3 Ways to Layer Your Clothes Without Looking Bulky

A flattering silhouette is possible, even when you're layering up.
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A flattering silhouette is possible, even when you're layering up.
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I believe layers do for the body what a cup of hot chocolate does for the soul. There is something that feels so good about bundling up under a sweater, scarf, and a cozy coat (bonus if you can snuggle up to a nearby fireplace). That said, after piling on all the layers, a gal can be left feeling a bit like a toasty marshmallow—especially for those of us who have a naturally curvier figure (that’s me!).

So I bring you three tips on how to dress well in layers that will leave you feeling fabulous and bulk-free.

01. Layer Over a Dress

I like to recycle items in my closet and repurpose them throughout the different seasons. Try layering a crop-top shirt over a solid-colored summer dress. This is a fun twist on the crop-top trend, and sleeveless dresses eliminate bulk in the upper-arm area. Finish the look with a chambray shirt (chambray is the new black, am I right?). I suggest tying the chambray shirt around your waist, which highlights and gives the body a lovely silhouette.

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02. Play with Textures and Prints

Try mixing an animal print with a classic staple, like a chambray shirt (you may have noticed I live for jean shirts), and add a textured coat such as herringbone or tweed. Accessories add dimension to the outfit, so add a thick leather or suede belt to give definition to your waist. (Yay! I can tell you already look fabulous.)

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03. Balance Bulky Sweaters 

When wearing a heavy sweater or cardigan, you can balance the volume with a slim fitting pant like skinny jeans or thick leggings.  A collared top looks great under a sweater.  Try a collard undershirt in chiffon, silk, or light-denim material. Don't use layers that are too heavy or baggy—nobody wants to drown in fabric!

If adding a jacket, opt for a cropped style to highlight the waist.

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Lastly, think about length and proportion for your body. Longer sweaters and long necklaces will lengthen the torso. Shorter sweaters, layered over a longer fitted shirt will highlight the waist. Long necklaces elongate the middle (added bonus, long necklaces can usually be found at vintage stores—hello, thrift shop!)

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Images byMartim Thomaz