the style letters will feature a new interview each month on seasonal fashion and favorite trends, all from the perspectives of some very stylish ladies.
This month, Instagram style maven Karla Reed shares her tips and tricks on layering for the season.
~ Meet Karla ~
(A scarf layered over a cashmere cape and an oxford button-down. A plaid wool coat layered over a lightweight down herringbone printed vest and a white oxford button-down.)
Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The air gets crisp and the days begin to shorten, causing us to want to gather together around fires or around our TVs to cheer on our favorite teams. We begin to crave comforting food and warm drinks. We also switch out our cool, easy summer clothes and begin to pull out warmer fabrics in darker shades and earth tones.
I used to hate when it started to get cold. I felt I had to choose between functionality and style because of where I lived. But then I had a revelation! The key to styling myself in the colder seasons without losing my sense of style under a big jacket is all in the layering! Mixing fall colors and fabrics while adding different textures and patterns lends itself to our need to stay warm while the temps are falling. Layering can be tricky, though, if not done with the right proportions. So I’ve put together a few tips for successful layering through fall and winter that I’ve learned over the years. I hope you find them helpful in the upcoming months!
(A down vest layered over a jean vest, worn over a simple plaid button-down.)
- Make sure your layers start thinnest to heaviest to avoid awkward bulkiness and feeling trapped in heat. It may sound funny, but there is an art to proper layering! I usually like to start with a material like cotton that can breathe. A fitted button-down or a lightweight cotton turtleneck will pull heat away from your body unlike polyester or wool which tend to hold it in. I will also use sleeveless button-downs to give interest around the neck without the added bulk in the sleeves.
- Make sure each layer is the appropriate size. For instance, if you try to layer a small sweater over a medium-sized button-down, it’s just not going to be comfortable. I like to think through this when buying pieces for fall and winter. I almost always buy my sweaters and jackets a size up knowing I’ll need to layer things underneath. Another reason it’s important that each layer fits correctly is in case you start to get hot, you can take off a layer without compromising the look of your outfit! I’ve been in the position before where I’m wearing too short of a shirt or one that’s too tight, so I’m stuck sweating to death because I don’t feel comfortable taking off my outer layer. Oops! Think through each layer and make sure you like it on its own to keep from being caught off guard.
(A faux fur vest layered over a cable knit sweater, layered over a denim button-down. Layering necklaces is a fun way to add a statement, as well!)
- Add some vests and scarves for easy layering! I keep most of my jackets and blazers neutral for fall so this is a fun way to bring in some different patterns and colors! Vests are so versatile. I wear mine over sweaters and blazers and under my blazers and coats to add warmth without the bulk. Scarves can also be worn over your jackets in a number of ways. They are both great ways to add interest to an outfit.
(Layering a tweed blazer over a denim vest and a sweater dress with a scarf on top. Warm enough to show some leg! (P.S. I’m 8 months pregnant here…hence the gut!)
- When mixing prints and textures just remember to keep it simple and make sure the two (or three) things you’re mixing have similar color stories and are on a different scale (different size patterns). If they don’t, they will feel as if they are competing instead of complimenting each other. The best way to figure this out is to play around! Think outside the box and be willing to mix things you never would have mixed. Then take a step back and see if you like it. You’ll be surprised at what will come together when you’re willing to play!
(A wool blazer layered over a striped hooded sweatshirt, worn over a plaid button-down.)
(Layering different fabrics in the same color family for a polished look.)
- Look for balance. If something seems over the top or too complicated and fussy…it probably is. Keep your layers simple and always have a balance of skin showing. This is especially true through fall. It will count not only in the overall look, but will help you not be too hot or too cold. For example, if you have a sweater dress layered over a chambray shirt and a blanket scarf, you won’t need tights or boot socks because you may overheat. Another trick I use is to always roll my blazer or sweater sleeves up to show my wrists. If I’m wearing jeans, and it’s not too cold, I always have my ankles showing with just a slip-on loafer or ankle booties. It may not seem like much, but these make a big difference when it comes to balancing an outfit.
(Layering patterns that are on a different scale, but have similar colors running throughout.)
So there you have it! Layering can be fun and a great way to embrace the changing seasons. A quote I once heard that totally changed my mind about dressing in fall and winter goes like this: “There’s no such thing as bad weather…just inappropriate clothing.” Well then, challenge accepted!
~ ~ ~
Karla, this post will be my go-to every fall and winter from now on! Thanks for showing us how to layer in style and can’t wait to see more looks from you this season.
Have you checked out Karla’s thrifting feature for Glitter Guide? A must-read for all! For more style inspiration, follow Karla’s outfits of the day on Instagram and learn her fashion and beauty how-to’s on YouTube.