Fashion: Your Guide to Layering in Style

The time is upon us: it’s winter in Canada soon. Meaning? Unless you’re clinically insane or braver than the rest of us, you’ve got to seriously bundle up to brave the great outdoors. But luckily, with scarves, jackets, boots, socks and oversize everything, we’ve got you covered (literally). Here’s our guide to layering and how to do it.

The concept of shirt is a vast one, so instead of deciphering between tank top or t-shirt, let’s talk standard button up in all of its oversize and/or fitted glory. If you’re opting for a billowy plaid or flannel to be worn over-top of a plain tee (perhaps with jeggings, skinny jeans or shorts and tights), length isn’t an issue “ because of its jacket-like qualities, you can pair it with just an outer layer, scarf and toque and rock the 90s grunge look.

However, if you’re opting for something more office appropriate, you’re going to want to add additional layers to combat the measly blouse and winter jacket combination. Luckily for you, this is why cardigans have come into effect.

In terms of cardigans, they’re versatile in the sense that they go with absolutely everything. Printed or plain, cashmere or thrifted, you can pair them a dainty 50s blouse for a vintage-inspired look or with a velvet dress to capitalize on the season’s affinity for the dramatic.

However, because oversize grandpa-esque cardigans maintain the casual look, you can be less conscious about sweater length and jacket pairing than you can with ultra-feminine styles that might not look as so great with an embellished leather bomber.

Depending on the weather, you may not necessarily need a parka, so in the case of chilly November days, often a bomber, denim jacket or blazer can work with what you’re wearing. With plaids, sweaters or even dresses, leather bombers are an essential go-to, as their versatile nature can add edge to a relatively dainty look or pull many busy schemes together.

However, in regards to blazers, you don’t want to look like you’re rocking a size too small, so if you’re wearing one as your jacket, opt only for one layer (a t-shirt, thin sweater or dress) underneath instead of several. The same applies to denim. Because of its structure, there’s no room for it to give, so while you may think a cardigan, button-up and tank may work with its staple qualities just fine, you may not be able to cross your arms.

And then there was windchill. Luckily, this season’s coats come in standard and statement, so if you’re hoping for an outer layer that will pull everything together, the traditional peacoat (long or waist-length) will work with nearly every style and layering scheme. However, if you’re one to embrace the oversized look of most thrift stores, you may want something longer so that you don’t look off-balanced by the disproportionate ratio of top to bottom.

However, as any good coat is designed to be worn with various styles (not just with a dress or single blouse), make sure you’ve got enough room for those nights where you’re heading to the grocery store in a hoodie and need to slip something on over top. Even the most designer-esque looks should be functional over fashionable, so if you’re sacrificing layers or warmth for sake of feathers and embellishments, you may want to re-consider what you view as the ultimate topcoat.

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Tags: boot, cardigans, coats, layering, minimalism, oversized shirts, Plaid, statement quotes, sweaters, winter 2010

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