I am obsessed with layering. This is partly out of necessity, because I have a 9 to 5 job in a very conservative corporate environment, in addition to my 5 to 9 job in media. This means I am likely running to cover an event right after work, and I need to be able to go from conservative Jessica to Not Carrie Bradshaw Jessica quickly (although the two are not vastly different). Adding or taking away a layer helps me to avoid carrying a large suitcase around the crowded streets of New York to do a Diana Ross level wardrobe change.
My second love of layering comes from one of my favorite fashion influencers, Jenna Lyons, Creative Director and President of J. Crew, and unofficial Queen of Layering. It should be noted that she’s cool with Solange, who is the unofficial Queen of Mixed Prints. Both were sources of inspo for this look.
Layering is a great styling technique. By learning to master it you can:
- Carry your Spring and Summer pieces over into the Fall and Winter months.
- Get more wear out of your existing wardrobe by creating a whole new look through.
- Differentiate your look from everyone else’s. We are all shopping at the same stores, and often times buying the same things, so in order to not look like a member of an R&B group, layering some things on can help you stand out from the crowd.
- Save yourself a sick day from work. Hear me out. Have you ever “fallen asleep” “at a friend’s house” and woke up the next day in a drunken haze only to realize it’s a workday? Layering something of “your friend’s” under or over your club look from the night before, will help you at least fein some hint of being a good and responsible adult by still making it to work within the dress code restrictions. I’m not saying that I’ve done that before, but I am saying that it’s a good idea. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Click here for one of my favorite articles on layering from the Queen herself, Jenna Lyons. I would love to be able to spell out all the ways in which you can layer, but I basically learned a lot of it from her, and the aforementioned article.
Stripes have been allegedly “trending” well into this season, but I feel like saying that stripes are trending is like saying denim is trending. It’s never not on trend, but what do I know? At any rate, I freaking love a striped button down. I got this one a few years ago to wear with a pair of blue floral print shorts (photos of that look will come when I can fit into those shorts again). H&M always, always, ALWAYS, has button down shirts in an array of colors for under $25. This one I’m sure was probably less than that.
This dress was a whopping $24.99 at Zara. Dude, the Zara end of season sale is a beautiful curse. It’s a hodgepodge of all the pieces you talked yourself out of getting when they were in season, but now they are picked over and about 50% cheaper. It takes dedication, self-control, patience, and fidelity to properly navigate the Zara sale without spending all your money, and/or having a nervous breakdown. Yes, it is that serious for many others and myself. Do not judge us. This is a safe place for us. Upon receiving the invite the to the Geoffrey Beene Fashion Scholarship Awards, I knew I needed a good look that would work for the day job, and for covering the red carpet that same evening. Just when I was about to give up rummaging through the racks, I stumbled across this little off the shoulder number, with no faith that it would fit. Zara is not made for girls like me, so I try not to be too heavily invested in any one piece that I take into the fitting room. When I picked it up, I was impressed with the weight of it. It felt like quality, and the fit was great. So there you have it, a $50 outfit (minus the shoes).
About the shoes. Let’s discuss. For years, literal years, I have been looking for a classic black pump that compared to the Christian Louboutin Pigalle, and I never could find one that was remotely comparable. What makes the Pigalle, Pigalle Follie, and So Kate (the three main Louboutin classic pump styles) so sexy compared to other single sole pumps is the small toe box, and the slim stiletto heel. These features are also what make them substantially more uncomfortable than most other pumps. After much convincing, my mom persuaded me to go ahead and buy them. It was such an achievement for me to be able to treat myself to those. I remember moving here four years ago, and taking a resume to the Louboutin store, and feeling like I would never be remotely able to buy a pair for myself. I initially bought the So Kate’s, but there was no way in hell I would ever be able to actually wear those for more than 15 minutes at a time. I have been wearing heels since I was 13 years old, but I couldn’t do it with those. Some people get them stretched, but I can’t find the logic in paying that much for a shoe, and then paying more money to be able to wear it. I opted for the Pigalle Follie 100. They aren’t the most comfortable shoe I own, but I did make it through a full day of work at the office and most of the night covering the red carpet.