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Layer Not- Natalie Bridges for Sisters & Co


A deep and devoted love of layering in dressing is a New Zealand phenomenon with which I've never really got to grips. We're addicted to it: cardigans, over tunics, over camis, with a scarf for good measure.

Usually there's also a frill or two involved at the bottom of one of the layers, which pops out around the bottom/hip area- usually the largest part on many of us.

I'm not a fan of this layering style for a several reasons:

  1. Most people look slimmer and better when they don't layer, but instead opt for 'proper' dressing that's taken a bit of thought and one's figure into consideration (see below for more on that!).
  2. It's lazy dressing- a way of hiding beneath clothes rather than using them as a form of expression.
  3. It often means the person isn't as confident or comfortable with themselves as they should or could be and needs to find clothes that make them feel better.

Figure hugging, or at least figure respecting, clothing is far more flattering and slimming that layer upon layer of fabric. It's what my mum calls 'proper' dressing- that is selecting items that you've really thought about, invested in and ensured work with the rest of your wardrobe to fit your body, lifestyle and attitude. If you want to wear a dress, find one that alone feels great and celebrates your body's best attributes. Not one that needs a cardigan to make it work.


Another kiwi classic is the constant urge to put a belt with everything, which tends to cut people off at the waist instead of lengthening and slimming the overall look of the body. Again, generally clothes look much better without a belt. Think of it this way: if it needs a belt, it's probably not right for you, so don't fall for it.

If you're going to layer, make the layering pieces meaningful and purposeful, for example choose a jacket with a bit of tailoring or detail, rather than a big long cardigan that drowns and covers your insecurities. Layers, if incorporated, should provide extra verve to an outfit, not detract or cover it up. If you're having to layer to cover, you haven't got the right basics in the first place.

Photo credits: telegraph.co.uk, archive.fortune.com, www.people.com

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