Layering: Lumpy or Stylish?
Issue   |   Wed, 11/09/2011 - 01:17
Photo courtesy of Sam Tang '15
Layering with clothes that are not typically worn in the winter, such as dresses, can make for creative outfits.

I’ve been looking forward to the Amherst winter. Maybe it’s because I come from sunny Southern California, but I was eager to layer and accessorize with hats, scarves and gloves. The idea of actually being able to make long-term use of sweaters, wool coats, and boots had me patiently waiting in anticipation for the cold weather to kick in. I’m sure that the reality of New England’s icy winter will soon set in, but meanwhile, it’s time to pull out everything I was never able to use before.
Unfortunately, there is one challenge with layering — it’s tough without getting too bulky. It’s always easy to stay warm with thick coats, but it’s not as easy to stay cozy without feeling like a lumpy marshmallow. However, you don’t need to pile on to stay warm because there are always plenty of outfits that can be flattering. Here are some tips on how to stay warm and stylish this winter.

Layer Head to Toe
Waking up in the morning to a freezing room, it’s always tempting to just hurriedly pile on the sweaters and rush to class with a warm cup of coffee. However, one trick to layering is to do so from head to toe rather than pile a coat over a sweatshirt over a sweater. Try out different clothes and layer differently each day. It’s a great way to discover outfits you never would have imagined before while also showing off your own style. From hats to socks, your closet is definitely filled with plenty of pieces to get through this season.

Thin Layers
Summer might be over, but it’s not quite time to shove your summer clothes to the back of your closet just yet. While it’s going to be too cold to just wear a t-shirt out, you can definitely still layer them. Thin layers are key to staying both warm and light. What comes to mind immediately is to try a summer tank under cardigans, tops or sweaters. Layering short and long-sleeved tees is another way to change it up, combining different colors and patterns to create a new kind of shirt. Slide a jacket over a thin hoodie and tank or a sweater over a blouse.

Don’t limit yourself; try to pull off different pieces, including ones not typically considered for the colder seasons. Even your favorite sundresses can be used in the winter. Pair together a light dress and leggings and throw a comfy sweater over the top, and you’re ready to go. You can do the same with a short skirt or shorts. Frilled edges and different patterns add variety and make for a cute outfit. Before going out, throw a coat on and you’ll be ready for any outdoor chill.

Mix Up The Lengths
Different lengths of tops, pants and boots can change up your look while keeping you warm. Wear a long cardigan with cropped pants and knee-length boots. A long, loose shirt can be paired with skinny jeans or leggings. Leg warmers keep you warm and can look good with anything from ankle boots to sneakers.

Putting longer shirts under shorter ones or pairing leggings and tight jeans with shorts and skirts are different ways of also adding color. Let a bold color or pattern peek out to add pop to a layered top or bottom. Long socks over leggings can add a quirky or cute look while keeping your feet and lower legs snug. Working with several lengths can always give you more creative ways to change things up.

Accessorize
One of the best times of year to accessorize is the winter because there is so much to work with. From hats at the very top to socks and leg warmers at the very bottom, winter can be colorful and fun with the right accessories. Scarves instantly come to mind (and were the single topic of last week’s article), but there are plenty of other ways to accessorize as well.

Belts can also instantly give shape to an outfit. Oversized, wide belts can be worn right under the bust with loose shirts for a corset-like look. Skinnier belts can be paired with something like a long cardigan and tank. When you have lots of loose layers, belts are the perfect way to define your waist and allow for greater definition.

Hats always make winter fun, coming in all sorts of styles and colors and patterns. Knits, trappers, berets and beanies are just a few of the different hats you can use to keep warm. Animal face knit hats are always a cute addition and usually also cover your ears to keep them warm as well. Ears are one part of your body that get colder more easily in the winter because of the limited circulation there, so a hat to keep your ears warm will go a long way. Your hands and feet also belong in this category, so bundling up in those two areas is important.

As it gets colder, gloves and mittens become more and more useful. From leather gloves to knit gloves or mittens, keeping your hands warm are another way to be shielded from the cold. All sorts of gloves are available in the winter, even finger mittens (fingerless gloves for when you’re inside or texting that turn into mittens by slipping on a cover attached to the back of the glove). Waterproof gloves and mittens will become particularly useful when snow starts falling and snowball fights begin.

Socks and leg warmers are a great way to keep warm in an area where it might be harder to layer. Different leg warmers can change up darker bottoms while long socks that go over leggings do the same. With these, you can keep warm without bulking up too much while also creating interesting layers.

Although winter weather might be annoying as you go from shivering in the freezing weather outside to sweating in the toasty indoors, learning to layer is the perfect way to deal with this. This season, don’t immediately turn to one thick coat and bundle up immediately. Instead, explore your entire closet and experiment to find that new, killer outfit you never knew you had.

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