inspired by: relaxed layers

how to layer outfits

photos l to r: source | source | source

I continue to be inspired and intrigued by layered looks with softer pieces. Short-over-long, long-over-short, even long-over-long, it all flies. Whether or not our style is quite as creative as these looks shown, strategic layering can do three things: add visual interest to a neutral outfit, add movement, and allow more outfit-creation options from pieces already in your wardrobe.

I’ve found that layering works best when at least one of the layers is lightweight and soft (sheer a plus too), and when the stiffest or bulkiest piece is the outermost layer. While layered looks are rarely body conscious, I think they can be flattering in their own way by creating columns of color and adding movement and dimension.

how to layer

photos l to r: source | source | source

Layering presents some challenges for those of us who are more petite (short); we have to be careful not to be swamped by our clothing. Sticking to pieces with lighter fabrics with some drape (knits mostly, but not always) helps. Avoid those pieces with a lot of fullness or gathers (though flat or inverted pleats can work well). And layers in warmer weather are challenging, though this is where I find linen (woven and knits) and lightweight silks to be such great choices. I’ve pinned some of my favorite layered looks here.

Do you wear layered looks? Have you developed a formula that works best for you?

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  1. July 13, 2015 / 4:30 am

    I also love relaxed layers and plan to work more of these types of looks into my fall wardrobe. Have a great week ahead!

  2. Susan
    July 13, 2015 / 4:53 am

    I do like layered looks and enjoy how Eileen Fisher pieces help accomplish them. I do have to be careful not to find myself looking voluminous.

  3. July 13, 2015 / 5:04 am

    I like this look too – and as soon as the temperatures become bearable (about two more months!) I want to copy some of the above. xo

  4. barbara
    July 13, 2015 / 5:23 am

    Sue, I am curious if you wear regular or petite in Eileen Fisher? I am short barely five two and find the petites feel too short for me. I love the looks you show and have been doing the full over lean and layering am emboldened by you to also try the longer layers. Thanks for your inspiration.

    • une femme
      July 13, 2015 / 5:38 am

      Hi barbara, I wear both, actually. If something is available in Petites I’ll try that first, but sometimes prefer the longer cut of the Misses option (for tops, sweaters). Pants and skirts, petite always. I’m 5’1″.

  5. MimiB
    July 13, 2015 / 7:32 am

    I live in south Florida year round and though I love layering for all the reasons you mention, comfort can be tricky when the weather is sticky hot. Some hints that might help others as they help me, are to stick with natural breathable fibers, looser fit and open weaves. Crinkle gauzes, voile, leno weaves, linen jersey and handkerchief linen etc. all work well. I know that some people suggest light wgt. silks, but unless it’s an open weave, silk can stick to the skin (it is very absorbent and shows sweat marks) and blocks breezes. I sometimes wear a loose drapey silk vestee over a gauzy tee.

    My #1 hint for summer style and comfort? Sandals. If your feet are comfy, that’ll tend to set your body thermostat at a more comfortable level. I love the pewter metallic sandals you’re featuring as this week’s look.

  6. ibirish
    July 13, 2015 / 8:08 am

    Love layers, but I’m busty. Fun in my 20s, not so much now. Would love advice on how to wear layers for my body type.

  7. July 13, 2015 / 8:12 am

    I love layers as well. Not too flowy for me….although I love the look on others. It’s just that flowy makes me feel like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes.

  8. July 13, 2015 / 11:22 am

    Thank you my dear for the nod to layering, a passion we both share. The only omission in this post is a picture of how you do layers so beautifully yourself!

    Accidental Icon

  9. Susan
    July 14, 2015 / 7:45 pm

    After reading this blog entry this morning, I decided to wear some of my EF layers. The crepe ankle pants, the sink shell, and a short sleeved open front long lacy knit shawl collared EF sweater from at least five years ago. It’s always comfortable and a bit unexpected. Thank you for reminding me that I have it.

  10. July 19, 2015 / 4:57 am

    Completely agree about how it’s trickier to layer when petite, especially as I’m the same height at you! I don’t want to feel I’m drowning in material. I do think layering works better on some body shapes more than others. I’m an hourglass petite so too much layering or the wrong type of material (heavier materials in paticular) can add bulk to bust and hips, where there is quite enough already, thank you! But the older I get, the better at layering I’m becoming. The secret, as with most clothes, is cut, drape and proportion.

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