Oversized Layers

We have no doubt that you, dear readers, know how to layer your clothes: it's a practical necessity this time of year and a required skill for any fashionable person. But we also know that everyone could use a little inspiration in this department, as it's important to ensure that these climate-required coverings feel like a stylish choice rather than a utilitarian drag. On that note, weÂ'd love to offer you a few on-trend tastemakers who wear their oversized layers in fabulous ways. Whether you love Mary-Kate Olsen's plentiful scarves or prefer Jessica Alba's chic neutrals, you're sure to find a piece or two (plus some tips and tricks) for creating your own equally nuanced outfits.

Before we delve too deeply into the details of our trendsetters' outfits, we'd like to start with a request: try color. In the spirit of Missoni's fall collection, instead of simply wearing oversized layers in different shades of black, try neutrals, earth tones, and perhaps a pattern or two. This multi-color approach yields a lighter and more interesting look that's perfect for bundling up in a non-blah way. Bearing that in mind, let's move on to our celebrity subjects!

The first muse on our radar is also one who's well known for her ability to pile on lots of pieces in an artsy-chic way: Mary-Kate Olsen. The mini mogul embraced the oversized layered look (or returned to it, if you prefer) last month when she was snapped in Venice wearing a scarf-centric ensemble. Though, admittedly, her generously-cut black blouse and skinny jeans aren't exactly tundra-approved gear, we love the double scarf detailÂ--it makes the whole look so much more interesting. Props for the Carol Christian Poell Rubber Band Boots and feather-accented fedora too. If you want to put something similar together, start with some faded black jeans like BDG's Authentic Skinny Jeans ($49) or Topshop's Skinny Baxter Jeans ($80) in gray. Accessorize with Burberry's Tartan Half Mega Check Scarf ($350), some flat boots like Carvela's Sprint Flat Ankle Boots ($238) or Steve Madden's Superbb Boots ($170), and finish the outfit with Bailey's Barr Snap Brim Wool Fedora ($88).

In addition to Ms. Olsen, Rihanna also recently wore loads of layers when flying between Norway and London. The singer got cozy in an enormous charcoal scarf ("A gift from Oprah" we hear), Stella McCartney jacket, and a pale gray hoodieÂ--a snuggly selection that was perfectly punctuated with a pair of skinny jeans, Gucci 1603S Sunglasses, and some lace-up boots, specifically All Saints' Military Boots ($250). To try out Rihanna's travel look, pick up a Lovequotes Scarf ($88) in Black Meditation, Zoa's Oversized Hoodie Shirt ($79), and Rachel Rachel Roy's Felted 4-Way Convertible Coat ($132). Simply pair with body-con denim, like 7 For All Mankind's Roxanne Skinny Slimmer Jeans ($155) and boots, like Seychelle's Meteor Shower II Combat Ankle Boots ($147), for Rihanna's singular style.

Of course, oversized layers need not always look grungy or tough, as Jessica Alba so deftly demonstrated on a recent shopping trip in Beverly Hills. The actress created a divine blend of taupe, beige, and gray when she layered a nearly knee-length sweaterÂ--specifically Club Monaco's Zoe Cardigan ($189)Â--under a pale Burberry trench, then added gray tights and a pair of caramel Gerard Darel boots (which are available at the designer's boutique in Paris). The finishing touches: a gossamer gray scarf and Club Monaco's Harriet Fingerless Gloves ($49). To emulate Alba's beautiful mix of neutrals, you'll first need a trench; try Lands' End's The Heritage Trench Coat ($199), it's not quite as iconic (or expensive) as Burberry's Brit Cotton Twill Trench ($995), but it will certainly get the job done. Add a semi-sheer soft gray scarf, like Rag and Bone's Superfine Scarf ($240), J. Crew's Refined Silk-Cashmere Wrap ($75) in soft dove, and some taupe or tan flat boots and you'll be set. (Shoe-wise we like Pour la Victorie's Malorie Boots ($375) and Coconuts by Matisse's Jackson Buckle Boots ($101), but feel free to swap in your own neutral shoes instead.)

To wrap up this story, we'll conclude with the incomparable Gwen Stefani, who was spotted in oversized layers in late December. For a walk through Regent's Park in London, Stefani opted for a two-tone asymmetrical trench-style coat, chunky knit scarf and practical black flat boots. To try out a similar style, we suggest starting with your favorite piece of oversized outerwear (ideally in an earth tone), or something double-breasted like Calvin Klein's Double Breasted High Collar Coat ($100). Layer it over an asymmetrical sweater, such as Juicy Couture's Draped Cardigan ($178) or Forever 21's Duo-Color Open Cardigan ($15.80), and add a gray and beige scarf like A.Ok's Gauze Double Layer Scarf ($48) or Goddis' Milk Chocolate Eternity Scarf ($125). As for footwear, we like Frye's Shirley Riding Boots ($388) or Aldo's Brendal Boots ($140) for a more moto-inspired version.

Photos of Rihanna and Mary Kate Olsen, from INF; Photo of Jessica Alba, from WENN; Photo of Gwen Stefani, Bauer Griffin.
EXPLORE: Beauty, Gwen Stefani, Mary-Kate Olsen, Rihanna, Burberry, Juicy Couture, Rag & Bone


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