Aside from permission to mow the comfort food (in the name of staying warm, of course), one of the greatest pros to a cooling clime is the glorious opportunity to layer up. Can’t decide between that Parisian striped top, a chambray tunic, your favorite cashmere cardi, and the perfect chartreuse puffer vest? Throw them all on together. When done right, the complexity that contrasting textures, colors, weights – really, anything – bring to life is sure to sartorially set you apart (and tell volumes about your mix-and-match know-how) all season long.

Retain your shape.
Have a penchant for wearing four layers on top (capped off by an oversized field coat)? Firstly – I applaud you. Secondly – be sure that, whatever you wear on the bottom, it’s a skinnily cut something. Same goes for vice versa (i.e., roomy trousers paired with a form-fitting top). Swaddling away any semblance of shape defeats the fundamental purpose of layering. A fashion coup, first and foremost, will always entail lines that intrigue.

There’s no such thing as clashing patterns.
Throwing a plaid flannel over a navy striped tee? Yes. Perfect. Do it. Challenging traditional fashion norms is the surest way to show that you’re so familiar with what is and isn’t “allowed,” you have absolutely no qualms with taking the path less followed.

Contrasting fabrics is key. 
Avoid looking like a one-dimensional cartoon character by mixing and matching different textures. Your look will achieve an intriguing depth that’ll have onlookers wanting to know the story behind every piece you’re wearing.

And don’t forget functionality!
Save the costumery for Halloween. The strongest statement any layered look can make is that its every participating piece plays a genuinely functional role. An example? The tied-around-the-neck sweater. If this is the look you choose, then make sure that, if a chill crops up, the sweater will still look totally in place when pulled on over the rest of your outfit.  

Our Layer Love: Women’s Cardigans, Tunics, and More Boutique is now open.

By Sarah Stanley, Staff Writer

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November 12, 2012