The Art of Layering

LayeringOne of the most common things I get asked about as a stylist is how to layer. As you contemplate the transition of your wardrobe from winter to spring, layering can be a great tool to have a your disposal. Not only can it help to keep you warm or cool enough on days  of changeable weather, it’s also a great way to create multiple looks by wearing a few key pieces in different ways. So, here are my 3 easy steps to get you layering-away….


Step 1: The Base

The first (and most important) step of layering is creating a good base. In the winter months, your base will consist of leggings or tights if you plan to wear a skirt or dress, and a top.

The sleeve length of your top will depend on the weather and what you plan to wear over the top. Regardless, your top must be very fitted so that no gathers in the material can be seen when you add the next layer of clothing.

‘Leggings’ and ‘tights’ are two terms often used interchangeably. To be technically correct,  leggings are thicker (more like gym pants) and warmer, while tights are more like thick stockings. For very cold weather, leggings and fully covered tights are best, however in the warmer months footless tights are a better option. When buying footless tights, be mindful that full length (down to the ankle) are much more flattering than 3/4 length.


The Main Event

Once you have a good base, you are ready for the main layer. This will be either pants/skirt and a top, or a dress. The main idea of layering is to create a feast for the eyes, with each layer peeking out in a way that looks unplanned. Play with different ways of showing each layer. For example, does it look better if your base top is showing only at the neckline, only at the waistline, or both?

Be especially observant of the way the necklines are working together. There are no real ‘rules’ I can give with this (hence why I have labelled layering an ‘art’!), but if a combination looks a bit wrong to you, chances are it will look a bit wrong to everyone else as well, so go with your instincts.

As with the base layer, the main event should not include any pieces that are bulky, because you will be adding more on top. You do, however, need to be comfortable with the look of this layer, because unlike the base layer which won’t be showcased to the world, the main event could be ‘it’ if you are too hot to wear additional layers.

Take note that while this layer is put on second, it needs to be planned first in order to create the right base.


Finishing Touches

This is where you can really have some fun, with cardigans, boleros, jackets, scarves and accessories.

It’s a good idea to have a colour theme that runs through your outfit, such as black or beige, then mix it up with the main event or finishing touches, by using an accent colour or variation in the fabric.


So there you have it! Layering 101. It truly is an art, because it really comes down to how each individual piece works together. To inspire you, here are some of my layering ideas using the greatest layering brand available – Metalicus…

Look One

Look 2

Look 3


Elissa x

Header image via
Metalicus images via