3 Keys to Layering


I’m a summer girl at heart, but I have a soft spot for May through August. The crisp, cool mornings giving way to sunny, cloudless days. Winter in Brisbane means waking to a slight chill in the air, the day warming to the mid-twenties and evenings with just a nip of shiver. It also means relying on the art of layering.

For a girl that normally relies on a maxi dress, layering can be tricky. It takes a bit more thought and planning. But it’s also a chance to really build an outfit and take the separates out for a spin.

There are three keys to successful layering.

  1. Layers should be thin, with the bulk increasing as you layer out

There are a few reasons for this. Thinner layers mean that you can keep layering without fear of losing your body shape all together. If you start with a thick under-layer, you leave yourself with no-where to go. By layering finer items on finer items, you can build a look that still complements your body shape.

For those living in colder climes, a thin thermal will offer warmth without comprising on style. And for those of us living in sunny old Brisbane, when the day inevitably warms up, you can de-layer to a comfortable level.

Merino wool is a fabulous fabric for base layers – it’s a very fine fabric but still traps heat. As a natural fibre, it is breathable so will keep you cool or warm depending on your body temperature.

For the outer layers, I like to rely on a chunky scarf for a hint of winter bulk. Waterfall vests and jackets are great for layering and still keeping a streamlined silhouette.

The other good thing about thinner layers is that when you do have to peel them off, you can carry them or tie them around your waist easily.

Nikki from Styling You has a great post on how to layer without bulk.

  1. Keep it tonal, with texture, length or contrast colour to add interest

To veer on the side of chic rather than bag-lady, I like a tonal approach. Keeping it all in a similar colour range with one feature item.

This doesn’t need to mean drab. There are plenty of ways to add interest to a layered outfit. I particularly like to play with length and cropped jackets over longer line shirts and tunics are my favourite. They attract attention back to the waist which can add definition – important when you are layering.

Another way to add interest is with texture. If you are relying on a singular colour palette, mixing a number of textures together makes an outfit sing. To avoid the issue referred to above, keep the bulky textures to final layers like scarves and hats.

Winter doesn’t have to mean a lack of colour. I love a vibrant jacket, a coloured hat or an amazing piece of jewellery to inject some vitamin C. The great thing about layering is that you can wear some crazy pieces of jewellery because you have provided the framework that will support it. A long line pendant clustered with jewels or an extravagant brooch might look OTT against a summer dress but it works with wintery layers.

  1. Layers need to be independently lovely

Perhaps this a bigger consideration in Brisbane — where it is likely that you will be reduced to the base layers during the middle of the day. However, I think each piece needs to work alone. Needing to keep on a jumper or jacket because the top underneath isn’t fit for singular wear is uncomfortable and annoying.

Considering my sustainable year of fashion and my no-buy commitment, layering gives me a chance to wear old favourites with a new twist. My summery things can be worn in wintery ways. The addition of tights, boots and a scarf and I am good to go.


What are your layering tips?

2 thoughts on “3 Keys to Layering

  1. hugzilla says:

    Thank you – this is incredibly helpful! I have a range of different clothing elements but never really know how to layer them effectively. The length one in particular is a great tip – and so simple.

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