Article by Meredith Keeve a.k.a. The Wandering Parisian
As the winter chill sets in, certainly in Paris (where the Electricite de France is actually sending emails to its clients about the cold spell to warn about heating bills going up!) we naturally think of layers. But not just layers of blankets, layers of clothing and such thoughts can even take us into spring.
French women are champions of layering, and their innovative and fresh approach to mixing different layers is one of the keys to their nonchalant style.
If you look at photos of Caroline de Maigret (Chanel and Lancome brand ambassador) or Ines de la Fressange (former-Chanel, current L’Oreal brand ambassador) you will often see unexpected layers – a plaid shirt under a striped Breton t-shirt, a white t-shirt under a strapless summer dress, a white blouse under a t-shirt rather than a sweater…
So first, throw out the rules – the notion that only blouses go under jackets, that only sweaters go over shirts, and that anything or everything need be tucked in.
Look through your wardrobe for the thinnest layers
Begin by looking through your wardrobe for the thinnest layers – camisoles, t-shirts, and blouses. And then play!
A camisole alone under a sweater, your favorite white blouse under a jean jacket (belted if your waistline permits), clothing inside, under, or outside and over – be creative and try it all.
One modern look that can work is leggings under a tunic or dress. Check your proportions but this can work with mid-thigh, knee length or longer; sleeveless or sleeved pieces. Recently I put together a V-necked sleeveless summer dress with a light weight t-shirt and leggings and the effect was completely modern and warm!
One warning with layers – as you experiment, start with simple items, skip the ruffles, loud prints or complicated buttons. You may want to pare down accessories as well, if you have several layers, you may wish to leave the scarf at home for a change.
Remember when trying new ideas or concepts for putting yourself together take a few minutes to consider and scrutinize – an unfamiliar proportion can be both unfamiliar, AND successful. Remember that a new look is just that, new, and its ‘revolutionary’ appearance can be a positive point, refreshing your outlook and your wardrobe.