30 Clever Layering Tricks to Expand Your Wardrobe

Are you in a style slump? If you want to wear what you have in new and unexpected combinations (and buy less, not more), learn to layer. Whether you’re aiming to extend the life of a sleeveless summer tunic or mix prints with panache, these how-tos will help you get it just right. Shop from this story at luvocracy.com/moremagazine

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Triple the looks in your wardrobe

1. Make sure turtleneck is whisper thin.

2. Chunky cable sleeves offer rugged contrast to the crisp black-and-white silk underneath.

3. Allow underlayers to poke out for extra interest.

4. When there's so much pattern on top, go for a solid bottom.

5. Use a single palette (here, earth tones) to make everything work. 


Twelfth St. By Cynthia Vincent   silk crepe de chine top, $218; Bloomingdale’s. ​J. McLaughlin wool turtleneck, $158; jmclaughlin​​.com.  Heartloom  canvas coat with leather belt , $260; heartloom​.com. French Connection cotton blend skirt, $148; cusp​.com.  Kate Spade Saturday  leather satchel, $165; saturday.com. Rebecca Minkoff snake and mesh heels, $275; 212-677-7829.

Jens Mortensen

Use a solid color to pull patterns together

1. Gray: Dip into the whole spectrum - from dark (coat) to light (shell) and in between (pants) - to unify your look.


2. Make a "work" button-down more fun by topping it with a woven shell.


3. Use wide-leg trousers to balance the fitted top.

4. The embossed leather adds another detail.

United Colors Of Benetton tweed topcoat, $200; benetton.com. Sonia By Sonia Rykiel cotton shirt, $250; revolveclothing.com. Banana Republic shell, $70; bananarepublic.com. White House Black Market patent leather bow belt, $44; whbm.com. Tracy Reese viscose blend trousers, $328; 212-807-0505. Via Spiga leather sneakers, $155; bloomingdales.com.

Jens Mortensen

Use a bold color to pull patterns together

1. Orange: It pulls this look together in T-shirt, jacket and skirt. 


2. Put darker shades (cardigan) under lighter ones (jacket) for a slenderizing effect. 


3. The beauty of a slim pencil skirt is that it allows overlayers to lie flat. 

Splendid cotton blend orange T-shirt, $54; splendid.com. Loft cardigan, $60; loft.com. Tracy Reese beaded jacket, $298; anthropologie.com. W118 By Walter Baker cotton blend skirt, $148; walterbaker.com. Missoni crystal earrings, $200; 212-517-9339 Isaac Mizrahi slingbacks, $140; nordstrom.com.

Jens Mortensen

Consider your coat a layer

1. A coat of mixed materials (here, bouclé and faux leather) provides unexpected texture.


2. A white button-down is a versatile first layer (and you already own one). 


3. Cotton jeans get "winterized" when worn with a heavier coat or sweater.

4. Cobalt blue runs like a theme through all the layers, pulling the look together. 


Old Navy cotton shirt, $25; oldnavy.com. Cable & Gauge blue-and-white cotton blend sweater, $36; cableandgauge.com. Club Monaco silk scarf, $90; clubmonaco.com. Calvin Klein bouclé with faux-leather-sleeve coat, $360; Macy’s. Kate Spade Saturday cotton and Lycra pants, $120; saturday.com. Violetta cross-body bag, $295; shopvioletta.com.

Jens Mortensen

Consider your coat a layer

1. A sleeveless trench reveals pretty underlayers.


2. This white button-down is summer weight but moves to winter with added top layers.

3. Ankle-strap flats (a huge trend) can be worn right through spring.


4. Burgundy jeans are a chic, grown-up alternative to blue denim.

5. The new proportion: long shirt under short sweater.

10 Crosby Derek Lam cotton blend shirt, $325; bygeorgeaustin.com. H&M burgundy angora blend sweater, $60; hm.com. Tommy Hilfiger cotton jacket, $249; tommy.com. Vince Camuto coated denim pants, $139; vincecamuto​.com. Dolce Vita leather flats, 129; dolcevita.com.

Jens Mortensen

Layer something short over something long

1. Employ a sheer first layer (here a tulle T-shirt) to add sleeves under a summer-weight tunic.

2. A sheer, laser-cut skirt. Too bare? Pull on opaque black tights. 

3. Add the whimsy of a black-and-white-print flat.

4. By adding a layer, this airy tunic becomes a year-rounder.

5. Place a short tuxedo vest over a long tunic.


Calvin Klein white tunic top, $69; calvinklein.com. Only Hearts By Helena Stuart nylon tulle T-shirt, $48; onlyhearts.com. Kate Spade Saturday cotton blend vest, $110; saturday.com. Ann Taylor laser-cut skirt, $98; anntaylor.com. Adia Kibur Accessories braided crystal necklace, $145; lifemix.netIsaac Mizrahi flats, $135; macys.com.

Jens Mortensen

Layer something short over something long

1. Try a short sweater over a long dress.


2. Layer different shades of one color (blue). Nope, they don't have a match.


3. Printed pants add a playful element and break up the solids on top. 

4. The right shoe might be a bootie. Make sure the top meets the hem of the pants.

Tommy Hilfiger wool sweater, $169; tommy.com. Minnie Rose washable blue silk dress, $268; minnierose.com. Holst + Lee agate and nylon cord necklace, $325; holstandlee.com. Tucker By Gaby Basora silk pants, $298; tucker​bygabybasora.com. Palethorp leather cross-body bag, $195; palethorp.comBanana Republic suede booties, $168; bananarepublic.com.


Click here for MORE great ideas on how to give your wardrobe a boost of color. 


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Jens Mortensen

First published in the February 2014 issue

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