuits on the market that have stiffer collars and cuffs but form-fitting knit bodies that reduce bulk.

A second trick to layering involves proportion. If you have a top with a dramatic collar or sleeves you’d like to show off, pair it with a more fitted vest. If your top layer is oversized, keep the silhouette on the bottom narrow and sleek. For cropped vests or cardigans, balance the bottom with a wider cut, either a flare leg trouser or a longer, a-line skirt.

Shop Bodysuits and “Cheat” Pieces with Layering Built In

Three No-Fail Layering Formulas

Making use of layers is a great way to get extra mileage from many of the basics that you may already have at home. I’m sharing three, easy-to-wear formulate below but there are so many other combinations to play with:

  • Layer a cozy turtleneck or bulky cropped over a slip dress.
  • Add a long sleeve tee or turtleneck under a sleeveless summer dress and then top with a denim jacket.
  • Wear a vest on top of a tee/hoodie or blouse/sweater combination.

Formula 1: Striped Tank/Tee, Solid V-Neck, Slightly Oversized Blazer

Formula #1 pairs a striped cami, tank, or tee with a v-neck sweater and a slightly oversized blazer. In this look, the plaid/check combination in the blazer adds a lot of interest but a coordinating or contrasting solid would work just as nicely.

This formula works with jeans, trousers, midi, and mini skirts!

Layering 101

Formula 2: Print Blouse, Sweater Vest and Mid-Thigh Coat

For formula #2, pair a favorite print blouse with a sweater vest then top with a coat that reaches mid-thigh. This could be a trench, Mackintosh, or car coat. The formula below looks smart for work with a black trouser or pencil skirt but can go more casual by pairing it with a denim mini and OTK boot.

Keep the blouse and trench fairly fitted and opt for a vest that is skimming to very slightly oversized for maximum pair-ability!

Layering 101

Formula 3: Tee, Button Down, Long Cardigan & Scarf

Formula 3 is my fall uniform! Pair your favorite tee with a button-down shirt and cozy cardy. For a little layering “extra credit” throw a cute scarf on as well. The shirt shown here is actually a swim cover-up but I wear mine as a shirt frequently. It’s a longer, tunic length (perfect with leggings) and somewhat wrinkle-resistant. It’s also a bit less bulky than some of the heavier broadcloth and denim options out on the market.

Narrow bottoms like skinny jeans and leggings work best with this profile.

Layering 101

Share one of your favorite layering combinations with me in the comments below! And now that you’ve completed Layering 101, check out Pattern Mixing.


Thanks so much for your likes, shares and follows! Until next time,

Fall was a season designed for layers and today my Layering 101 guide will have you dressing for variable weather like a pro! Come learn the basics and check out three of my no-fail layering formulas.

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