When it's done right, layering is a fantastic way to take a good wardrobe and make it a great one.
Layering helps you to create stylish, one-of-a-kind outfits by pairing different pieces to create unexpected combinations. It can help you extend the length of time that you can wear seasonal pieces. It's a secret weapon for preparing for weather that's constantly changing. In addition, it's a fantastic way to have fun and express yourself.
However, some people are intimidated by layering. They worry that they'll look weird if they don't pair the right items, or that they'll combine clothing that makes them look bulky–especially when the layers include sweater items.
However, layering with cashmere sweaters can be easy and fun, if you know the secrets of mixing it up the right way.
The base garment you wear when you're layering clothing isn't just the first thing you put on; it's the piece that creates the foundation for your entire look. It's also the most important factor in how comfortable you'll feel wearing it.
A cashmere base layer is a terrific place to start because cashmere feels wonderful to wear. It's soft and luxurious and because it's a natural fiber, it's also breathable. This means that whatever you put on top of it, you're going to feel comfortable.
Start with a cashmere base layer that follows the line of your body, such as a short-sleeved cashmere sweater or a refined cashmere turtleneck.
Your base layer doesn't have to cling, and it shouldn't feel skin-tight, but it should fit without gathering anywhere, which is the key to avoiding lumps and bumps under your finished outfit.
Once you've chosen a base layer to create a smooth foundation, you're ready to add top layers to highlight your favorite body parts or to create the proportions you'd like in your silhouette.
Add a top layer, like a cashmere cardigan with pretty lapels, if you want to draw attention upward to your shoulders and face. Pick a belted cashmere cardigan or a cashmere pullover sweater you can add a belt over and you are now highlighting your waist. Want to emphasize (or create) the look of long legs? Choose a top layer that lands high on your body, such as a cropped cardigan or a bolero jacket.
Even loose pieces, such as a cashmere tunic, work to direct attention to other aspects of your outfit–like your amazing shoes, your patterned leggings, or the pretty shell in a contrasting color that you're wearing underneath it.
Contrasting textures make outfits visually appealing. So, if you're working with a cashmere sweater, you can give your outfit some extra oomph by adding textures that play against its soft and luxurious vibe.
A rougher material, like a leather or denim jacket, will create an outfit with an edgier style. Something extra sleek, like a silk blouse, plays against the fluffy softness of cashmere but has the same luxurious feeling.
When you're working with layers and colors, there are two ways to go: You can pick a single shade and go all in for a monochrome outfit, or you can choose to contrast your colors by pairing two (or more) hues.
In monochrome outfits, such as head-to-toe black, white, or beige, cashmere sweaters take on a sophisticated an elegant aura that feels like the pages of a fashion magazine. When you choose contrasting colors that play well together, like black with red, grey with pink, or orange with brown, you create an energetic outfit that will draw eyes to the brighter hue.
And if you go truly bold and mix layers in colors that aren't usually paired, such as orange and purple or pink and green, the outfit will grab attention and feel incredibly creative.
Layers are warm, which is fantastic if you know the day will be cold. But if temperatures will fluctuate all day, it's important to create a combination that works even if you have to remove a layer and cool off when the mercury rises.
As you're getting dressed, make sure you like how the base layers look on their own, so that you can use the flexibility of layers if you need to later.
Maybe you haven't thought of your jewelry and shoes as a layer in your outfit. But treating accessories this way gives you more options for creating the look you want.
Boots, for example, figure often in looks where you want to emphasize your legs. A colorful cashmere scarf draws attention upward and can be used to accentuate proportion. And your bag makes a statement that defines your outfit's style – a slouchy oversize bag says boho-chic, a clutch says it's an evening style, and a briefcase means business.
It might take a bit of experimenting to find the layers you love, but it's worth the effort. Try putting together pieces that you're not sure will work together–even if they don't, you'll likely find an idea for something else that will. Need a little help? Ask a kid to play dress-up with you, and you just might discover combinations you've never imagined!