layering 101: it’s a piece of cake

Colder weather offers great opportunities for layering. Knowing just how to layer without adding bulk can be challenging for some of us. Shirts under sweaters can look too sophomoric at times or create undesired volume. Finding ways to streamline layering using thinner fabrics can keep you warm and will give you the ability to adjust for varying temperatures. If any of the Stylebook readers are like me, I have a very minimal window: my husband says it’s 5 degrees…maybe! In any case, I need to be able to adjust.

Most every project I take on will incorporate an equation of key elements such as Proportion, Scale, Texture, Repetition, and Color. Whether helping someone with their interiors, an invitation, a website, or an outfit, these are some of the key ingredients to success. When styling someone, I usually want to define our goal and then by manipulating these ingredients, I can achieve the effect we are striving for.

Below I make a case for a day-to-evening look using one of the season’s best color combinations: black and forest green. I adore forest green and have been touting this hue as an alternative to black. After a certain age, black can be much more draining on the skin. It’s almost like a vacuum and will suck away your inner glow, especially in the winter months where there is less skin showing (something to consider when thinking of PROPORTION).

[Insert caption] Menswear-inspired wool coat and black slip from Coco Blanca; Silk forest tunic from Kiskadee; Fringe boot, “Carrots” scarf, jewelry, sunglasses, and Wolford tights from The Shoe Hive.

Menswear-inspired wool coat and black slip from Coco Blanca; Silk forest tunic from Kiskadee; Fringe boot, “Carrots” scarf, jewelry, sunglasses, and Wolford tights from The Shoe Hive.

The sheer forest tunic dress here is from Kiskadee. I can sense there are a few naysayers out there that would not define this as a dress and may be confused if they found it on the racks. It’s the way you layer this little gem that will add a fresh new look to your wardrobe. It meets my dress criteria by being longer than fingertip length in the front and offering the exaggerated length in the back. This look has been very popular and won’t feel as short when paired with a boot – especially an over-the-knee variety. Since this post is meant to inspire, I chose the fabulous Stuart Weitzman Mane Fringe OTK boots (you can also use the 50/50 boots without the fringe). The reason is that they will give you coverage and warmth – coverage if you feel your legs aren’t your best feature (these boots are slimming), and necessary warmth for this sheer dress.


The base under the dress is another layer of warmth. Coco Blanca has the most amazing slip. Although it does not offer support, it’s a great layering item and the weight is heavy enough to provide some insulation. The final layer for this look would be one of my favorite finds this fall: the menswear-inspired sweater coat from Coco Blanca. Layer it under other outerwear or use it as a layer over a look such as this. This piece has pockets, adds TEXTURE to the silk tunic, and will frame the jewel tone COLOR in front while offering you coverage from behind.

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The jewelry selection offers more fringe with the Alexis Bitter necklace and earrings (so here we have our REPETITION). Clients often wonder what kind of jewelry to wear in the winter. Usually I say that you increase the SCALE to balance out the heavier knits. For this look, the silk dictated something more delicate and I was able to repeat the fringe from the boot, which was a bonus. The earrings stayed subtle as well in order not to compete with the focal point of the look and scale with the necklace.


Adding a few other items will make for stunning multi-layer style and, in case you are traveling, the ability to rearrange pieces. Wolford Velvet Deluxe 66 tights are my seasonal favorites. Consider adding some color in your eyewear for winter, too. These sunglasses are from Tory Burch, which repeat the color again. Yarnz has a great scarf this year that implements my celebration of black and green. It’s called “Carrots” and you’ll see why upon opening it up. There’s nothing like a little whimsy to keep your wardrobe peppered with good energy.

And for those of you who just cannot bite on the OTK boots or need a more conservative shoe, try something like the Stuart Weitzman Standin. It’s a shootie that will give you that long lean leg when paired with your tights. It also has a very comfortable heel that is easy for managing the varying bricks around Old Town and has become a staple in my own closet this year.


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Alicia was born and raised in Alexandria, and married a local boy. She is happily married and the mother of two amazing children and one adorable and terribly smart border terrier named Dixie. Alicia has always known she was a creative. She collected editions of Vogue from junior high on and has always loved clothing and design. She studied interior design at VCU and parlayed that degree into commercial interior design, the web design, and ultimately found herself managing a local boutique and serving as a stylist to many Alexandrian women. She now has a successful full-time styling business, The Tulle Box, and makes it her business to make her clients feel great about themselves and the way they look.

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