Written by April Reinhardt (last updated December 25, 2019)
It doesn't matter what body type you are, you can dress in layers and still look great. The key to layering clothes is to choose clothing that fits, enhancing the silhouette, and then consider color and textures to add visual interest. The days of layering with bulky knits only in winter are gone. You can layer clothing even on the warmest day of the year using thin knits, camisoles, or tank tops.
If you have an athletic body type, without defined curves, you can use layering to create the illusion of curves. Choose a form-fitting embellished camisole and layer it with a thin, deep-veed knit. The camisole's embellishment will peek under the vee of the knit, elongating the neckline, while the top knit will hug close to your ribcage—the smallest part of your torso. Choose a coral knit with an ivory camisole—two colors that compliment each other—and allow the camisole to extend beyond the knit. Pair the ensemble with a dark wash jean for casual wear, or with dress pants or a pencil skirt for the office.
Tall and very thin women are fortunate in that they can layer using bulk to create a great look. Choose a large knit to layer over a tank top, and then add a wide belt to complete the look. The color of the tank top should compliment the color of the large knit. Clothing items do not have to match—they just have to "go" with each other. The color choices of your other clothing, shoes, and accessories in your outfit can compliment the color of your layers. For instance, if you choose a chocolate cable knit sweater/tunic, the under layer could be a teal tank top, all cinched with a wide maroon belt that matches your velvet maroon ballerina flats.
If you're a pear shape with a larger top half than bottom half, choose layers that will elongate the neckline, and then wear a skirt or pants that flow away from the body, creating proportion. For instance, wear a form-fitting camisole or tank top under a well-structured jacket. Make certain that the jacket buttons around the largest part of your frame, and that the shoulder seams sit at your shoulders. If the jacket is too tight, it will simply accentuate bulk. And when shoulder seams dip over the shoulders, the jacket looks sloppy. Larger women can dress in layers using thin knits over camisoles or tank tops, and top it all off with a polished structured jacket.
Above all, remember that fit matters. Color choice, texture, and patterns are secondary to a good fit when it comes to layering.
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