The Art of Layering

Sun, rain, sleet and snow. This time of year you never know what you’ll experience when you walk out your front door. With all the unpredictable weather we’ve been having lately, it’s hard to know what to wear to tackle the elements.

April’s a tricky month to dress for at best – cool mornings, warm afternoons, rainy days. This April’s been a bit more challenging with unexpected freezing rain, snow and cooler than normal temperatures. Ahh, brings me back to the stint I did in Calgary – where we’d easily get snow in May. And June. Yup. And July.

With this fluctuating weather comes the challenge of knowing how to dress for the day to be both comfortable and appropriately dressed. Typically in the Spring you either dress for rain or no rain – throw on a light jacket or sweater over your outfit, grab an umbrella if necessary and off you go. But when the forecast calls for sun and mild temperatures in the morning and freezing rain or snow for the afternoon commute, it can be difficult to dress accordingly.

The key to dressing for these types of conditions is to layer. Layering allows you the flexibility of having options throughout the day to deal with whatever Mother Nature brings your way.

So many women avoid layering because they fear that it will add bulk. And it can – if done incorrectly. If you’ve layered on the clothing and feel like the Michelin Man (or Woman), then you’ve either added too many layers or some of your layers are far too thick and bulky.

Generally speaking, when layering, you’ll want to vary textures and fabric thicknesses. The layers closest to your body should be the thinnest fabrics and sit closest to your body. You can increase the thickness and bulk the further you move away from your body. If you wear something extremely thick and bulky underneath a thinner, more streamlined or form-fitting garment, it can look odd and like you’re bigger than you truly are.

You’ll also want to vary lengths too. If you’re layering, don’t hide it. Let’s see what you’ve got going on. Varying the lengths of the pieces you’re wearing makes it obvious that you have multiple items on. It also keeps people from thinking you’ve eaten too many bowls of pasta the night before. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

When layering, keep an eye on your proportions. Don’t get so carried away that you lose sight of the effect the layering has on your overall look. Never forget what’s best for your height, body shape or your own natural proportions.

And finally, when layering, keep in mind what you’re trying to achieve – to have flexibility to handle the varying weather conditions, to dress appropriately for whatever it is you’re doing that day and to look absolutely fabulous while doing it.

Layering can be a bit of an art, but like anything, practice makes perfect. In no time you’ll be layering like a pro and ready for whatever weather comes your way. Bring it on Mama Nature. Bring it on.