Style Panel: 13 smart and stylish ways to layer for confusing weather changes

FASHION Magazine Style Panel: Layering
FASHION Magazine Style Panel: Layering

It’s the middle of October and although the sun may still be shining in some parts of Canada, that doesn’t necessarily mean that temperatures are staying warm. With cooler temperatures upon us, it is time for us to start easing in to our fall wardrobes.

We already covered the options for fall boots a few weeks ago, and this week our Style Panel takes on one of the most desirable, but tricky ways to dress for fall; layering. Layering, as warm and cozy as the end result is, can be difficult for many of us because it can sometimes leave us feeling a little messy or bulky. But leave it to stores like J.Crew to show us how to work this trend properly. It’s Fall 2012 collection was an array of long sleeved shirts under thin sweaters which were then layered with blazers and coats, all the while staying tailored and not looking a touch bulky. There were many mixed prints in the collection as well, but our Style Panel already knows a thing or two about those.

Although the members of our Style Panel may experience completely different climates in the fall, they all understand the importance of layering for this season. And this couldn’t be more apparent with our two newest members. Los Angeles-based See Shop Eat Do blogger Whitney Cosgrave may not have to deal with freezing temperatures and snow, but she still layers with a trench coat for those chilly nights. Kayla Short on the other hand is prepared to take on the below zero weather in Halifax but she notes that the feared bulkiness can be avoided by balance. So have no fear and get layering!

Question 23: What’s the smartest and most stylish way to layer for ever-changing fall weather? Read the answers now! »

Or jump to: ALEX GRANT, VANCOUVER | ALEXANDRA NIKOLAJEV, TORONTO | ALYSSA LAU, EDMONTON | CARA MCLEAY, VANCOUVER | CHRISTINA CRAVERO, TORONTO | JEN TAM, VANCOUVER | KASSANDRA CAMPONI, EDMONTON | KAYLA SHORT, HALIFAX | KRISTIN MACDONALD, FREDRICTON | MARTA TRYSHAK, TORONTO | MO HANDAHU, HALIFAX | VICKIE LALIOTIS, EDMONTON | WHITNEY COSGRAVE, LOS ANGELES

Whitney Cosgrave, See Shop Eat Do: Layering

Whitney Cosgrave, 25
Los Angeles | See Shop Eat Do

I’m so happy that layering has become fashionable as of late – it is such a great way to express your style and to mix up different items in your wardrobe. My favorite way to layer is to put together unexpected combinations (like my polka dot button down and lime green cardigan), and to cinch the look together with a belt. I find a belt to be key when layering as it helps to define your waist so you don’t get lost in the layers! It’s also important to keep your layers on the thin side so that you don’t end up looking too bulky. Finally, I love to throw a classic trench coat over pretty much anything – it keeps you warm and helps to make your outfit look ‘done’.

Alyssa Lau, The Ordinary Peoples: Layering

Alyssa Lau, 20
Edmonton | The Ordinary Peoples

I like to keep things simple and stay warm at the same time whenever the Canadian weather throws a curve ball. This is made possible only by layering 15ºC weather-appropriate jackets with oversized hoodies. And then counterbalancing that with wearing sheer tights. Just kidding. But really, layering jackets with hoodies is always a great way to transition fall jackets into more winter-appropriate ones.

Alyssa’s wearing: T shirt, Oak + Fort, Hat, Lifetime Collective. Backpack, Herschel. Boots, Choies.

Jen Tam, Her Waise Choice: Layering

Jen Tam, 23
Vancouver | Her Waise Choice

As much as I dislike a lack of sunshine, I do become pretty ecstatic about what I can do with my wardrobe come fall. My favourite layering staple by far is the faux fur vest. Under a jacket, over a sweater or wherever else it will fit, this piece not only adds warmth but is also a great pop of texture in a potentially dull cold weather look.

Jen’s wearing: Trench, YesStyle. Faux fur vest, YesStyle. Dress (worn as top), ASOS. Skirt, Dahlia. Belt, Aritzia. Shoes, Zara. Bag, DKNY.

Kassandra Camponi, Kastles: Layering

Kassandra Camponi, 26
Edmonton | Kastles

Layers are one of my favourite things about fall. It makes me feel cozy and somehow more put together. With this look I kept the layering a bit more simple. I started with a cami, put on a cozy pullover, added the poncho and threw on the scarf for the finishing touch. The nice thing with this look is when I start to get a bit warmer I can take off the scarf or poncho and still have a polished look. If you are new to layering, start simple. A couple of my go to layering looks are a button up blouse with a pullover sweater on top, or button up blouse with a dress over top. Another easy way to layer is by wearing tights and socks with little booties.

Christina Cravero, The Style Mogul: Layering

Christina Cravero, 27
Toronto | The Style Mogul

Layering is sometimes a tough style to pull off without being too overdressed, however, with these in between temperatures we have to be prepared for what the weather will throw at us! Light sweaters layered with a light fall jacket and scarf, would be the safest way to layer without looking too bulky.

I am so excited for next week, since it is Toronto Fashion Week! I’ll be layering in other ways to keep warm & stylish (if the weather remains the same). Make sure you buy your ticket to some of the hottest shows and say ‘Hi’ if you do bump in to me! I’d love to see how you’ve layered for the season!

Christina’s wearing: Jacket, Zara. Sweater, Joe Fresh. Jeans, J Brand. Wedges, Zara. Bracelets, DIY creations. Necklace, Winners. Rings, Jewelmint, Material Girl and vintage. Bag, Louis Vuitton. Sunglasses, Tom Ford. Scarf, Zara.

Mo Handahu, Curvy Geekery: Layering

Mo Handahu, 29
Halifax | Curvy Geekery

I am one person that has a wardrobe of all year brights and prints. Layering challenges my creativity because I get to play around with all my favourites and still be able to throw a warm cape over it all. My way of layering includes putting together lightweight pieces with some heavier ones to avoid looking bulky. I love how different textures come into play to make an outfit worthy of a second glance.

Vickie Laliotis, Adventures in Fashion: Layering

Vickie Laliotis, 28
Edmonton | Adventures in Fashion

With unpredictable temperatures and post-summer preferences for cozy outerwear at an all-time high, layering is without a doubt a fall must. Although there’s not one way to do it, I always find layers most appealing when they offer visual contrast, either in colour or pattern form. That’s why I opted to blend a houndstooth dress with a tartan blazer, and anchoring the look with a simple denim shirt. There may not be any steadfast rules when layering is concerned, but if you pay attention to proportion, shape and colour, you’ll be layering with ease in no time.

Vickie’s wearing: Dress, Sirens. Shirt, Forever 21. Blazer, Joe Fresh. Boots, Aldo.

Kristin MacDonald, Doll-Parade: Layering

Kristin MacDonald, 27
Fredericton | Doll Parade

Let’s be honest: I’m far from a layering expert. When I see beautifully layered outfits on another blog, I think to myself, how did they accomplish that elemental complexity? This said , I have been trying my hand at improving my craft, especially as it gets chillier in our Canadian climate. I came up with a few ground rules for myself & started building from there. 1. Mix different textures. Get the eye excited by mixing a matching some of your different wardrobe elements. Leather over denim. Starchy cotton over shine. Faux fur over silk. 2. Create a few focal points. What I love about layers is that I never know where to look. Keeping the eye engaged is keeping the mind intrigued, and this is what makes layering experts so enviable. 3. Keep warm but don’t overheat. Layering is all about versatility so that you could transition from the cold outdoors to a tense meeting, to a dinner, to dancing, and so on. 

Marta Tryshak, With Love Gabrielle: Layering

Marta Tryshak, 24
Toronto/Montreal | With Love Gabrielle

Layering takes time to be good at, but when you do there’s no going back!  It is one look that every woman can adjust to her style and body type. Layering can be as simple as a silk blouse paired with a cardigan. My favourite layering is pairing my Marc by Marc Jacobs fur vest with cozy cashmere sweaters – I am absolutely obsessed with the combination!

Marta’s wearing: Sweater, Julie & Jack. Vest, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Skirt, BCBG Max Azria. Bag, Gusto. Bracelet, Tai. Watch, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Boots, See by Chloe.

Alex Grant, To Vogue or Bust: Layering

Alex Grant, 25
Vancouver | To Vogue or Bust

When you live in the Great White North, the only way to really survive our long winters is through layering, even if you’re on the relatively temperate West Coast. It’s just too cold and/or miserable to put all your eggs in one parka, so to speak. My number one tip for layering is to stick to thin fabrics and lightweight pieces: think luxurious cashmere, cotton or light leather. Accessories are also perfect for achieving that bundled, layered look: fingerless gloves layered over mittens, doubled up scarves or cute ankle socks pulled over merino wool tights are all cold-weather perfection.

Alex’s wearing: Leather jacket, Twenty8Twelve. Dress, Foster Bay. Shirt, H&M. Sweater, Jacob. Booties, ECCO. Gloves and scarf, Club Monaco. Bag, vintage. Earrings, KV BIJOU.

Cara McLeay, A Love Affair With Fashion: Layering

Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair http://www.afashionloveaffair.com/

I am definitely a summer girl, so when the season begins to change, I like to keep the light feeling of summertime while of course layering up for the cooler temperatures. I start with a favourite summer dress and add on from there.

Cara’s wearing: Dress, H&M. T shirt, Zara. Jacket, Bluenotes. Necklace, J.Crew and Jeweliq. Shoes, Steve Madden.

Kayla Short, Short Presents: Layering

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents http://shortpresents.com

Layering is probably one of my favourite parts about fall weather styling. I love playing around with different textures, colors and prints. When you know you’ve done it right it’s almost like an inner triumphant victory. For practicality sake, think of pieces that are as easy to add as they are to subtract.

It’s easy to look like the Michelin man when you are adding layer after layer, so try not to lose your shape. Which can be achieved by wearing pieces that come in at your waist. Or if you’re bulking it up on top, opt for skinny or narrow trousers on bottom for balance. Because I’m often heading to dance classes on the weekend I’ll usually pile on the layers in order to make for quick changes. Often I’ll layer tights, thick socks with boots, and then wear thick sweaters that are easy to remove (i.e. sweaters with zippers and/or buttons) with a nice big scruffy scarf. Easy. Done!

Alexandra Nikolajev I'm A Little: Layering

Alex Nikolajev, 27
Toronto | I’m a Little

While I love to play dress up as much as the next fashion blogger, I do have a confession: I find layering extremely challenging. Different layers work for different people and despite my petite frame, I tend to notice that sometimes layering leaves me looking…a little bulky. To avoid this issue I stay away from loose layers as a base, and opt for thin, form-fitting pieces. I find that these general proportions create a sleek silhouette; one that can be layered for fall with a boxy jacket or trench. For those hitting up Fashion Week (or simply looking to keep warm during the morning commute) throw on an over-sized pashmina, some sheer charcoal nylons and a funky, closed-toe heel or bootie, because layering for the cooler season can still be done in style!

Alexandra’s wearing: Jacket, Zara. Crewneck sweater, J.Crew. Button-down shirt, Ralph Lauren. Skirt, Diane von Furstenberg. Shoes, Zara. Bag, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Jewellery, J.Crew and vintage. Nail polish, Stylenomics by Essie.