Q&A: Layering 101 - How to Layer Your Clothes

June 19th, 2007

Q:  I’m going on a cruise to Alaska in early July, and I was wondering what clothes to bring. How should I dress for the changing weather conditions without looking frumpy?

Rialto Boatneck Sweater at J CrewA: 
Alaska tends to be in the 60s and 70s during July, with nighttime temperatures dipping into the 40s and 50s.  To adjust for the changing weather conditions as you travel up to Alaska and back, it’s all about layering.  Your goal is to be comfortable in every situation–instead of wearing (frumpy) too-thick clothing that isn’t as versatile as you’d like.  Here’s six tips that will get you layering your clothes in style:

(1) Start with a body-conscious foundation layer, such as this fitted striped top from J Crew.
(2) Next, place looser-fitting garments over this foundation layer.  Stiffer fabrics that will hold their shape can work nicely here.
(3) For the top layer, either (1) provide a stark contrast to, or (2) echo some of the detailing in the garments below.
(4) Let the inner garments peek out from under the outer garments.
(5) Vary the length of the tops and bottoms to get the full layered effect.
(6) Finish the outfit with standout accessories.

Have any other layering tips?  Share them with us in the comments!

Pictured: J Crew Rialto Boatneck Sweater | $68 at J Crew.

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Women's

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marcie  |  June 20th, 2007 at 9:15 am

    I’ve never been to Alaska, but I’d start my layering with a long-sleeved silk undershirt - mine is the black pointelle one from Land’s End.

  • 2. Trisha  |  June 20th, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Great tip about the long sleeved silk undershirt, Marcie!

  • 3. RobynT  |  June 21st, 2007 at 12:51 am

    I have a related question–about layering. What kind of jacket or sweater can i wear over a trapeze top? Or is there nothing appropriate? I’ve been looking for a bolero-cut, but even that is fitted until under the bust, which I’m thinking might look strange since the trapeze top flares out there. Maybe I just need a scarf or shawl?

  • 4. Trisha  |  June 21st, 2007 at 3:23 am

    The flare of the trapeze top requires a fitted jacket or sweater to wear over it. You want a fitted item to balance out a looser garment. A bolero jacket is a good choice, as is a cropped sweater or jacket.

  • 5. Beth O  |  June 26th, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    I went on an Alaska cruise a couple summers ago in July. Be sure to bring a pair or two of shorts or skirts along as it can get into the 80’s during the day. Layers are great advice.

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