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Layer it up

The winter fashion shows were all about layering – great news for the penny wise as it’s a look that’s easy to achieve by mixing your existing wardrobe staples

If you’re looking for a simple way to update your wardrobe, just add layers. It’s a great way to lift an outfit from dull to delightful and give it some seasonal pizzazz.
From casual and youthful to sassy and chic, anyone can wear this look, which is right on trend for those chilly months ahead.

Get the look
Combine items cleverly and you can dress for all occasions

Tiny tees can be combined with long- sleeve knit tops. You’ll be ready to hit the gym, or take a walk around the park!

Wear a dress over a polo neck teamed with tights and ankle boots. This catwalk look will make you stand out from the crowd. For
a casual girl-next-door look, pair a vest top with a matching cardi, and a long striped scarf.

High-heeled boots over skinny or straight- leg jeans will guarantee you a great look for a night out. Go for a sassy waist belt of any shape or size; we just can’t get enough of the cinched waist look.

Add a crisp white shirt under a long-sleeve sweater, or use blazers to achieve a sharp, tailored look at work. For that ivy-league, preppy look, wear a short-sleeve blouse under a sleeveless V-neck sweater. The geek-chic craze is in, don’t you know.

Must-have pieces
Three key staples for your wardrobe this autumn

This Kate Moss staple holds its popularity right through the season. From denim to classic tweed, the waistcoat can update any outfit with ease. Dress it down by teaming one in simple black with a logo tee, or a casual shirt, skirt and thick tights for a day out shopping. For the evening, why not team it with an evening dress, high heels and a sparkling necklace to give a slight edge?

These are a must for your fashion shopping list. And they come in all weights and shades: opaque, sheer, black, nude, patterned, coloured… the list is endless. Whatever you’re wearing – and that includes knee-length trousers or shorts – a pair of tights will finish it off. In fact, they’re the key to all the season’s looks. Put the finishing touch to a sexy evening dress with sheer nude tights to give legs a beautifully sexy sheen. Meanwhile, deep, wintry-coloured tights look luscious worn with cute minis and shorts, and perennially popular black tights will add a touch of sophistication.

For those of us who aren’t too comfortable with our shoulders being on display, the shrug is a perfect way to cover up. Not only is it a good way to disguise heavy arms but it looks fab, too, with styles from glitzy glam to casual cool. It comes into its own, worn as a top layer to keep you warm from the taxi to the bar, and its small enough to whip off and hang over your arm.

What the experts say
Designers such as Marc Jacobs, Hermes and Jean Paul Gaultier have all showcased layers in their autumn/winter 2007 collections.

Marc Jacobs features floaty dresses worn elegantly over tight fitted tops. Hermes, on the other hand, has come up with a classic collection that features macs over waistcoats and even long cardigans over roll-necks and fitted jackets, to create a look that’s super-sophisticated.

Nicki Gondall, principal of Trend House Inc, a New York- based trend forecasting firm, explains how best to wear this look. ‘My favourite layered looks are Sixties-inspired pinafore dresses and jumpers worn over turtlenecks,’ she says. Linda DeFranco, who is the creative trend forecaster for Cotton Incorporated, encourages this look. ‘Layering is an important trend in any season, but it’s particularly strong right now. It affords great versatility in dressing.’

5 reasons to layer up

Not only does layering look good, but it’s practical too. After all, the main benefit of layering is to keep you warm on cold, dark winter days. By combining different items in your wardrobe, you can create a whole new look without having to splash out on a new outfit! Perfect if you’re on a budget this season. Layering allows you to add your own twist. Combine different clothes; you can even mix and match with friends. The key is how you put it together. If you have to travel to
and from work, then layering is just for you. For hot-and-bothersome tube or bus journeys, just peel off a layer, stress free! A chill wind? Pop another garmet on top. We all have wardrobe staples that we can’t bear to get rid of. Whether it’s a plain white strappy top, or a long- sleeve polo, they’re invaluable when it comes to layering, as it’s easy to adapt these basic pieces for use all year round.

Top tips

NO

Mix styles together.
That’s the fun of layering. You can be as adventurous as you want.

Experiment with different fabrics
It’s a great way to combine textures, for example thin chiffon shirts over soft cashmere jumpers.

Team black and white
The ultimate monochrome effect is simple and striking.

Create depth
Ruffle skirts will look great peaking from under a plain short dress. Different shades of the same colour would work perfectly with this look, and finish with dark tights.

YES

Over do it
Too much bulk is never a good look, and why carry the extra weight around?

Use too much colour, and don’t mix patterns.
One bold pattern/colour is more than enough.

Forget accessories
Jewellery, such as long necklaces and chunky bracelets, are fab.

Think about it too much
After all, this is a look that should be easily achieved with minimal effort.

NICKY SAYS
‘Layering clothes is good for all shapes and sizes, but it depends how you do it. I’d class it as layering when you wear a cropped, fitted jacket over a shirt or T-shirt. It will help disguise love handles and emphasise the waist. Wearing a dress over skinny jeans is great for disguising large hips and heavy legs.’

Accessories
Layering your look this winter should involve a range of accessories, from ponchos and shrugs to hats and scarves, bags and belts. Simple accessories are important in pulling off that effortlessly chic vibe.

This autumn, Gap suggests pairing must-have accessories like the skinny scarf or cord hobo bag with cropped cords, or slim-fit jeans with sweaters and velvet blazers for a perfect finish.

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