Friday, 5 September 2008

Layering for Autumn

As the warmer weather fast disappears, I deemed this topic to be quite appropriate. Layering is a great styling method for this season and through Winter!

When done right, layering your clothing creates an effortlessly cool look that's comfortable, unique and versatile. It's also a really great way to get more wear out of your favourite bits all year round!

I like to take inspiration from shots of a few 'old hats' who's efforts usually come out right, such as Mary Kate Olsen, Sienna Miller, Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss and even Kiera Knightley. You can also take some inspiration from the catwalks and layer your career wear too! We all know plain office suits went out a long long time ago, and seeing as some of us spend most of our time at work, why not spice up your office gear with a little layering?

I must warn you that even though layering can look fantastic - it can also go quite terribly wrong, resulting in a look that's mismatched and rather unflattering. So learning how to do it right is key.

I have 15 simple practical tips for achieving fantastic results when attempting this trend. We all have such unique features which we prefer to emphasize as well as varying body shapes and colourings, so you can take on board the tips which work for yourself. For me, fashion is all about retaining your own individuality whilst experimenting with new idea's and pushing a few boundaries. I don't believe in hard and fast "fashion rules" for all.

So here are my top 15 tips for layering effectively:

1) Work with a base of one or two simple key colours, then add a few bits that brighten up the outfit, such as a colourful scarf, cardigan, top, Jacket, leggings, tights, shoes, handbag, purse accessories or a hat

2) Remember black makes you look thinner and if you're wearing a few items, this can be helpful

3) Stick to skinny jeans, tights, leggings if you are wearing more items on your top half, this being to keep some of your shape in view. If you're wearing "boyfriend" style jeans, then keep the top half fitted with a vest, fitted cardi and perhaps a bomber jacket if it's chilly

4) Scarves, Pashmina's and wraps look great with layered clothing, especially if you can find some unique bold colours, designs and prints. Right now I'm loving animal prints

5) Different kinds of Hats can be pulled off easily with this look, so experiment a little

6) Dresses or long tops over skinny jeans look stylish

7) Smaller more fitted bomber or vintage, 50's style jackets retain a slender look

8) When going for a bigger jacket, try keep the rest of your clothing a little more fitted to ensure some of your silhouette is visible

9) The 'androgynous' style works when layering, but too much in this style will extract all femininity

10) Ruffles on tops, dresses, necklines etc are great eye candy and can be a perfect key piece

11) Remember too much is never a good thing, so if you're going for a really bold key item, then keep the rest a little more low key

12) Colours are exciting and get you noticed. Be adventurous, but use your common sense... some colours just don't go together!

13) As with any style - work with your own body, accentuate your best bits

14) Break all the rules if it looks good!

Last but certainly not least, and this may well sound like a cliche but I consider it a vital key to the success of any outfit:

15) Be comfortable, confident and like yourself in whatever you're wearing as that has a huge effect on your posture, walk, facial expressions and the overall look of an outfit. Never underestimate the importance and benefits of accepting yourself and loving you just the way you are.

Here are some examples of 'Layering' done well, with a few snaps from Paris Fashion week 2008 at the end, feel free to comment:

Mary Kate Olsen

Kiera Knightley

Rachel Bilson

Model Lily Cole

Kate Bosworth

Sienna Miller and Mary-Kate Olsen

Sienna Miller, loving the accessories

Sarah Harding

Kate Moss

Kate Moss

Giselle Bundchen

Paris Fashion Week 2008

designers Marithe and Francois Girbaud

Jean Paul Gaultier fashion house

Balenciaga Fashion house


Anonymous said...

Cold weather . most are wearing coasts.

Myrmecia said...

Love your 15 rules. Now how about this challenge: re-work the rules for men. I see so many women whose application of layering is lively and stylish, but they are with men who are absolute duds as far as style is concerned. Women will read your 15 and balance them against their own unwritten/unspoken rules, which they already apply. Most men have just not thought about it - never crossed their minds, and they couldn't even come up with 5 or 6 layering rules for themselves!

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