We all like to think of ourselves as a pro when it comes to layering because, let's face it, during these transitional months, you kind of have to be.
The drizzly darkness of winter has passed, but it's not quite warm enough to bare your legs. Which means layering is not only very stylish, but a necessity of day-to-day life.
However, it's very likely that our long devoted relationship with the trend may have entered a bit of rut. Thought layering a T-shirt over a polo neck was daring? What about a shirt under a slip dress? If honesty really is the best policy then we're calling it: that's oh-so-basic.
It's time to spice things up. Luckily, the latest fashion week street style snaps are filled with unconventional new combos to inspire us. You may think 'LOL, nah' at first but give them a chance. We all know a few extra layers can take an outfit from nada to ta-da...
1. Layer a dress over jeans
Yes, that '90s trend we've all tried to forget is having a bit of a moment right now. Simply swapping your tights for a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans can instantly give you an effortlessly edgy feel. Plus, we're not going to say no to whacking out our favourite summer dress a few months early (after all, we all love good cost-per-wear).
One issue: this look can create a petite girl problem so the question remains: how to pull this off without looking like one big blob?
"You've got to be really subtle about the colours, tones and the material, you don't want anything that's too heavy in terms of fabric", says fashion stylist Kitty Cowell, who suggests your dress of choice should boast light materials such as satin or mesh.
It also helps "to be mindful of your body shape", and choose a dress style that won't leave you looking shapeless. A wrap dress, such as this satin number by Iris & Ink, THE OUTNET.COM's in-house label, incorporates a subtle belt that ties you in at the waist. It creates a flattering silhouette and avoids any whispers of the word "frumpy".
If, however, you are blessed with Karlie Kloss-like limbs, you can get away with any trouser/ dress combo, including achieving a more elegant feel by pairing cropped trousers with a trendy maxi dress.
2. Wear two jackets of contrasting lengths
Hold the phone. Doesn't this basically break all principles of dressing? You are only meant to wear one jacket at a time, right? Well, that rule has gone straight out of the window and we are all sorts of confused.
Ah, so this explains why so many fashionistas have been taking to the streets rocking blazers under their duster coats. And there we were thinking it was just because their puffer jacket is at the dry cleaners…
3. Play with textures
This season's top textures include PVC, tulle, velvet and fur. Surely if we mix them all together we'd look like a walking jumble sale?
Believe it or not, experimenting with contrasting fabrics is actually one way of getting an on-point layered look. "Especially if it includes a sheer mesh material," says Kitty.
Tulle is officially our new best friend and you can't really go wrong when layering it this season. Kitty's foolproof option? "Pair see-through mesh with a classic heavy material such as denim or leather. This gives you diversity and an instant cool look."
4. Rework your cold shoulder top
Another reason why we love layering is that it gives us a chance to rework items that have been tossed to the back of our wardrobe.
Just when we thought cold shoulder tops had finally died, they're back, with better statement sleeves and a VERY different vibe. For starters, you can't even see your shoulders.
The idea is to pair a top underneath, adding a different dimension. This can be a tricky look to get right, but, according to Kitty, "as long as you wear a fitted turtleneck underneath", you can WERK those cutouts.
From left to right: Cashmere turtleneck sweater (£170), Cold-shoulder wool top (£100), Distressed boyfriend jeans (£90), Cutout sweater (£95) , Off-the-shoulder top (£90), Crepe wide-leg pants (£120) - all Iris & Ink at THE OUTNET
5. Wrap yourself up in a corset
Yes, we're going there.
By now we've all seen the low key corset trend (cheers Kim Kardashian), but are yet to try this avant-garde method for fear that it looks pretty darn stupid IRL and not at all like it does on our Instagram feeds.
We're not wrong to be hesitant. Kitty warns, "It has to be done in a specific way". You can say that again.
However, over the past few months we've seen lots of ladies boss the corset trend, making it look surprisingly chic by wearing it over a cotton shirt. Therefore, this is by far the best way. "It's sexy, but not totally revealing."
6. Find your colour combination
We've all learned the hard way that wearing layers upon layers can leave us looking like a bit of an idiot. So we're stuck in the safe zone and have stopped ourselves from going out in a three-layer mash-up. But trust us, you can get away with more layers than you think.
In fact, you can incorporate nearly all of the points above into one look if you stick to a complimentary colour palette. Trousers under dress? Check. Corset? Check. A thin polo neck? Check. It shouldn't work, but you have to admit, it totally does.
But how?! We hear you ask. There is a little known secret when it comes to layering like a pro: always add heels. "They really really help elongate the body and can make you pull off nearly any layered look," Kitty tells us. Amen to that.
Now go forth and get your wardrobe to layer pro levels by checking out Iris & Ink's new season collection, available at THE OUTNET.COM. It's filled with classic and effortless items, which will make layering a dream.