Layers Are For Cakes

A few reasons to retire the "layered look." Remember — "easy" is code for "lazy."

by Allie Robbins • More.com Member { View Profile }

In the spirit of not being old, I have written quite a few blog posts about "what not to wear," and I present to you my latest installment.

Let’s officially add to our “Do Not Wear List” the following: The layered look — the shirt-over-another-shirt ensemble. This pairing (short sleeve shirt with a long sleeve shirt over it as sort of a jacket) got started in the '70s, I think, as a way to look casual, kind of outdoorsy, natural. I’m not sure it ever accomplished that but, regardless, now it looks frumpy, boring, and just plain tired. Seriously, I’m not kidding. This just screams retirement village or like you’re one of those ladies that volunteers at the voting polls. All that’s needed now are mom jeans or elastic waist pants. I know the big over-shirt hides a multitude of sins (e.g., belly, butt, bus driver arms), and most of these little sets are "wash and wear" so they’re easy. (Do people actually ever use the terms “set” or “wash and wear” anymore?) But, remember: the words “easy” and “comfort” are actually code words for “lazy” and “bloated,” respectively.

Now, I’m not saying that the layered look is never O.K.  But, it has to be undertaken with some 21st century panache. So, let’s make some rules for executing the layered look in a proper, “I’m over 40, you got a problem with that?” sort of way.

Rule 1: Never, and I mean never, buy a layered look "set." You know, the kind that comes with two nicely coordinated shirts. “Coordinated” should be your clue there.

Rule 2: The overshirt must have some tailoring of some sort. Rule of thumb: The bottom of the shirt should be smaller in diameter than the top. 

Rule 3: The overshirt cannot be made of denim. I don’t know why, it just can’t.

Rule 4: The color of the undershirt can only be white, off-white or, possibly, black. That’s it. No lilac, rose, peach. I’m getting nauseated just typing those colors.

Rule 5: If you’re not sure, just opt for wearing the overshirt by itself.  Buttoned, of course, or else we’d end up giving “layered look” a whole other meaning.

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