The art of layering

20 May 2014
Written by Trudi Bennett
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It’s been said that fashion, like a good relationship, works best when you understand its many layers. Layers, as Trudi writes, can revitalise your wardrobe 

We're already nearly a month into winter and it definitely feels colder. So now my attention turns to one of my favourite personal styling tips - layering. Being able to layer for personal comfort, lifestyle and getting the wear out of all your clothing is really handy to know. 

This skill comes in handy no matter which part of the country you live in. Whether it’s the deep south and you are dressing for snow outside, or the milder winter of the higher North Island. Once you are able to layer your clothing successfully, you can add to or take off as needs be. Let’s say it’s very cold outside but your office/the mall/friend's house is warm. If you understand layering, then this is a breeze (hopefully not one that hits your neck as you sit under the air-conditioning….)

I like to break layering down in two ways. What I call ‘over’ layering and ‘under’ layering. Under layering is when you have a sleeveless top or dress and you pop a long sleeved layer – be it a merino, fitted stretchy top like Metalicus/MESOP/Vigorella or cotton T – under it. This type of layering is great for getting extra wear out of a floaty, sheer top or shirt during the colder months.  That under layer also allows you to wear and show off that great shaped sleeveless dress, which you have teamed with knee-high boots to get your through winter.

Over layering is when you throw something over the top of your current dress/top/shirt. Often this can be a cardigan or coat. This season my very favourite piece for this type of layering is the blazer. Blazers are extremely versatile for all ages, shapes and occasions. Wear them casually with jeans and they make your outfit look smarter than any cardigan can. Wear them over a dress for work or with a smarter pair of trousers. The reason they are a personal favourite of mine is that they give the upper body great structure. They cut through broader upper bodies to make them look slimmer and give a defined waist, which again many cardigans can hide. Lose your waist, you lose your shape, gain a size!

The other key to layering is to remember to use FINE layers. Nowadays keeping warm does not mean bulky. Many women feel uncomfortable in thick cable knits, so rest assured, a fine merino piece will keep you just as toasty warm. For those of you who suit a lower neckline but worry about keeping warm, a nice lower-neck thermal singlet does the trick. Then add a lovely, lightweight scarf worn as a fashion accessory, which fills the gap nicely. Just don’t tighten the scarf up too high if you feel your neck length isn’t your best feature.

Longer layers look better on taller folks but multiple lengths of layers are fine on everyone. This is as long as they are keeping your body in proportion, i.e. shorter layers, shorter person. Good luck layering, it’s truly a wonderful, helpful and essential skill to have living here in NZ. Stay warm and stay colourful!

Blazers: Ezibuy, Max
Merino: Glassons

  • Exciting news! Personal stylist, corporate speaker, fashion blogger and our very own Trudi Bennett has opened an Auckland style consultancy branch of www.wardrobeflair.com. So now you can choose either Auckland or Wellington to see a Wardrobe Flair consultant. Trudi looks forward to spreading her love of colour and styles throughout Auckland and continuing to teach men and women how to best dress for their colours, body shape, budget and lifestyle.

 

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