By Lola Connelly
Layering your clothing at then end of the day is a skill. And I can even go as far to say it is a work of art. When it’s done well it can look elegant and sophisticated. Yet, so many women are afraid, with the fear of looking too bulky or constricted.
Of course, layering will take time to figure out what works best for you, all depending on your clothing items and sense of style. In particular, layering is both practical and creative, and there are certainly so many unique ways you can make this happen.
What makes layering sustainable?
Layering is one of the best ways to make the most out of our wardrobes. Especially to reinvigorate our summer and spring clothes. Shop your own wardrobe and experiment with your already owned clothes, to give them a new lease of life. Winter months can be unpredictable, but layering can easily be adapted to suit whatever climate.
Therefore, putting a stop to unnecessary consumption.
Before getting into some layering inspiration, here are some quick tips:
1. One bulky item
This is not to say you should only wear one jumper. Two jumpers are above all, super practical for warmth. However, the key is to combine light and heavy knits, so to not swamp your body. This will allow you to achieve that effortless French style. A knitted vest is also a great investment for adding an extra layer of warmth, whilst not adding any bulk.
2. Focus on the fabrics
Texture within layering is essential, especially if your outfit is all one colour. Varying textures for instance, will add depth and contrast, and you can avoid looking flat or bulky. You should try mixing heavy and soft textures. The middle layer in particular, is a great for a contrasting texture. For example, some great materials for layering include organic cotton, recycled polyester and responsible wool.
3. Keep to one or two colour families
When overlapping your clothes, it is best to work with two colours. Or, you can blend similar shades and hues, to help make your outfit look more put together. Black and white, are essential. If you like a splash of colour however, there are many bold combinations that will not clash. For instance, pale blue and pink, tan and maroon and red and blue.
4. Add accessories
Accessories such as jewelry, belts and scarves, can complete and freshen your look. Adding a few different length necklaces has became the new way of making a statement. Head over to Astrid & Miyu or Cinco, to layer up with elegant chains and intricate links. Belts on the other hand, can be used to cinch your silhouette with practically any item of clothing. Accessorize a belt over a blazer, shirt, dress or knitwear.
5. Play with lengths
Experimenting with lengths can go a long way, and if done right can elongate your figure. Layering the top half, is certainly way easier than the bottom. Which is where the importance of length comes in as, you do not want to look top heavy. Crop tops, long knitted cardigans, high waisted jeans and overcoat is an example of this.
6. Don’t be afraid of a pattern
And of course, don’t be afraid to style a pattern to express your personality. But, if you’re wearing a pattern, make sure to match the overall base colour with your other items. This can look great as a main statement piece, especially as a middle layer.
And most importantly…remember there is no right or wrong way! You wear what works for you. You want to wear an outfit with 5 colours and multiple prints. Do it!
– Filippa Knutsson, Founder
Filippa K garments are simple, practical and suitable for everyday wear. Their classic designs have been through responsible sourcing and ethical production, so they can even have a second life.
Due to the minimalist 90s approach, their aesthetics never go out of style. Therefore, is a perfect brand for layering. Furthermore, due to the longevity of the items, the layering style can be styled any time of the year.
At Filippa K, they are committed to follow the ‘Four Rs’: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, and Recycle.
A Filippa K item can be worn on average 75 times. The industry average is consequently only 7 times.
As a result of this longevity, environmental impact such as CO2 and waste production can be reduced by almost 50%.
Tip: Just because it is winter doesn’t mean you can’t wear your summer dresses. You can wear a dress over a blouse, another dress or even over jeans for example. A-line, lightweight dresses over jeans tend to work better though. Wearing a simple turtle neck underneath your dress will keep you warm and chic. Whilst the wool coat and boots will supply that extra layer of warmth.
ARKET provides many different shades within a limited colour palette. As having previously mentioned, this will provide your layering style with depth and richness. ARKET focuses on longevity and sustainability.
Most importantly, their choice of suppliers, to materials and educating customers. Longevity in particular is responsible of their suppliers and our footprint. The majority of ARKET’s materials are sustainably sourced and verified with:
- Organic Content Standard (OCS)
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
- Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)
- Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)
- Global Recycled Standards (GRS)
ARKET admit they still have work to do, but are committed to several goals. Particularly, more recycled, compostable and/or reusable packaging, and to be 100% circular by 2030.
When it comes to layering, a black turtleneck will go with practically anything.
Tip: Likewise, a white shirt is also a layering staple, and you can’t really go wrong with it. Wear it with jeans, over tops, under a knitted vest, the ideas are endless. Also, the material of the shirt can instantly alter the style. From cotton to silk, you can feel casual or elegant.
Monki have strong values when it comes to social sustainability, and believe in a supportive and kind community. To Monki, they believe sustainability and empowerment go hand-in-hand, so take into account fair wages, safe working environment and stable workload. Some values Monki treat with respect are:
- Human rights
- Animal welfare
- Re-touch and casting guidelines
- LGBTQ+ certified
The also have a ‘no-no list’. Meaning they will for example not use rainforest products, real furs, or PVC. Since, 2018 Monki cotton is 100% sustainably sourced, and are currently working on projects to become fully circular and improve their materials.
Tip: When layering coats, try a pattern with a minimalist tone, along with a heavy and lightweight material. For example, we have a patterned blazer and a black wool (RWS) coat . If you feel as though wearing two coats will feel too constricted, then try ‘shrobing’. An example of this is when you balance your coat on your shoulders, whilst your arms are still out.
Focusing on style not trends, Ivy & Oak’s clothes are timeless. Ivy & Oak centralise their sustainability on 4 steps:
- Design for longevity
- Choose sustainable fabrics
- Know the makers
- Educating consumers
A lot of their garments take inspiration from the beauty of nature, art, travelling and people. But it is also all about simplicity and high quality.
Waste meanwhile is minimal, due to a smart design and development process. Above all, Ivy & Oak will only work with fabric suppliers which meet their values and standards.
Tip: When wearing a skirt, you want to make sure your upper body holds a lot of warmth, whilst not looking top heavy. This is where the variation of lengths with layering comes in. If you’re on the smaller side pair shoes, belts and bottoms of a similar colour to elongate your legs.
Overall, Thought Clothing is committed to fostering change and offering considerate and sustainable ways to dress. Thought Clothing is all about slow fashion and keeping their quantities small to make it that extra bit unique. Every bit of waste is not wasted. It is rather turned into a headbands or socks, and only uses recycled polyester. Here are a few of their sustainability highlights:
- Zero plastic packaging
- 100% Sea freight
- Organic cotton labels
- 100% biodegradable garment bags
- Fairtrade and GOTS certified
Tip: The idea of layering two jumpers together may sound constricting and hefty. Yet, if done right this can look laidback and trendy. Knitwear in particular, is a great layering essential to have in your wardrobe. It can go over dresses, shirts or blouses. So when it come to doubling your knitwear, just make sure to pay attention to the weight. You can also knot the sleeves of your jumper around your neck, if you suddenly get too warm.
Founder of Sézane, Morgane Sézalory had a desire to create clothes that can me worn forever, yet made out of high quality materials.
– Morgane Sézalory
To ensure longevity, every single one of Sézane’s pieces undergoes mechanical stress, and currently have no overproduction of their stock.
Sézane only release a seasonal collection 4 times a year. Their sustainability journey is most importantly ongoing, but are committed to making a difference. Furthermore, Morgane runs a philanthropic fund called DEMAIN, supporting disadvantaged children. To which 10% of Sézanes profits go to on the 21st of every month.
Tip: When it comes to wearing high waisted jeans, playing with proportions and lengths is a must. Try to avoid short jackets as they will take away from the ‘hourglass’ figure. Instead, wear crop tops and tucked in tops and shirts.
Beaumont Organic has been leading the way for a sustainable future since 2008. Their luxury fabrics for the modern woman offer a transitional wardrobe with contrasting fabrics and unique silhouettes. In other words, perfect for layering.
Lastly, we have Xevi Fernandez. Known for their slow fashion, Xevi Fernandez creates sleek and classic designs from some of the finest materials. Based in Barcelona, quality goes before quantity.
Along with promoting long lasting garments and reducing waste, Xevi Fernandez also:
- Work with European suppliers that follow the same values
- Conscious of energy and pollution. During both personal and work life
- Local independent manufacturers. Who pay fair wage and care about their workers health
- Fight for equal gender rights
- Support traditional craftsmanship
The conscious brand takes their imagery very seriously. From the website, to photoshoots, to social media. Visual expression and creating the perfect image aim to express comfort, grace and simplicity.
These are some brands to inspire you with some inspiration on layering your clothes. These ethical brands in particular are made to last throughout the seasons, and are simple and basic enough to wear whenever. When it comes to layering, practice makes perfect, so go and figure out what works for you.
This article may contain some affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, KeiSei Magazine receives a small percentage of the sale price, or some brands may have paid a small fee to be featured. We only recommend brands that match our sustainable and ethical criteria and that we truly believe in.