How to Layer Clothes? Ideas For Layering Clothing Stylishly

Layering your clothes is a great way to look chic and keep up with the latest trends in fashion. That being said, it does not mean that you need to modify your entire wardrobe in order to look stylish!

Layering clothes in the right way is an art and I am going to tell you how you can come up with some great looks with a few essentials which I am sure all you ladies have in your wardrobe.

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Basic Tips For Layering

Here are some tips which you can follow when you want to layer your clothes;

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Wear The Heavier Garments On The Topmost Layer

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Rule Of Thumb For Layering

The thinnest garment should be worn closest to your skin, which automatically means that the thickest garment should be towards the top of the layer.

For example, wear a camisole or a fitted cotton T-shirt as the the layer closest to your body.

For the next layer use a lighter cardigan or a button down shirt (a boyfriend shirt would be great for the second piece, especially during summer when you cannot adorn a third layer) and then wear a heavier jacket or a blazer for the the topmost layer.

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Style Cues For Winter Layering From Hollywood

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Blake Lively looks sleek in a motorcycle jacket layered with a Burberry scarf.Diane Kruger, casual yet chic winter street styleSarah Jessica Parker sports lots of layers to keep the cold out! The green jacket and matching scarf gives her simple outfit a huge boost.
Blake Lively looks sleek in a motorcycle jacket layered with a Burberry scarf.
Blake Lively looks sleek in a motorcycle jacket layered with a Burberry scarf. | Source
Diane Kruger, casual yet chic winter street style
Diane Kruger, casual yet chic winter street style | Source
Sarah Jessica Parker sports lots of layers to keep the cold out! The green jacket and matching scarf gives her simple outfit a huge boost.
Sarah Jessica Parker sports lots of layers to keep the cold out! The green jacket and matching scarf gives her simple outfit a huge boost. | Source

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Do Not Use Too Many Layers

Most fashion advisers would recommend you to stick to a maximum of three layers for the top half of your body else you could end up looking too bulky! As explained in the above point, apparel which are more loose fitting (jackets, blazers, shrugs, trench coats) are worn towards the top to reduce the bulkiness.

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Longer pieces go towards the bottom. Love Sienna Miller's gray military jacket!
Longer pieces go towards the bottom. Love Sienna Miller's gray military jacket! | Source

Wear Longer Pieces Towards The Bottom

Usually the longer pieces of clothing are towards the bottom of the layer.

For example, a long cardigan is layered with a shorter jacket or a vest for a casual look or a short dress for the evening is layered with a sequined cardigan, a belt and a scarf.

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Layering For The Bottom Half

For the bottom half of your body layering is usually done with leggings, skinny fit jeans (or jeggings was we call it today) and skirts or dresses. Again we follow the same principle as the top half, the fitted and thinner garments become the bottom layers, so these would be your leggings or jeggings whereas skirts, dresses, boots and over the knee socks become the top layers.

Tucking in your leggings or jeans into your boots looks more fashionable which is why "jeggings" work better with boots rather than the regular fit jeans. If you are wearing a short skirt with knee high boots, wear over the knee socks and expose a little bit of your socks to make it look more chic.

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Contrasting Colors

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Display The Contrast

One of the reasons why we want to layer clothes is to show off the contrast between different colors and cuts, so there is no need to be dull and boring and wear a single color for all your layers.

Be bold, layer a white ruffled blouse with bright blue or a purple button down sweater and you will make heads turn when you walk down the street!

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Avoid Layering Garments With The Same Style

While experimenting with cuts, do not wear two garments with the same style, for example if you are layering a ruffled shirt with a sweater, avoid using a sweater which also has ruffles. Wearing a plain sweater over the ruffles will make your shirt stand out and that's exactly what we want to achieve!

Also mix and match patterns with solids. The whole idea here is to make each of your layers clearly visible for a complete fashion statement.

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Contrasting Styles, Plain Cardigan Over A Blouse With Ruffles

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Layering For The Summer

Layering is not all about dressing for the Fall or the Winter. Yes, it does become easier because we have many pieces to throw in to keep us warm! But you can layer your clothes during summer as well.

Wear a lacy camisole under a tank top or a fitted t-shirt with a pair of shorts or just layer 2 tank tops of different colors with a floral short skirt.

If you have a slightly bulky figure and are unsure about exposing your silhouette, wear the fitted garment below a loose button down shirt. Leave the top half of your shirt buttons open to allow a sneak peek of your bottom layer. This slouchy look can be better achieved with a button down boyfriend shirt.

Plain summer dresses can be layered with bold, chunky jewelry, lightweight knits and gladiator sandals.

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For The Warmer Days

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Layer with soft colors for spring and summer. Jamie Chung in mint shorts and a white blazer.Leigh Lezark goes for an edgy style where she layers a floral feminine dress with a denim jacket topped with a black leather jacket.Alice Eve pairs a chambray blouse with a floral miniskirt and finishes off with a nude leather jacket to add a neutral element to her ensemble.
Layer with soft colors for spring and summer. Jamie Chung in mint shorts and a white blazer.
Layer with soft colors for spring and summer. Jamie Chung in mint shorts and a white blazer. | Source
Leigh Lezark goes for an edgy style where she layers a floral feminine dress with a denim jacket topped with a black leather jacket.
Leigh Lezark goes for an edgy style where she layers a floral feminine dress with a denim jacket topped with a black leather jacket. | Source
Alice Eve pairs a chambray blouse with a floral miniskirt and finishes off with a nude leather jacket to add a neutral element to her ensemble.
Alice Eve pairs a chambray blouse with a floral miniskirt and finishes off with a nude leather jacket to add a neutral element to her ensemble. | Source

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Other Items To Add To Your Layers

Other items to add to your layers are scarves, belts and accessories. These pieces work as enhancers to your overall look.

If you are wearing a plain white shirt or a blouse wear a sequined or a colorful scarf along with a long necklace for detail or simply throw in a chunky necklace and a bracelet with contrasting colors.

If you are wearing leggings with a long cardigan, wear a belt over it and also throw over a scarf to give your look those extra points.

Looking to try out something different with layers? Try the skirt under the dress look! Wear a lightweight skirt under a heavier dress and let the hem of your skirt show (maybe a few inches above the hem) below your dress. This is more of an experimental style which might not work for everyone but you could mix and match what you have at hand to see if this is something you could pull off.

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Bold Colors And Accessories Enhance Layers

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Some More Layering Ideas!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Try the shirt inside the dress look! Banana Republic CollectionSummer layers. A chambray button down shirt thrown over a striped bustier, J.Crew CatalogPerfect for the Fall. Make it complete with leggings during colder temperatures. Banana Republic CollectionFloral prints and mild colors for the Spring, J.Crew CatalogI simply love J.Crew's layering ideas and colors! Which is why I have used so many examples from their catalog, J.Crew Catalog
Try the shirt inside the dress look! Banana Republic Collection
Try the shirt inside the dress look! Banana Republic Collection
Summer layers. A chambray button down shirt thrown over a striped bustier, J.Crew Catalog
Summer layers. A chambray button down shirt thrown over a striped bustier, J.Crew Catalog
Perfect for the Fall. Make it complete with leggings during colder temperatures. Banana Republic Collection
Perfect for the Fall. Make it complete with leggings during colder temperatures. Banana Republic Collection
Floral prints and mild colors for the Spring, J.Crew Catalog
Floral prints and mild colors for the Spring, J.Crew Catalog
I simply love J.Crew's layering ideas and colors! Which is why I have used so many examples from their catalog, J.Crew Catalog
I simply love J.Crew's layering ideas and colors! Which is why I have used so many examples from their catalog, J.Crew Catalog

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Watch Sally McGraw's Layering Ideas

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Comments 10 comments

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Great Tips, especially now that Autumn/winter is approaching and I have to wear about 8 Layers. :)

Thanks for the advice.


ponx profile image

ponx 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Lady_E. Wish we could wear the 8 layers to keep the cold out! :).


xixi12 profile image

xixi12 6 years ago from Everywhere but here. In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. You can never be truly free till you have the discipline to manage it.

Great Ideas and tips for layering. Thanks for making it easy to understand


ponx profile image

ponx 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks xixi! :)


rontlog profile image

rontlog 6 years ago from England

Loved your hub on layering

I needed some inspiration on ways to liven up my wardrobe.


ponx profile image

ponx 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you rontlog :). It's nice that my hub can provide you some inspiration.


ponx profile image

ponx 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you rontlog :). It's nice that my hub can provide you some inspiration.


yenajeon profile image

yenajeon 5 years ago from California

Fab tips and great hub!


ponx profile image

ponx 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you yenajeon.


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

Very interesting and informative hub. Thank you. Really good ideas and advice.

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