Layering: an ongoing trend that we all somehow apply in our day-to-day styling. A trend that has been catching my attention more and more lately as I have been recognizing this specific styling technique for how much freedom it gives me to properly express myself through my outfits, and how, through the careful application, we could use it to properly and amazingly put together highly expressive, elegant and timeless looks. I thought I’d take some time to write about it and share what I’ve learned through the years with my first ever blog post!
Let’s step into the spotlight and admit that we all strive for originality and seek to look unique. We want to communicate who we are and stand out through our outfits. Most of us shop as if we are looking for treasures, when we find that top or skirt, all of a sudden, it's a magical moment, a moment that no one else really is aware of, you feel as if that piece of apparel understands and accepts you for who you are (cheesy, I know, but let’s face that we’ve all been through it).
With the commercialization and abundance of fashion options, as well as the emergence of high-street fashion, the art of layering has become necessary to show your own identity. It is overrated to cover yourself in one brand from top to bottom; it’s a comfort zone area where your self-expression is washed away. I have taken notice of people who mix designer brands with high street, and I have almost always fallen in awe of the outfits they’ve put together. Why? Because their styling shows hints of their individuality, adding to the fact that they look super cool!
Once you apply that mix and match mindset, slowly yourself becoming pickier and pickier, you become a collector of pieces that communicate exactly who you are to the world, highlighting your identity (keyword alert) and in turn, help you stand out.
It is important to point out that as fun as layering can be it comes with limits. Every outfit needs to be put together as it was a piece of art, carefully composed and balanced. You need to know when to keep adding and when to say enough!
To be clear, when I say layering I include accessorizing on top of the different layers of clothes you’ll be wearing. Great items for layering are: Vests, Abayas, cardigans, scarves, jackets, to name a few. I would also add statement necklaces, belts, hats or headpieces, broaches, and fun stockings All of these items, curated carefully, create the recipe for something creative, imaginative, and unique.
After a lot of thought, I’ve concluded that my personal style is classic meets comfortable meets elegance meets fun. When I wake up I plan to dress, most of the time, for the whole day, so my pieces need to be selected as per events throughout my day. I start with one piece of clothing that works with my mood and my intention for the day and then I choose to layer it with a scarf, a belt and come accessories, weather permitting.
During my last visit to London, I was walking down the street when one of the shop’s displays caught my eye; they had a tweed vest on a mannequin of theirs styled with a scarf in a waterfall kind of a knot. Of course if-you-know-me you would know my love for scarves and how I like to find an excuse to style them every day. I rushed in and started looking at their vests, which were beautiful, I bought one and it was a hit; then I bought another one, and my sister said this was a great idea, so I got her one (that I can also borrow!). Fast-forward months later, I have since fallen in love with styling them with different scarves and broaches, sometimes with an elegant dress below for formal setting, or a gallery opening and sometimes with a t-shirt and jeans for a casual look.
Another item that I love to layer with in winter (our humble Bahraini winter) is a light leather jacket or a cropped leather jacket. There’s something about a leather jacket that never fails to make a strong and powerful statement. If you watched GirlBoss (highly recommended, by the way) you’ll understand that a great leather jacket has the power to tell the world go away!
When we first thought of AlAbaya by Annada, it was intended to be part of a set with a Jalabiya, we stopped that thought with a sharp and abrupt “NO!”, we concluded that each and every person should wear it and layer it the way they like. they can wear it as an Abaya the proper way or just like I wear it as a big cardigan or a robe, which is also in-trend now with jeans and a light top. Furthermore, for women who wear Hijab, this can be exciting as the challenge is to wear modestly and at the same time find the right headpiece! This, however, seems like a topic of its own.
To conclude, I’d like to leave you with the very last and essential layer; a great lipstick. It will add the final touch and make everything come together. #WhoDoesntLoveLipstick?
Be yourself, dress for your identity, and the impact you want to show to the world.