Look effortlessly amazing any time of year by layering a few stylish basics and adding sizzle with well-chosen accessories. When you dress in layers, you’re prepared for any temperature that comes your way, whether it’s a burning-hot boardroom or a chilly dinner out. Resist the temptation to toss on everything you own, though. Go for a show-stopping combo that turns heads. Practice your layering skills until the results are chic, ultra-stylish and totally figure flattering.
Build With Basics
The first step to smart layering in any season is to create your look using basic pieces. Start with an everyday short- or long-sleeved tee, a button-down shirt, or tank top — or pick two and start layering. Whether you’ll end up in a retro-chic T-shirt under a fun dress or in jeans with thermals and flannels, keep the first layer fitted to highlight your figure and avoid bulk. Add a thin sweater, sweatshirt or jacket in a complementary or contrasting color or pattern. If it is too cool to bare your long legs, throw on a pair of tights or leggings under a dress, skirt or stylish shorts. If a dress isn’t your thing, stick with your favorite jeans or dress pants for a simple look.
Pile It On in Winter
Winter weather calls for even more layering fun. Guys can layer a denim or chambray button-down over a basic T-shirt and top the combo with a slim pullover sweater, preppy sweater-vest, puffer vest or flannel shirt-jacket. Ladies can add a chunky cardigan or quilted vest and then grab a go-to cold-weather coat, whether it’s a cropped leather jacket, a wool peacoat or a basic black blazer.
Keep Fit in Mind
No one wants to look heavier than they are, so keep your layered look as slimming as possible. Each layer you wear should be thin and snug enough to fit under the next layer. If you’re wearing a button-down shirt under a crew-neck sweater, it is especially important to pick one that’s slim fit so it doesn’t bunch up under the sweater. Top your layers with a waist-cinching belt to create a sleeker silhouette. Slip on a topcoat that’s roomy enough to accommodate all the layers beneath. If it’s too tight through the shoulders, waist or arms, you won’t be comfortable. Opt for a coat that’s roomy or pick a material with stretch.
Use Accessories Wisely
Don’t underestimate the value of a few well-placed accessories — particularly scarves and hats. Scarves work in any season, so choose a lightweight, brightly colored or patterned version to pair with your outfit in spring, or stick with a thick, knit scarf or faux-fur wrap in the winter. Men and women alike can top off their looks with stylish hats in the spring, while women look especially charming in oversized sun hats when the weather warms up. For cooler weather, a laid-back knit cap is a relaxed style for either sex.
Remember the Final Layer
Even your feet can get in on the layering action. In the spring, ladies look adorable in ankle socks worn with open-toed heels or in patterned tights underneath a fun pair of booties or wedges. Go bold in the winter and toss on a pair of cable-knit or wool socks under ankle or tall boots. Knee-high socks that peek out the top of your tall boots give your outfit a boho-chic look.
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