I am curvy. Lumpy, even. And my goal in life is to appear as lump-free as possible. Growing up, I envied the girls who could throw on long-sleeved thermal shirts and then layer their cute little graphic tees on top. Because when I did this, I looked like an outhouse with legs. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I was doing two things wrong: Trying a layered look that fought with my natural figure AND utilizing pieces that weren’t meant to be layered.
A few years after I moved to Minnesota, I realized that I’d better figure out this layering thing or lose my limbs to frostbite. So I experimented a lot, and finally got the knack of keeping warm through being super layered without going all Michelin Man. You’ll have to pick and choose which of these will work with your natural figure, of course, but I’m hoping that at least a few from each category will resonate with yas!
Nylon nude cami, long
OK, you might prefer silk but I find nylon to be superior for sheer ease of use. I handwash every week, but I grit my teeth through it … and since my nylon cami can go in the washing machine, I adore it. But, essentially, you want a slippery camisole that matches your skin tone. Something that you can wear under a white blouse that won’t show through, and something slick enough that it won’t cause friction with outer layers. Go long because nothing is more annoying than a base layer that migrates boob-ward all day long. Am I right?
Tight-fitting tanks, tees, and long-sleeved tees
As I mentioned above, part of my problem in years past was attempting to layer garments that weren’t meant to be layered. Some women can create artfully draped layered looks from loose garments, but most of us should stick to simpler and closer-fitting ensembles. Make sure your underlayers fit to your bod, especially if they aren’t going to be fully visible. I have several tank tops that would be positively risque worn alone, but work great layered beneath other shirts and just peeking out at the hip. Underlayers need to provide extra warmth, a bit of length, a dash of color, and STABILITY for outer layers. Make sure you have a few tanks, tees, and long-sleevers that are tight enough to stay put if you want to throw another similar garment on top.
Tights can be a bear, people. Unless you have rock hard abs and the exact proportions for waistband comfort, you will deal with Segmented Worm Syndrome. But if it’s a choice between doing the dance every so often or wearing pants all winter, I will happily get down and boogie. If the cheapies from your local big box store just make you miserable, try We Love Colors. The company makes tights and leggings in an amazing array of shades, and carries plus sizes for which I ADORE them. However you may do it, find tights that work for you and buy in bulk.
An absolute must for the wearage of tights. Unless you enjoy that whole squirrel nest-smuggler look. (Click the link for joke context, please.)
Silk long underwear
I wear pants very seldom, even in the dead of winter, but when I DO, you can bet your sweet bippy I’ve got my silk longjohns on underneath. Silk is a completely magical fiber that breathes in summer and traps warm air in winter. Wise, wise silk. And it’s slippery, which alleviates unsightly bunching.
Silk, in general
Yes, I just wailed a bit about having to hand wash my silk stuff … but sometimes it’s totally worth it. Weigh the annoyance of hand washing against those magical heat-trapping properties, and sometimes the magic wins out. Silk camisoles, slips, and blouses all make fantastic underlayers for your looser layered looks. Woven silks – in sweaters, blazers, and the like – make fantastic outer layers. Silk = good.
You lose 317% of your body heat out of your neck, and also at least 15% of the body heat of the person standing nearest to you. So for the love of lemurs, get ye a scarf! The bigger and bulkier the better. Little slippery fashion scarves are for summer, find something with heft. Wrap it around your neck, throw it on like a shawl, toss it over one shoulder, whatever works with your figure and personal style.
The more of your foot and leg that is encased in windproof material, the warmer you’ll be. Boots – especially knee-high boots – will keep you hella warmer than tights and pumps. ‘Nuff said.
Sweaters are grand, but knitwear has holes. No holes in a blazer, unless the moths have been feasting upon it. And so long as you stick to blazers that fit in the shoulders and waist – defining your figure instead of masking it – they can create a fantastic top layer. Why, you can pile on that nude cami, a long-sleeved tee, and a giant scarf before adding your blazer as a finishing touch. And you’ll STILL look sleek and pulled-together.
If one dress seems too breezy, why not throw another one on top? Here’s a little video that shows you the ins and outs of dress layering.
I’ll admit it: I am yet to try layering tights. But my blogging compatriots SWEAR by it, and you can get such fantastic color and texture combos going by layering a sheer pair over an opaque one. Not recommended for those who become acutely ornery over matters of Segmented Worm Syndrome, though …
Audi did this a few weeks back and I’m still in awe. If any of you folks have tips on making this work, do holler. My guess is the inner cowl needs to be very lightweight and formfitting …
Layering season is upon us here in the Northern Hemi, and I’ve been applying these techniques more and more frequently the colder it gets. I’m curious to hear if anyone has other tips for successful layering sans lumps … comment away, if so!