Haute Hawks: The art of layering in Wisconsin

Oct. 8, 2014

By Jordan Gittens

So you leave your first class of the day and walk outside. Suddenly, it’s about 20 degrees warmer than it was when you left your room, and you feel like you’re about to melt. Thankfully, you were smart enough to layer.

If you hadn’t layered, you would’ve been crawling to classes all day due to heat exhaustion. Of course, two hours later, it’s freezing again and you thank the Heavens you didn’t leave that extra layer in your room.

Layering has always been “in,” but it was successfully revived by the Fall 2014 runway collections shown during fashion week. While we may not call Wisconsin “fashion central,” layering is necessary with this lovely state’s temperamental weather around this time of the year.

“Living in Wisconsin – where the weather goes from sunny and 75 degrees to 32 degrees with flurries in a couple hours – I’ve learned that layering is not only trendy but a necessity,” sophomore Andrea Poppe said.

When designers such as Miu Miu, Hermes and Valentino revived the art of layering on the runway, they also showcased this year’s colors for both men and women. According to Pantone, the world-renowned authority on color, this year the best colors for women for the season are sangria, aurora red, mauve mist, radiant orchid, cypress, bright cobalt, royal blue, cognac and misted yellow. Men’s colors are very much the same, excluding mauve mist.

If you’re not careful, layering can go terribly wrong. You can end up looking bulky, or if you choose the wrong colors, the entire outfit can go to hell. Fashion is forgiving and gives us everything we need to work with. Pieces that you wouldn’t usually pair together now work, and the pairings are glorious.

Some of these pairings are extremely simple. For example, you can pair a pair of high-waisted shorts with a blazer that ends at the hip and can fold to just under your elbow. Under that blazer you can wear a simple tank top and can accessorize the entire outfit with a simple scarf. To make the outfit truly pop, pick a red blazer and a pair of simple shorts. If shorts aren’t quite your thing you can switch those out with an empire waist maxi-skirt; however, you will need a blazer that ends at the waist.

A way to layer with a jacket is to match a colored jacket with a tank top and pumps. If you can’t walk in pumps, they can always be switched out for a pair of combat boots. If you switch them out for boots, try going for an oversized parka, otherwise it looks unbalanced and funky. You can also pair your combat or riding boots with a pair of jeans and an oversized sweater.

Patterned knits are back this season and go great with almost anything. Just don’t wear tights with these because then you just look like every other girl on the street. With all of these outfits, you can easily slip out of the jacket or blazer if it gets a little too warm. If you can’t make it back to your room in time to drop it off, you can always pull a Kim Kardashian and just drape it around your shoulders, making you look extra chic.

Men, have no fear. You can layer too, and it is a whole lot easier than it is for your female counterparts.

Solid colors are your friend and do not be afraid of being monochromatic (one color) especially when it comes to black. The best way to do this is with oversized black tees – you can just stretch a few of your own – bomber jackets that hit the waist, chukka boots and slim or skinny jeans. This makes you look relaxed, yet put together. Another way to work the boot, tee and jean look is to pair it with a flannel that you can tie around your waist if it gets too warm. If you think the boots get a little uncomfortable, you can always pair them with a classic pair of Chuck Taylors.

For a more put together look, a short-sleeved button down with a scoop neck long sleeved tee always looks sophisticated, and you can always remove the long sleeve if it gets to be too warm. This goes great with a pair of dark jeans and chukka boots. If that’s not quite your style, you can pair that short-sleeved button down with a patterned cardigan.

“I really like cardigans because they go with a lot of things and they don’t make me look bigger but they add an extra layer of warmth,” sophomore Mitch Moldenhauer said.

Antonio Marras, J.Crew and No.21 have amazing knits that go great with essentially everything. Cardigans are always popular and are easy to store in your backpack if you need to get rid of it halfway through the day.

Layering is all about understanding colors and different pieces to be able to match them well enough to pull off an outfit. It can be difficult at times, however, with a little research and determination it can be done successfully.

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