Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dress for Your Body: 3 Ways to Layer

This article was originally written for Verily Magazine, and appeared on 2/27/14. 

BY SARA JANE BAKER (check out my Author page on Verily!) 

I believe layers do for the body what a cup of hot chocolate does for the soul. There is something that feels so good about bundling up under a sweater, scarf, and a cozy coat (bonus if you can snuggle up to a nearby fireplace). That said, after piling on all the layers, a gal can be left feeling a bit like a toasty marshmallow—especially for those of us who have a naturally curvier figure (that’s me!).

So I bring you three tips on how to dress well in layers that will leave you feeling fabulous and bulk-free.

1. Layer Over a Dress
I like to recycle items in my closet and repurpose them throughout the different seasons. Try layering a crop-top shirt over a solid-colored summer dress. This is a fun twist on the crop-top trend, and sleeveless dresses eliminate bulk in the upper-arm area. Finish the look with a chambray shirt (chambray is the new black, am I right?). I suggest tying the chambray shirt around your waist, which highlights and gives the body a lovely silhouette.

2. Play with Textures and Prints

Try mixing an animal print with a classic staple, like a chambray shirt (you may have noticed Ilive for jean shirts), and add a textured coat such as herringbone or tweed. Accessories add dimension to the outfit, so add a thick leather or suede belt to give definition to your waist. (Yay! I can tell you already look fabulous.)


3. Balance Bulky Sweaters
When wearing a heavy sweater or cardigan, you can balance the volume with a slim fitting pant like skinny jeans or thick leggings. A collared top looks great under a sweater. Try a collard undershirt in chiffon, silk, or light-denim material. Don’t use layers that are too heavy or baggy—nobody wants to drown in fabric!

If adding a jacket, opt for a cropped style to highlight the waist.
Lastly, think about length and proportion for your body. Longer sweaters and long necklaces will lengthen the torso. Shorter sweaters, layered over a longer fitted shirt will highlight the waist. Long necklaces elongate the middle (added bonus, long necklaces can usually be found at vintage stores—hello, thrift shop!)

Images by Martim Thomaz


  1. You write for Verily magazine too? Cool! You seem to be doing well getting to write for these different places.

    1. Thanks Kristian! I feel very grateful to have so many wonderful opportunities! Hope all is well with you :).