Reader Susannah sent me this request via e-mail:
I thought it might be interesting to do a post on layering, with a focus on making every layer look coherent and intentional … I put together an intentionally layered look, but if it gets hot during the day, the bottom layer may look strange by itself, might be too sheer or tight of a tank top, or balance awkwardly with the pants or skirt. For hot days when you know you’ll be going in and out of air-conditioned buildings, for example. It’s challenging to make layered outfits that work both with and without that outer layer that you need indoors.
I realized as I hashed out the details of her request, that Susannah had stumped me. I love to layer, but my layering is typically done with the idea in mind that everything is going to stay on my body all day. And since I’m cold more often than not, I’m ADDING layers instead of removing them! But here are a few ideas for versatile layered outfits that might allow for layer removal.
Printed dress and blazer
Both dresses and blazers constitute shortcuts to feeling pulled-together. But a dress can typically stand alone and feel complete, and a PRINTED dress often feels like more of a statement or stand-alone. Adding a belt or statement necklace to this mix is a great idea, as even sans blazer the dress will look fully accessorized.
Most outfits involving scarves
I love scarves for their ability to tie outfits together, but they can be superfluous. Scarves are fabulous for keeping you warm on cool mornings, but are easy to remove from the equation without disturbing the overall ensemble. If you go this route, be sure to include other eye-catching accents: Bracelets, a watch, interesting earrings, fun shoes, possibly a belt. Again, once an element is removed, you want to look finished and accessories will help make that possible. This strategy will NOT work if the scarf is the focus of the outfit or sole colorful/patterned element.
Sweater/button-front shirt combos
A pretty warm layering choice for the summer months, but still one that gets made by the occasional person working in an office environment with overenthusiastic A/C! Button-fronts can be layered beneath crew- and v-neck sweaters, cardigans, and even sweater vests. But remove that top layer and you’re still wearing a pretty polished piece on its own.
Originally posted 2013-07-08 06:56:19.