5 Ways to Layer Like a Boss

All the gals with style know-how understand the importance of how to layer clothes.

Layering not only gives you temperature agility during these transitional months, but it also doubles the use of almost every item in your closet. Poof! You have a larger wardrobe. Okay, maybe not more clothing, but more options. You buy an item, wear it once and then, more often than not, it is left to live the rest of its days in the bowels of your closet.


Photo Credit: Laura Bustelo

Of course, the next event or dinner approaches, so you contemplate re-wearing said item, but in the end you decide to buy an entirely new piece.  Why, you ask yourself, have you become such a wasteful wardrobe wearer?  Because it’s really hard to wear a nice piece of clothing on repeat and for people not to notice. Heck, maybe even you feel like that article of clothing you had to have is now old news.

But there is a solution that many of us do not see because of the way we have been taught to dress. Most of us have been brought up to believe pants and skirts are ALWAYS paired with a top, and a dress is a standalone piece of clothing, not to be mixed with anything besides maybe a shawl, blazer or cardigan. What if we questioned our very sheltered view of the way clothing works together and humored, if just for a moment, a “what if” style mentality? What if, for example, I could pair a dress with a skirt?

The possibilities would then be endless, and so would your closet. So, let’s play dress up and see what layering strategies we can begin to explore.

1. Dress + Skirt

You could get really bold with your skirt dress pairings, layering a patterned skirt over an equally as eye-catching patterned dress, or a patterned skirt over a solid colored dress, or heck, even a mini skirt over a long maxi dress. Yes, this can be done. Believe it or not, there are people out there who might even call this kind of layering old hat. It’s your turn to turn a blind eye to your style rules and see what you come up with!


layering clothes skirt and dress

Photo Credit: Sean Stachowiak

2. Sweater + Dress

Yet another way to re-style a dress, only this time, you can transform a spring or summer dress into a fall fashion trend that you usually tuck away during the summer months. Try leaving your shirt, shift, or even sun dresses out. If you have a trapeze dress loose enough to fit a chunky sweater underneath it, try it and see how you feel. Lightweight turtlenecks can easily fit under a shift dress. Layering an oversized boyfriend sweater over a super girly dress can be just the right amount of both to create an entirely new look. Play around with patterns. Sometimes finding a hue or color that the two pieces share is an easy way to create a cohesive look.


layering clothes, sweater and dress

Photo Credit: Sean Stachowiak


3. Collared Buttondown + Everything

A buttondown is that beautiful item that can be added to literally any outfit: under, over, in- between. You name it. The trick is always making it known that you are, indeed, wearing one. If you’re layering a buttondown under a chunky sweater (which is highly recommended) then allow it to peek out in some way. Roll your sweater sleeves up and share your plaid, pinstriped or stark white sleeves that you have so intentionally added to your look.


collared buttondown fashion

Photo Credit: Sean Stachowiak


4. Pants + Skirt

Layering a skirt over pants can really position you as a style leader. Flip through a J. Crew catalogue or click through your run-of-the-mill online retailer’s website. You will most likely NOT see these style choices being made. This is where the ultimate style influencer feels most comfortable. Testing the style waters before anyone else has even thought to try. Although it seems like this pairing would be hard, it’s actually quite simple. There are so many different types of pants out there from cut to color to texture to length. The first trick is finding a skirt that will allow you to showcase the complementary composition of both pants and skirt. Trick number two is matching a top that pulls it all together. Sure, that may seem like a lot of pressure for one little top, but that’s what trial and error is for. You don’t have to get it right the first, second, or even third time. Layering clothes is a skill that can be practiced and improved.

Now, doesn’t your mini closet look just a little bigger than it did this morning?