Layering Tops

Layering tops is simply the process of putting a number of garments on, over one another.

Layering tops. Angelina Jolie at Davos.

It is a process used to keep warm but also as a fashion technique to quickly and simply achieve different looks from a mixture of colours and lengths.

It is not as simple as it seems to achieve the correct result and some women consider the use of layered tops a minor art form in itself and finally, it is a more than useful styling form for curvy clothing.

Below I will discuss; the warmth principle and then the main advantages of the technique with some tips and plenty of photos as examples.

What is Layering?

It can mean many different things in cake making, hair dressing, plant propagation, computer programming etc but in the context of fashion it is wearing two or more garments at the same time to create an effect.

The 3 Main Advantages of Layering Tops

This whole process can achieve a variety of different results. Done badly and it can look messy and bulky but done well, it can really improve your look. There are 3 distinct advantages that layered tops can provide.

  1. You can add different colours
  2. Introduce different textures
  3. Change the length of your look and highlight or de-emphasize different features

This is a slightly different approach to layered tops themselves. If you are actually looking for those, go to the

Related page: Layered Tops

(1) Adding Different Colours

This is such a wonderfully simple concept and one that can be achieved for very little cost. You can either use this method to:

  • add a second layer of the same colour
  • add a contrasting colour 
  • or a slightly different shade

(1 A) Layering Tops with the Same Colour

The classic example of the same colour would be a twin set. Different women have opposing views on this. Some consider it old fashioned, whereas others look at it as a classic look. Your choice.

The classic 'twin set' combo is a high neck sweater and a cardigan.

Nowadays there are more variations on this theme available.

(1 B) Adding a Contrasting Colour

The classic way to achieve this is by using either a black or white layer. It is better to use that beneath and use the principal colour on the top.

(1 C) Adding a Different Shade

This technique is beloved of style maestros the world over. Using a slightly different tone or shade is such a subtle move but can highlight the underlying colour and bring the whole colour scheme alive.

(2) Introducing Different Textiles

If you use different textiles when layering tops you can subtly add real interest to an outfit. There are many ways to achieve this and it is a perfect opportunity for you to add a personal touch.

The above example is of a sheer, light weight jacket that floats over the top beneath. The other outfit features a ruched collar. There are a multitude of different combinations you can use.

On the left we have a big chunky sweater teamed with a light knit sweater beneath. On the right Angelina Jolie wears a white silk camisole beneath a beautiful ivory jacket.



(3) Layering Tops To Change Shape

For me, this section is the most fascinating. I always love how a small, subtle change of emphasis can seriously affect the way a whole outfit can look.

With different layering tops you can:

  • add length
  • creating curves
  • draw the eye to or from areas

(3 A) Adding length

Many women want to add vertical lines. This is possibly because they are short, or maybe because they are apple or pear shaped and want to reduce the concept of width and highlight the concept of length.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that may of us like to add length and these subtle changes can create that illusion as they will draw the eye up and down.

You can see how the grey 'maxi' cardigan draws your eyes up and down and seems to create an illusion of length. The contrasting colours on the right emphasize the vertical lines.

I also wanted to use that photo because it is another example of differing textiles; a wool cardigan and a denim shirt.

Where the bottom hem or edge finishes is critically important as it will draw the eye. If you have big hips you do not want it to finish on the hips. Either finish above or below, see the examples above.

(3 B) Create Curves

On the left you can see how the big collar highlights and adds bulk to the shoulders. A nice trick for pear shaped ladies who want to balance their hips. (That's me folks).

In the picture above on the right, the edge of the layering top is curved rather than most of the straight edged vertical lines seen on this page. This sweeps your eye outwards and creates the illusion of curves. An excellent tip for rectangular shaped women

In the above left photo of a sleeveless top, the eye is brought in and out which emphasises the waist and / or creates the illusion of an hourglass shape.

Another good alternative for layering tops is the shrug. The shrug on the right, stops high on the waist and hence the waist, often the narrowest part of any woman's torso is emphasized.

(3 C) Emphasizing and De-emphasizing

The oldest trick in the book is to use dark colours on those body parts we wish to de-emphasize and light colours where we wish to highlight.

In the above example the cardigan stops short and the white block beneath, draws the eye. This is a great tip for inverted pear shapes ladies with slim hips or broad shoulders. 

Conversely, stopping the cardigan short and wearing a dark colour beneath reduces the impact of big hips.

To return to the top of the page, click layering tops

To see more style tips for curvy women, go to curvy clothing

Or to go to the main home page, style for busty women


Did you like this page, did you learn something, maybe it reinforced you own views? I want to give as much (hopefully helpful) advice to the busty sisterhood as I can.

Please remember, we are all different. You may like to wear certain clothes and styles which I am suggesting that you should not. That is your absolute right. Do what makes you feel good. This site undeniably goes for the more modest approach because I feel all busty ladies already know how to be more racy if they wish.

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Layering Tops For Warmth

I will quickly explain the warmth factor - you can simply skip this section if you wish to move onto the fashion aspects.

By adding extra layers one can keep warmer. That sounds obvious but one can become warmer by wearing two thin layers as opposed to one thick one. This works because air molecules are trapped between the garments, these air molecules warm up through body heat and then remain as a type of insulation.

If you want to get in touch with your inner nerd, the scientific term is thermal regulation. The advantage being that you can peel off garments or add them on, to cool down or warm up, to suit your needs.



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