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New Year Challenge Day 12 to Stay Fabulous Over 50: Experiment with layers

Challenge set by Julia Rees

how to experiment with layers over 50 image

As approach the half way mark of our January challenge, Julia’s latest style challenge encourages us to experiment with layers. The added versatility layering can add to your wardrobe is boundless!  In fact a few years ago I produced a video series all about creating multiple looks with a simple black dress which was all about different ways to layer.

My love of layering stems from my time living in Ottawa way back in the 80s. When the wind chill factor can make temperatures feel like minus 40 degrees in a Canadian winter you need to keep warm.  I quickly learned that wearing  thin layers kept me far warmer than wearing one thick sweater and the opportunity to create different looks through layering was an added bonus.

So, today Julia is sharing her tips for experimenting with layers.

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Welcome to day 13  of the “New Year New You” Challenge, and tomorrow’s challenge is to “Experiment with layers”.


We are posting each challenge the evening before so that you have time to prepare your outfit/ your challenge ahead of time.

New Year New You Challenge 2021 : Experiment with layers


If the thought of layering fills you with dread and seems too complicated to handle, I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to show you the magic of layering.

Although it’s tempting to just throw on a coat or jacket, there are a few more interesting ways to experiment with layering and create looks that are both cozy and stylish.

Smart layering will keep you warm without adding bulk, and a few general tips to experiment with layers are :

  • Start from the thinnest and tightest layers to wear the bulkiest ones last, and limit layers to a maximum of 3 to avoid looking like the “Michelin Man”.
  • Choose figure-hugging forms that won’t bulk you up, and choose clothes with sleek, structured lines.
  • Make full use of the power of thermals, which will keep you as warm as toast without adding unnecessary volume.
  • Stick to one or two colour families (or prints), combined with neutrals to make layering easier and keep your look classy.
  • Have fun mixing textures. While I would stick to one or two colours and prints, layering works well when you combine different textures, and you can easily combine three different fabrics. For example, try a silk (or thermal) cami under a denim shirt or a wool jumper and add a wool or brocade coat.
  • Don’t forget you can layer outerwear too, just remember to keep the first layer thin and fitted: for example layer a slim-fitting wool cardigan under your blazer or layer a lightweight sleeveless vest under your coat.

8 ways to experiment with layers.

Here are 8 ways to experiment with layers and put some stylish looks together.

1 Layer a thermal top over or under another top

Thermal tops are your best friend in the Winter as they keep you warm as toast without adding too much bulk. They’re also an easy grab-and-wear item that you can layer under or over another top.

If you don’t want a thermal top, there is a wide range of thermal underwear available from brands, such as Marks & Spencers.

2  Layer a skirt or dress over pants

Layer a skirt or a dress over pants for a change of style. Stick to skinny leggings or pants to keep the look chic and sleek and not bulky and lumpy!

They look great with a thermal top or sweater, but could also add an unusual twist to a dress or skirt outfit without adding unnecessary volume.

3 Repurpose a dress as a top

Layer a skirt over a dress (of the same length or shorter)

You can repurpose a dress as a top with this simple trick: just layer one of your dresses with a skirt that is either shorter or the same length.

Add high heels, delicate jewelry and slim fitting leggings for an elegant look, or go funky with colorful layers and legwear.

4 Repurpose a dress as a skirt

A very easy way to restyle a dress is to wear it with a sweater over the top and repurpose it as a skirt.

This works with almost any dress and is an easy way to add a layer of warmth and create a new look with an existing piece.

5 Repurpose a dress as a jacket/duster

If you have a dress that buttons down the front, then it is very easy to restyle as a jacket/ duster/ lightweight coat, as I have done with the dress below.

layering over 50 wear a dress as a duster jacket image

I layered this look, starting with a lightweight cami with lace trim, under a simple black sweater over jeans then a repurposed dress as a duster.

wear multiple layers over 50

To add extra warmth, I added a long coat over the repurposed dress! Dresses are one of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe as they can be worn as tops, skirts, jackets/dusters and of course, as dresses!

6 Layer a turtleneck under a wider neck sweater, shirt, dress or jacket.

heavier weight turtleneck is perfect for layering over a lighter weight top or over a dress.

Lighter weight turtlenecks are layering “all-stars”, providing plenty of keep-warm coverage without a ton of bulk and can be layered under matching cardigans or under pullover sweaters, as well as under open shirts, dresses and jackets.

Nothing looks cozier than layering a turtleneck top underneath a second sweater, and it’s a really fun way to experiment with print mixing and colors. When it comes to winter warmth, two jumpers really are better than one!

7 Wear a slim fitting jacket or vest under your coat

A slim fitting vest or jacket will keep you warm outside without adding extra bulk and can add a final twist to your look.

If you chose a colorful or patterned sweater, opt for neutral colors for the jacket, such as olive green, rust, camel, burgundy, navy or black.

8 Add a Scarf

Adding a scarf to your look is another great way to add warmth and at the same time, add a pop of colour or print to personalise your look.

You could add a thick blanket scarf or even a poncho .

Lastly, just have some fun with it, and play around with different layered looks, prints and textures until you find a combination that works for you.

style over 50 how to layer quote image

“ I think there’s something charming about incorporating summer clothes into winter, like pairing a summery skirt with a massive sweater. I’m also really into layering during the winter!”

Debby Ryan, Author.

 The aim of this challenge is to experiment and have fun with your wardrobe, by wearing what you already own to put together new outfits.

It’s about putting together what you own in new ways and shaking you out of your style rut. So, just have some fun with it!

You can share your outfit on our Facebook Pages (@StyleConfidenceandSuccesswithJulia and @Fabafterfifty – don’t forget to follow us if you don’t already ) and if you love using social media you can also share your looks on Instagram or Twitter with #NewYearNewYouChallenge2021.


“Look good, feel good, live your best life“

Julia and Ceri xo


Julia Rees

Julia is a Style, Confidence and Success Coach and she is passionate about helping women to look good, feel good and live their best lives. She helps women find balance, clarity, confidence, freedom and success both within their personal and professional lives, and she is also a Style, Lifestyle and Travel blogger

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