Spring Style Cheat Sheet: How to Layer Your Outfits

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Not to gripe, but there is one aspect of spring that isn’t appealing: figuring out what to wear. The season is lovely when you’re dressing for mid-afternoon temperatures or selecting an outfit to wear to dinner, but when you need your outfit to transition from chilly mornings to hot afternoons, a dark cloud forms over your closet. But dressing to avoid the April showers — literally and figuratively – is a breeze when you layer up.

One of the best ways to combat cold in the A.M. is to befriend the blazer. Heavier than a cardigan, you can easily slip a blazer over most outfits. When put over a lightweight sweater or blouse, you’ll still be work appropriate when the temperature rises, and you shed the jacket in the afternoon. It works in casual settings too. Blazers look simple but chic with jeans, even if you’re just throwing it on over a t-shirt.

What material the blazer is made of will make the world of difference in your fight against frosty air. Heavier blazers in wools or tweeds work best in early spring, or when the temperature is going to fluctuate wildly. If you select a tweed jacket, pick one in a light, fresh color and stay away from grays or darker colors, which are better suited for winter. As the temperatures heat up, even in the early hours of the day, look for lighter options like linens and seersucker.

Of course, another option is the cardigan — a piece of clothing that complements late spring perfectly. Most cardigans will be lighter than the blazer, so you won’t be able to wear something heavy underneath, and hopefully you won’t need to. The jean jacket is once again a trend and provides a third choice for pieces that transition from cool mornings to warm afternoons. Unlike cardigans and blazers though, the jean jacket might not suit the office dress code.

Source: www.jcrew.com

Source: www.jcrew.com

Cardigans, blazers, and jean jackets will help keep you at the appropriate temperature as you pop in and out of buildings without having to constantly take layers on and off — but sometimes you just need a little more. In that case, it is time to invest in a lightweight spring jacket.

To get the most out of this jacket, look for one that is water resistant; all the layering in the world won’t help you fight off a chill that starts because your clothes are soaked through from an April shower. A trench coat is a timeless option, one you can continually pull out of your closet in the spring and fall. Designers have also taken the fatigue jacket and created a stylish, everyday jacket for women. The jacket is influenced by the military, often has a hood, and in incredibly practical and fashionable for springtime.

When layering, it is important to remember every layer counts. In the winter or colder months when your top layer will stay firmly in place, it is less of an issue that the blouse you’re wearing has a stain on side. Blazers buttoned and cardigans wrapped, no one notices because no one can see. But as you peel the layers away in the spring, all those flaws are suddenly visible.

There are several ways to approach the base layer. In casual settings, a simple white t-shirt will never be amiss. At the office, a white blouse, button-up, or shell preforms the same basic, classic role. The exception to this rule of course, is if you’re wearing a white or cream colored top layer.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

In general, try to select a piece for your base layer that is the opposite of what you are putting over it. Obviously, this doesn’t mean pair your striped cardigan with a checked or polka dot shirt (unless you can pull off that kind of mix and match pattern). Instead, offset a bright blazer with a neutral shirt and vice versa. 

Unfortunately, the options for layering when it comes to pants and skirts. There is really no avoiding cold legs in the morning if you want to wear a skirt or dress. Maxi or tea length have more material than a mini, affording you extra coverage and keeping you from freezing. Pay attention to the material to make sure it isn’t too heavy for the afternoon since you can’t peel away parts of the skirt like you can a jacket.

One final piece of the layering puzzle is the spring scarf. Bright, light, and easily stowed in a purse, the spring scarf is an easy way to add a little extra warmth, and a whole lot of personality to an outfit. It doesn’t need to match your outfit, it just needs to go. Different shades of a certain color don’t have to clash — although sometimes they definitely do — but they don’t need match perfectly either.

When colors are incredibly close, but just a little off, it will look like you’re trying to match them together. This isn’t a problem if they are separated by a distance — for example you have on pastel green shoes and a pastel green scarf but the shoes are just a little bit brighter. No one is really going to notice, and it is not worth fretting about. When that slight differential takes place with a scarf and shirt though, it does become noticeable.

So stock up on layers, and get out and finally breathe that fresh spring air!

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