Layering clothes is always a useful skill. Some people seem to be able to throw an outfit together and walk out of the closet looking like they shopped specifically for the occasion. If the outfit not only contains pleasing color combinations but even has a patterned element, that is the work of a master. Is it natural talent? Perhaps, but the eye and the wardrobe can be trained. The chill of winter in particular calls out the "layerer" in all of us, skilled or not. Check out the following tips to improve your layering skills.
The first thing to pay attention to seems pretty basic. Obviously you know where you are going, that why you're getting dressed. The idea is what kind of outfit are you trying to create for the occasion? Is it a fancy event or are you going out to the grocery store? Do you want to layer a tunic top for meeting a close friend or do you need a jacket and dress combination for your first romantic date with that special someone you've had your eye on?
You want to dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident wherever you happen to be going. Start this whole process by figuring out the overall impression you want to leave and how you want to feel.
Most people are familiar with the color wheel. ROYGBIV—Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. The warm colors are those of fire: red, orange, and yellow. The cool colors are more calming: green, blue, indigo, and violet. However, a colorful outfit is usually pretty visually extreme. There are also the neutrals that help soften the look: browns and tans, gray, black and white, and navy blue.
For your first forays into layering, simplicity is best. Start with two neutrals with one color. This is called your color palette. Lay them on top of each other on your bed in the light. See what looks good together, which colors match well and set each other off. Each layer should work on its own as well as when paired with its combination.
Then, try expanding that color palette. Create outfit mixes that take from one or two colors next to each other on the color wheel. Next, add colors from within the same side of the color wheel, either warm or cool. Then start mixing a little more freely. Ask fashion-forward friends for their opinions on the ensemble. If an outfit gets a sharp negative, try asking if there is another combination that may be better. Ultimately, the opinion that counts most is your own. Remember, the point is to express yourself while also feeling confident about your combination choices.
Layers can change your silhouette. Here's how to make this a good thing. First, choose slimming clothing for your inner layers, especially when you are starting out. Layers by nature will pad you, so multiple baggy layers can exponentially change your silhouette. Sometimes you will want to do this on purpose. A loose top can be paired with slimming jeans to give a balance of free and tight. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is intentional.
Second, figure out what you want to emphasize in your figure. If you feel emphasizing your waist is important to make your silhouette pop, use belts or tailored top layers to keep that part of you slim. If you want to emphasize your hips, skirts with flair can help, as well as bottoms with patterns paired with more subtle top combinations.
Also, unless it is a part of a style you are going for, keep inner layers shorter than outer layers so you don't even up with odd fringes.
Finally, the florals part! First, a few notes. Bold patterns together are not for the inexperienced. Choose one bold floral pattern per outfit. The great thing about patterned clothes is that they give you a ready-made color palette to work with. For your other layers, find pieces in colors and neutrals that are similar to those on your patterned piece. If the pattern is super simple, refer to your color wheel. From there, be creative!
If you are determined to learn to layer patterns together, pair different types of patterns. Juxtapose an intricate, complicated pattern with a plainer pattern. The idea is to make the patterns different enough so that they can still be clearly defined as separate layers instead of mashed together in a visual mess. It's tough. Start with one pattern and see where you go!
Some people choose to showcase their floral on the outer layer with a colorful cardigan. Others like the surprise of a floral inner layer peeking through a jacket's zipper. Meanwhile, others think that the statement should be on the bottom with top layers that echo and simplify the design's coloring. The choice is up to you. Have fun with your florals this spring!