The Directrice Re-presents: Casual Layers

Although our thoughts, on the cusp of summer, may be moving away from layering, today’s re-post from 2017 addresses a worthy year-round topic. And . . . there is air-conditioning. Did you see that the New York Times last week reported a recent study showing that women perform better when taking tests in warmer rooms. Apparently, the Battle of the Thermostat isn’t just about whose comfort is more important; it’s about who seems more qualified to run the world. Setting aside this disturbing evidence of a global conspiracy to keep me from achieving my full potential, here is the original post on layering:
Rounding out the Key Set are the casual layers. These are some of my favorite casual business and casual Friday selections. Some have more layers than might be apparent at first glance.

Favorite Top
Favorite Top: a simple smocked cotton tank with an assertive sash
Sweater Dress
Ancient Eileen Fisher merino wool shell and skirt with an old denim jacket

You may be asking Why layering? Who really cares? Layers = depth; depth = visual interest. Certainly, some garments are so beautifully cut and fit so perfectly that they deserve to be presented alone — like a diamond solitaire. But most garments benefit from a little companionship.
Here is a simple suggestion to get you started: Don’t just wear a blouse and trousers. Wear something under or over the blouse. For extra credit, add a scarf before you walk out the door.

Further Advanced Topics
An inspired combination of two old things
The jacket that walked among the dinosaurs
The jacket that walked among the dinosaurs
For Casual Friday
Ruffled Neckline ISO Pleated Nest

Each layer needs to show; thus, each layer should cover less area than the preceding layer — e.g., a cropped top over a regular blouse. (Note: If you do this in reverse, all you get is bulk. There are exceptions to this rule: blouse under a dress, ultra-thin layers, boyfriend jacket.) Don’t confuse surface area with volume, however. Layers can become more voluminous as you work your way out. Consider the poofy bustier over a slim-fitting blouse. (Note: If you wear volume closest to the body, you also get bulk.)

If you are trying to add more layers to your outfits, ask yourself this every morning after you’ve dressed for the day: What else could I put on? Easy additions are: a striped tee-shirt or patterned camisole under your blouse; a silk tank over a white blouse worn with a jacket; a cardigan or sweater vest between your top and your jacket; a crew neck sweater worn knotted over your shoulders (or around your neck) on top of your jacket; a scarf on top of anything; a belt over your jacket.
Weirdy Green
Weirdy green loves navy blue
Margaret O'Leary
Margaret O’Leary is perfection
Four, arguably five, layers, if we count the belt and the floral camisole that isn’t visible in this photo

Layering essentials include: tissue-weight tee-shirts, patterned camisoles and tanks, sleeveless sweaters, cotton gauze or silk blouses, shrunken cardigans. One final thought. Anything that you’ve looked at and thought That’s too bare to wear to work is made for layering.
Note The Most Beautiful Creature in the World (walking behind me)
The most beautiful creature in the world is in this photo; she’s walking behind me

Necklace likes to get out
Striped tee goes with everything

What is really remarkable to me, looking back over these photos, is how old most of these clothes are. Three-quarters of these photos involve clothes that are 7-10 years old. That’s old, right? But what does it mean?
I have extracted three observations from this review. First, a universal lesson: If you buy nice things and take good care of them, they will last a long time. Second, a personal observation: I must get dressed up more days than not; thus, my casual clothes get less wear and last longer. Third, a personal validation: I am a little bit less acquisitive/greedy than I thought. Just a bit.
I planned to deliver the Key Set in three parts, but have realized we need one more: The Accessories. Stay tuned.
Have a fantastic weekend!

5 thoughts on “The Directrice Re-presents: Casual Layers”

  1. I read the NYT piece on air-conditioned offices and women, and thought how tired I am of always being an outlier! I am ALWAYS hot and welcome the coldest office possible. Which leads to my answer to your question, “What else could I put on?” — nothing! What else can I TAKE OFF?!

    Layers look great on you, but on me (curvy, tall, old), look ridiculous.

  2. The layering tutorial is very useful especially as the AC comes on at work. I do need to remember if the bottom layer can also stand alone… sometimes that is also a concern when leaving the AC…

  3. I read that article too.
    One of the few perks that my behemoth Federal building offers is enthusiastic A/C.
    I’d rather be forced to own an assortment of summer sweaters, jackets, and scarves that I remove upon leaving the building than spend my days with sweaty co-workers.

    • A fair point, Ginger. One can always add another layer! When I get too cold inside, I go outside for a quick walk to bring my core temperature back up to 98.5 degrees.

  4. I also saw the battle of the AC article. I never minded AC in my corporate life, I wore a blazer like the men so it wasn’t an issue. In a more casual environment I simply avoided sleeveless tops and sandals/open-toe shoes. Now that I work in an overheated classroom, I fondly recall those over-air conditioned offices!
    Thanks for posting the layering retrospective, I enjoyed seeing such a variety of looks in one post.


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