Wishing spaghetti straps were work-appropriate.
December 12, 2012 4:32 PM   Subscribe

How do I look put together without sweating bullets? Looking for alternatives to cardigans and blazers for a stylish layered look.

I have been reading a lot of this fashion site and I am loving the professional and casual outfits she puts together, often with sweaters and jackets. I am looking specifically for that kind of layered look. Only problem is my work space A/C is iffy and I live in the South. Any suggestions for something else I can layer on top of blouses and shirts that won't have me dying of heatstroke?
posted by quietta to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
you see all those button down shirts she's wearing? you can get those in very very light fabrics and they're great for layering.
posted by saraindc at 4:44 PM on December 12, 2012

It really is mostly about the fabric. Very light fabrics for jackets, open weave style sweaters, or very light sweaters, will all work to layer. Cuts can help too, like short sleeved jackets and sweaters, or bolero jackets.

And, you don't need a lot of layering to look stylish. A well cut dress needs at most some sharp jewelry -- and sleeveless or short sleeved is fine. You can also look very put together with a well cut shirt, slacks, and good looking belt. Finally, you can do a lot with a scarf in a light, airy fabric.
posted by bearwife at 4:52 PM on December 12, 2012

Try wearing a sleeveless shell/camisole underneath blazers and cardigans instead of a long-sleeved shirt. (The only potential drawback is if you wear a cami you've got to commit to wearing that outer layer all day.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:06 PM on December 12, 2012

Best answer: Scarves. I've noticed that a nicely-tied scarf in some kind of silky/gauzy fabric makes any outfit look instantly more chic.

Unfortunately, I loathe the feeling of scarves myself, and have the same issues you do with heat at work. I'll be watching this thread with interest!

(And my golden rule is: don't layer stuff in such a way that you can't get away with removing the top layer. If I had a dollar for every day I've spent sweating in an office because I've layered a 'light' cardigan or jacket over a strappy top, I could retire.)
posted by Salamander at 6:03 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have to layer or wear at least half-sleeve tops at the office because my upper arms are tattooed and I prefer not to show them in a professional setting. I usually wear a sleeveless shell or a cap-sleeve top in a lightweight, breathable fabric under a cotton or linen cardigan. The key is in the fabrics. Make sure they're light and breathable and layer away.
posted by bedhead at 7:59 PM on December 12, 2012

Wear sleeveless shells under a dressy-but-breathable bolero sweater/jacket. Look at a bolero like a summer-weather cardigan. Maybe you can find one in linen?
posted by Hawk V at 1:11 AM on December 13, 2012

Best answer: I'm another big fan of sleeveless shells (Eileen Fisher makes really good ones) under a cardigan or lightweight jacket. Where I live, summertime is a matter of going from heavily air-conditioned office to outside at 90 degrees or above and back again, so I love the layers.

Also, for me, shapewear - I balked at the idea for so long, but I'm a short-waisted "apple" type whose weight goes all to the midsection so I need something to smooth me out. And if you haven't been fitted for a bra, do so - a well-fitted bra makes you look oh so much better even in a T-shirt and jeans. (YMMV on shapewear. You might not need it depending on your body type.)

I also like a piece (or two!) of "statement" jewelry with simple outfits - a cuff, a chain necklace with semi-precious stones, one of my vintage pieces - a snazzy item of jewelry makes a simple outfit look special.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:14 AM on December 13, 2012

Short-sleeved cardigans saved me when my workplace was very hot. Over short-sleeved blouses or camisoles.
posted by mai at 4:49 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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