How To Create The Ultimate Layered Outfit

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I might just be the queen of layering. I wear layers upon layers on a daily basis and have been doing so for as long as I can remember. This might sound a little dramatic, but I don’t even feel like myself if I’m wearing an outfit that isn’t layered in some way. It makes so much sense that I would end up at Free People — you all know how much we love constructing layered outfits over here!

Layering is an awesome way to build an outfit. It adds so much interest, shape, and dimension. It’s a way to create a beautiful look out of pieces that all work together to achieve the desired effect. And it’s fun. Putting a layered outfit together is honestly like creating a work of art. Sometimes you don’t know how it’ll turn out until all the elements come together, but when they do come together, it feels like such an accomplishment. While there is no “right” way to layer, my personal layered outfits are usually all constructed in a similar way. Here are the steps I take to create the ultimate layered outfit.

Step 1:

How to Layer

I usually start with a slim tank and biker shorts or a mini skirt like this Mini Slip. The bottoms don’t necessarily have to show once your outfit is completed — they’re there to assure coverage if you’re going to wear a short skirt or dress.

Step 2:

How to Layer

Thigh highs are not at all necessary to create a layered outfit, but they add to the interest and texture of the look as a whole — plus I just love them.

Step 3:

How to Layer

Next I top my tight skirt with a lighter and flowy skirt like the Penelope Slip. This will most likely be your longest layer (unless your bottom layer peeks out from underneath). I’m known to be one of the girliest of girly girls, so you can expect to see even more ruffles and lace as this outfit is constructed. This is totally a matter of personal preference. If lace ain’t your thing, you can absolutely leave it out!

Step 4:

How to Layer

Now I like to add a slip like the Drop Waist Slip. I always keep in mind that I’m going for a truly layered look, so I make sure the slip is shorter than the skirt beneath it. A general rule in layering an outfit like this one is to make each layer slightly shorter than the one beneath it.

Step 5:

How to Layer
Now it’s time for the top. I usually choose a loose-fitting top that fans out at the bottom. Here I’m wearing the Pintuck Bubble Sleeve Tunic, but I also love the Phoenix Sweater Tunic or Trailing Stars Flounce Tunic.

Step 6:

How to Layer

If it’s chilly, I’ll add a jacket. Choose a flowy jacket to maximize the layered feeling of the outfit. Right now I’m in love with the X Marks Fur Coat, which I’m wearing above.

Step 7:

How to Layer

I like to add a cozy scarf as the top layer. I’m especially fond of the Raggy Fringe Scarf (although I’m not wearing it in this photo). Wrap it around a couple of times to add more layers!

Step 8:

How to Layer

I always finish off the look with a great pair of ankle boots. Here I’m wearing the Youngers Boots, which I love so much. I love that ankle boots + thigh highs + bare legs together create 3 layers on their own!

How to Layer

And there you have it: 8 steps I use to create the ultimate layered outfit. What’s your favorite layering trick?

Photos by Julia.

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Cheryl -November 30, 2012, 9:21AM

So cute!!!! You are the best at layering and such an inspiration <3

megan -November 30, 2012, 10:11AM

Love it!!

Lauren -November 30, 2012, 12:11PM

This all looks so darn cute together that I am tempted to buy each piece and do it myself! Ha ha I love it, and can’t wait to try.

Kassy -November 30, 2012, 3:43PM

Seriously considering to buy all the pieces you used. It is so cute and perfect. I for sure will take inspiration from this.

Lydia -November 30, 2012, 7:00PM

You are adorable!!! Haha now I have to go out and buy some slips!

Eva -December 1, 2012, 9:17AM

Absolutely…ADORABLE!!! love it…u also have amazing hair!

Alexandra -December 2, 2012, 11:42AM

Woh! That certainly is a lot of layers! I’m so awful at layering, so thanks for this. It’d be nice to see a tutorial like this that is a tad less girly.

ella -December 3, 2012, 2:31PM

i love this look, all the feminine layers are something i would want to try! My problem is i’m a bit clumsy when it comes to finding the right shoes to wear with thigh highs. i have a couple of knit thigh highs similar to the pair that is pictured, however i’m never sure how to style/wear them! What type of shoes are a good pairing with thigh highs?

fp brigette -December 4, 2012, 4:36PM

Ella, the truth about thigh highs is that you can literally wear them with ANY shoes! I personally opt for boots that are 2-3 inches above the ankle. Those are what seem to be most flattering on me — maybe you should start there!

Jenna -December 6, 2012, 11:40AM

Love this so so much. Hope to see more layered outfit how-tos!

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