Ok ladies, let’s talk layers. If you are anything like me that word automatically brings to mind the picture of the Michelin man…or better yet, the little kid Randy from the movie “A Christmas Story”. (You know, the kid whose mom dresses him up in so many “layers” that he literally can’t put his arms down. It’s hilarious.)
My point is, when I think layers, I think bulky added weight and only necessary when it’s -20 degrees outside (I live in Southern California). THEN, on top of that, fashion forward people throw “pattern mixing” into their layers and that’s when my brain just shuts down.
I managed to wear a bra today AND throw on a hoodie. That totally falls into the “layers” category, right?
I’m going to share a secret with you I just learned…layers don’t always have to be functional. Whaaat?? Yup, stay with me here.
Because I’m a mom of two crazy active boys everything they wear must serve a purpose. You must wear a jacket because it’s raining outside. You must wear swim trunks because we are going swimming. You must wear pants because it is frowned upon to be naked in public (actual argument that happens frequently in my house).
So let’s start slow, together. No cheetah under plaid or even flowers and stripes (which, by the way, is super cute). Let’s just start by using one pattern we love and then pull colors from that pattern to create our layered look.
The Neutral and Navy duster is one of my absolute favorites. It has several different colors in the palette I can draw from and they are all neutral. I feel the most comfortable in black and dark colors so choosing a neutral accent layer really helped put my mind at ease.
I actually have FOUR layers on in this picture. Because they are all lightweight I don’t feel like I look 20 lbs heavier and I still have range of motion in my arms. Moving my arms is a definite plus.
I threw on a light cami as my first layer (the only “functional” part). We may be branching out and gettin fashion crazy up in here, but I still have old school ingrained in me and I just can’t leave the house with my bra showing or even hinting at the idea that it’s visible.
My next layer is probably one of my most beloved pieces of clothing right now because, wait for it, there are pockets! The swing tunic has pockets sewn right into the seam so they don’t add bulk or weight. The only downfall is that I am a bit on the short side and it can look like a dress…hence, the knot on the side.
Not only does a simple knot tied at the hem help shorten the length, it also gives visual interest without me really trying. It helps to eliminate a frumpy appearance as well.
You can absolutely wear the swing unknotted but, in this case, it brings the entire outfit down. Meaning, I have on a long tunic and a long duster. On me, too many lengthy pieces together can make me look much shorter than I am. At the same time a long duster, paired with the right pieces, can elongate the body and create the illusion of long and lean legs.
Ok, the last layer is actually what makes this outfit pop. I chose a color from the duster, in this case navy blue, and added it to the mix. My navy pullover just brings the entire ensemble together. That is its only purpose. It doesn’t keep me warmer. It doesn’t even cover my entire torso. No real functionality…it’s just cute. And girls, that’s OKAY!!!
If I wear only the cream colored swing under the duster, the whole outfit looks bland and the fabulous pattern I want to highlight just kinda fades. Sometimes you have to look outside of the “why” (why would I need to add this) and focus on “why the hell not”?!
One of the mantras I like to keep in mind when I put together any outfit is: “color, texture, pattern, shine”. I have absolutely no clue where I heard that or why it continuously sticks out in my mind. But it is catchy, easy to remember, and it really does make sense. As long as I have a bit of each of those elements, the outfit comes together quite nicely. (I usually incorporate the “shine” with a pair of earrings or accent jewelry).
Challenge for the week: Go into your closet and apply this technique! I can guarantee you already own pieces that will work together perfectly. You don’t need four layers to try this. Start with two or three. Be adventurous, step out of your comfort zone, and add a little layering fun into your life!