Tag Archives: Style File

Style File Paris Fashion Week: Achieving A Priceless Look

Photo Courtesy of Addysen Trumper

After spending a week observing fashion royalty outside the runway shows at Paris Fashion Week, I report back to the fabulous fashionistas working street style in San Francisco. With the blogarazzi camping out in front of the famous Parisian buildings that house the catwalks, creating a strobe light effect while snapping pictures of the famous, fabulous and filthy rich (and a few lucky wannabes), I notice that achieving a ‘blog-worthy‘ look can be easily engineered on the streets in the city by the Bay.

Being fashionable can prove to be an expensive hobby and it is a tough fact that most of us will fight with our whole lives. While the dream to one day afford the luxuries of high-end fashion lives in me, I know that the most fabulous street style can be executed with limited monetary means after simply observing the ‘Oscars’ of the fashion world for a week.  The men and women that strutted past security at shows like Vivian Westwood, Lanvin and Chanel that caught my eye (and the lenses of photographers) had more than just expensive clothing. Yes, the usual 6 inch stiletto, skinny jeans and blazer made many appearances, but the jaw dropping street style had qualities that I encourage you to include in your everyday style, fashion week or not.

Earring to Earring Grins

Sweet smiles and sunny dispositions are becoming de rigueur accessories. If you want to save money on an outstanding statement piece that will never go out of style, invest in a good attitude on a day to day basis! After watching editors, celebrities and young socialites make their way to each show, it becomes apparent that the blogarazzi snaps and publishes those who seem happy to be there. While going to class may not be the equivalent of attending fashion week shows, try to remember that your face always look the best when it reflects contentment.

I am not the only one to notice that smiling is universally in style. Watch fashion magazines to find people like Victoria Beckham and, yes, even Anna Wintour are found with their mouth sides turned towards the sky. Fashion is meant and created to be fun, an outlet for people to express themselves. Don’t take fashion statements too seriously and you will find that, not only you will be more approachable, your fashion can be a conversation starter. With an earring to earring grin and a fabulous outfit, who knows who you will meet because of a welcoming smile.

Sky High Stiletto Self-Confidence

Paris fashion week seems to have many unspoken secrets. If you are in the industry or just intensely observe every detail you can get your eyes on as an outsider, these little secrets start to speak to you. One that I observed was a competition that fashionistas liked to play at these ‘fashion games’ called “who can wear the highest heel without breaking an ankle?” Men and women alike climb out of the back of cars balancing on 5 inch plus ‘stilts’.  However, in real life stepping out on any heel height with an air of humble confidence keeps you are walking on solid ground.

From childhood, most of us are told that confidence is key to getting what we want in life. This might seem like the simplest piece of advice, but self confidence is vital to transform your style and how your fashion choices are perceived. One comment that I hear frequently is “I could never pull off what you wear!” The truth of the matter is if you wear what you are comfortable in with confidence, your street style becomes believable. At Paris fashion week I saw many different styles on different body types and different attitudes. The people that turned heads were those who walked with confidence, and believed they were walking on air.
Head Turning Personal Flair

Bring something different to the table, or in this case, the runway. One of the most exciting verves of fashion week is the creative energy. While designers are back stage, stressing to get models runway spectacular, the opening act is the pre-show that is happening on the outside. This pre-show is viewing what the attendees have decided to adorn themselves in for the entrance. Most of my fashion week experience took place at the pre-show and I absorbed a new creative gene just by taking in the unique choices of other fashionistas with out even seeing the runway.

Who knew that feathers can be worn in so many places, or that chin-strap hats can be unbelievably chic? With new ‘belted‘ ideas in my pocket, I walk away from the shows inspired. I encourage you to keep your outfits innovative everyday with a piece that you feel proud to wear that sets you apart. Take advantage of our local vintage shops that scream individuality and pair your stand out piece with everyday style pieces to create a casual look while maybe turning a few heads.

In my humble opinion, passion is one of the most important things in life. After making my appearances outside of a few Paris fashion week shows, I realized that my passion for fashion is alive and matched by other fashionistas working hard to keep their style up to vogue. Being in the same space as these fashionable people gave me the opportunity to update fashion ideas, while also inspiring my style and to be my fabulous most self.

My overall advice for you, my readers, is push yourself to wear the daring, while wearing your smile frequently, shouting confidence and going forth to uncharted territory with your fashion choices. Make the sidewalks of USF your very own fashion week run because you are worthy to strut your stuff.

Style File Goes to Paris: Global Warming Trends A La Mode

USF fashionista Addysen Trumper goes sightseeing in the bitter cold while studying abroad in Paris. Snow can’t keep her from enjoying the spectacular architecture at the famous Notre Dame. Photo Courtesy of Cara West

Paris is the promise land for men and women who have style agendas. It is no secret that Parisians have a reputation of turning their noses up to outsiders in order to protect the ‘holy’ soil of monarchs like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel and Louis Vuitton. However, it looks like the tides have turned on the banks of French fashion as the head designers for all four of these French purebreds are now British (John Galliano for Dior), Italian (Stefano Pilati for YSL), German (Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel) and American (Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton). While an ongoing war between fashion capitals competing for the most innovative and thought-provoking fashion week is inevitable, it looks like the trend in warming up to global perspectives has started to show signs of ozone holes in Paris, France.

While San Francisco’s Bay and Paris’s Seine are oceans apart, I have noticed many style savvy flavors that translate with no language barrier. In honor of globe trotting style, I would like to share a few French fads that I have picked up in the land of (French) poodles and (French) kisses.

Royalty Homage

The history that resides in Paris is alive in every stone that I step on as I know that I am sharing cobbled history with figures like Marie Antoinette and the Emperor Napoleon.

As I hit the street for the day, (sadly not in ruffles that resemble cakes with my hair piled a foot tall with my human umbrella holder) I remember the history that walked before me. The French savor the value of historical style. Fashion has changed dramatically from the time of Napoleon’s elaborate costuming, but I will contribute my respect to the past through stylish hints.

To flair your own personal style with a baroque whisper, keep an eye open at flea markets and antique shops for ancient pin medallions and elaborate broaches. Decorate a simple jacket with your antique finds for a one-of-a-kind look and contribution to the yesteryears. Boys, you can make this as manly as you want with only concentrating on war pins– a true definition of a ‘decorated’ war hero. Ladies you can sparkle and shine like your favorite queen with a keen eye for your knight in shining armor.

Clothes are not the only way to channel antiquity. Kings and queens try an old area hair-do which can enhance your modern wear. Kings, make sure to part your hair with dignified purpose and Queens, just how high and elegant can you stack your locks on your crown?

Vagabond Voyager

Being a stranger in a country is not always a comfortable position. All energies are focused on looking like a local and not sticking out as the annoying American. While I did my best to study ‘la mode’ of Parisians before I journeyed across the Atlantic, there are certain aspects of ‘my mode’ that will forever be a dead give away as to my true roots. I have decided to embrace the fact that I carry my large camera with me everywhere I go with a slouchy bag over my shoulder that carries my foreign life. I have not yet mastered the mixture of heels and cobblestone so I navigate mostly in flats while French ladies grace rugged Parisian streets with four inch stilettos.

I have managed to wipe the gawking grin off my face in amazement of the Parisian beauty that hits me on every corner. Instead, I have concentrated my excitement to reside in my heart so my foreign appearance is less evident. With that, I have come to realize that my alien status is actually an advantage at times as I see grandeur in the architecture, the natives, and the culture that local Parisians are too familiar with to take notice. Just like San Francisco is a city that foreigners flock to, which allows them to view the native unrecognizable beauty in our city. So may I suggest on your next day off in the city, style yourself as a San Francisco nomad with a camera swinging around your neck as your statement piece and a fanny pack ready to stow the treasures that you find. Take in the sights as a stranger with no map to encourage you to get lost in your own city.

This tip is not just about how to wear your clothes, but instead how to be foreign fashionable to find the San Francisco style that you have been blind to. Make sure nothing is Bay City ordinary for you. While I will continue to meld to the Parisian beat, I will embrace my vagabond voyager style.

Outerwear Statements

With the current weather conditions in the United States: rain dampening West Coast and snow stifling the East Coast, style depends on warmth and practicality when venturing outside. Much of my orientation in Paris has been outside on walking tours, finding transportation, basically finding my way. I have come to realize the importance of fabulous outwear to keep myself warm and stylishly cozy.

If you have a “go to” coat that works well with your style then play off it to change up your look to match your mood. If it is extra chilly, wrap a colorful scarf around your neck for turtleneck warmth and create funky knots in the scarf. Play with a lot of volume in your neck area and cinch your waist for sexy portions. Layering scarves with different texture can give your black trench a makeover for the evening.

Ladies try to trade the belt that goes with your coat, or even add a belt to your outer layer. Tie your look off with a statement cinch right around your waist to feminize your outerwear to form a perfect curve.

And for you guys, who feel like you look the same every time you step out the door snug as a bug in your rug, don’t be afraid of hats. A man who wears a hat, be it a loose beanie, fedora, or cap, shows confidence in his own skin and suaveness. Plus, it is a good option to a bad hair day.

Have a “Style File” request for la mode in a different zip code? Email me at addysentrumper7@gmail.com. (Blogspot: lamodeinadifferentzipcode.blogspot.com) to contribute to the fashion report via France.

Style File From France: New Mode/Different Zip Code

USF style guru Addysen Trumper travels in high fashion on her adventures studying in Paris.  Photo by Addysen Trumper/Foghorn

USF style guru Addysen Trumper travels in high fashion on her adventures studying in Paris. Photo by Addysen Trumper/Foghorn

Everywhere we turn in the world of fashion, it seems a new concept hits us between the hangers. At times this can feel a tad annoying. Frequently we run into new, expensive trends that cancel our current investment piece, we long over new body parts on magazine cover models, or face new economical hardships that prevent us from obtaining our desired “new” view. Well my friends (old and new), we are shooting this Style File from a different angle. Let’s consider ourselves renewed. We have just entered a brand new year, a spanking new decade, a restored semester and a fresh take on cutting edge clothing from fashion around the world.

Speaking of around the world, I will be reporting to you from a new location this semester. Fabulous style is about diversity so I thought I would freshen my point-of-view while spending this semester studying in Paris, dotted with various European adventures of course.  While I may be an American girl in Paris, I will observe and note the French way of style everyday. I will have many opportunities to gush over the classically styled Parisian women and coiffed French men. But in this edition, let’s size up moving to a new country code.

At some point in your college career, many of you will choose to study abroad, travel for a long period of time, or simply find yourself living out of a suitcase. Before heading to Paris, I am nested in Cannes, France with 35 new classmates for a language program to prepare me for classes at La Sorbonne and daily Parisian life. Even though I am now familiar with the salt from the clear Mediterranean lingering on my skin and the smell of the macaroon shop tempting me to venture near, it is the fur dress-coats on the local elders bobbing down the street causing my style spirit to sag with my limited wardrobe resources available.

Nevertheless, USF friends I have now mastered the art of neatly living out of two suitcases in a petit room with two other roommates while looking chic and “French fresh” every day. These are my tips on limited resource dressing and suitcase digging for your study abroad experiences or early spring break planning.

Style Passport

Take a moment to reflect about your style. Individual mode is like the human body: everybody initially works with the same stuff but in different sizes and proportions and with different attitudes. We all have something about our look that sets up apart from everyone else. Before you pack a bag to live out of for five months, figure out your style. For some of us, fashion defines us and leaving our closets full of our unique pieces makes us want to seek therapy. No matter what, you cannot bring your whole wardrobe.

The key to success is planning. When you understand yours, you can strip down to choosing the basics that suit your individual look. For your everyday street wear, only pack pieces that you know you can wear with more than one outfit. Rule of thumb: every piece of clothing that you bring must be able to meld into three different outfits. The only exception to this rule is the one or two party pieces that you bring for special nights out. Also consider comfort, since each item will get a lot of wear in the upcoming months.

Step two of your packing project is to be a savvy accessorizer. American travelers benefit by blending into their home on loan. Sooth the culture clash with your get-up. Challenge yourself in wearing your grey cords three times this week and changing it up every time with a new accessory. Change your outfit with a scarf, next drape a fur across your shoulders and lastly hang massive chains around your neck. Or consider this, one day wear your boots with your jeans with your hair in a knot then disguise them by wearing a long top over them with a funky hat the next day to change up proportions.

While it may not be as easy as having the option of grabbing anything from your closet (or your roommate’s closet) this is a new chance to see how creative you can be. Let your passport be your excuse to change up your looks and experiment with your style.

“Space Case”

When I arrived in France with my two suitcases loudly rolling behind me on the cobblestones, I looked around to see that many girls were hurling their one piece of luggage with great difficulty. Don’t let a number fool you. While one suitcase might seem like it is less to handle, I found that two gave me the opportunity to organize my outfit choices with greater ease. This is the one time that I am proud to say that I was a woman with some serious “baggage.”

Suitcase # 1: Clothes and shoes. Don’t try to get anything else in there. After I placed my carefully chosen six pairs of shoes on the bottom of the suitcase, I only filled the rest up with my dresses, pants, skirts and tops. I have a different place for each category so I know where everything is located.

Suitcase #2: Accessories, bathroom gear and books. After picking out my basics from my other suitcase, I just turn around to my other one to find what makes my ensemble unique in suitcase #2.

This system has not failed me yet. While some days I will start with suitcase #1 to pick my functional clothing, I will change it up from time to time to start with suitcase #2 to begin my day with a little color and inspiration. The way your clothes are organized affects the way you look on a day to day basis. If the home of your clothes is chaos then your style will reflect that. Just remember that these are the days that you will remember the most as you will have pictures to document your travel threads.

One of the perks of traveling is everyday you are greeted with something new.  I would encourage you to embrace any opportunity that you have to create a vogue voyage with style experimentation and no inhibitions.

I am not quite sure where this odyssey will take me and my fashion, but I welcome you to follow my journey at my fashion/travel blog: http://lamodeinadifferentzipcode.blogspot.com.

Sparkling Seasonal Soiree Style

Campus trendsetter Addysen Trumper shows off her winter party style at the ice rink downtown.  Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Campus trendsetter Addysen Trumper shows off her winter party style at the ice rink downtown. Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

There is one time a year when I feel like my style is skating on thin ice. Going home for the holidays brings festive joy and comfort to my heart, but my closet seems to dry up during this plentiful season.  Now that all that remains of Thanksgiving are turkey-sandwich leftovers and an extra-full stomach, I want the holiday season to arrive as I’m looking my most fabulous and, somehow, refreshed after finals. Leaving school chums and returning to veteran comrades presents many festive opportunities to dress to impress with winter cheer. Whether you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the festival of lights, winter’s solstice, or school’s six-week recess, this is the time for jubilees.

While this is the season for giving, I encourage you to keep it that way.  Your pocket books will thank you if you wait until after Auld Lang Syne to make your purchases for the new year. Freshen your look with pieces that produce old memories for your holiday soirees to maximize your charitable givings. There are many ways to celebrate this “most wonderful time of the year,” so here are my suggestions to help your style stay standing in the ice rink.

Family Festivity

Food galore, sibling rivalry, hugs and kisses from Aunt Honey and Grandpa’s snores blaring from the couch at 3 p.m. Yep! That sounds like a typical family gathering with holiday motive. But what to wear to impress all the cousins and be comfortable enough to stay cozy? I would advise you to stay away from sweatpants as the spirit of the holiday deserves more thought and glamour. A outfit worth of family feasts, present circles, candle lighting, and traditions must be functional, easy to move in and photo-ready. Combine your desire to wear your sweat pants with a functionally fabulous get-up. 

Women in the House: Try for a legging with scrunched socks and flat, slouchy boots. This will permit you to cross your legs Indian-style if you are stuck with the floor position while opening gifts. Wear a short mini-dress for a feminine touch, with a blazer or your favorite slouchy sweater to dress it down. Don’t forget a little holiday bling around your neck to give you a little North Star sparkle.

Men in the House: Don’t be afraid to share your preppy side with your family. No matter how your finals turned out, your family will see you as a grade-A student. I suggest a dark denim pant paired with a comfortable dress shoe or Top Siders. Top it off with a chunky sweater and polo peeking from underneath. Going to school in San Francisco allows you to come home with a little style sense.

Yuletide Ball

The sugar plum fairy was good to you this season! A fancy holiday party is just what every fashionista needs to top off the year’s sociably fashionable events with a pow. However, don’t fret because you do not need to run to the department store to get a typical black dress to wear to the party. Cocktail dresses are common every other day of the season, but this is a chance for you to jingle your bells.

Twinklettes: Pull that dress out from the back of your closet that you have always wanted to wear and don’t be afraid to wear a color not typical of the season, like a hot pink. If the color is rare for the holiday time you will be sure to shine. This is a season of textures – so pick one: feathers, sequins, beads, ruffles. This is the time to be bold!

Rudolphs: I have three words for you: colored bow tie! A velvet red, dark green or sea blue bow tie with jacket or no jacket is charming for the season. Even if your bow tie is the only color you have on your body for the night, you will be sure to bring old tradition to the table.

Bosom Buddy Bash

While your friends are well aware of your everyday style, come back from San Francisco life looking fashionably rejuvenated and style savvy. Now is the perfect time to try a bold look. Most of your friends have not seen you for a few months so, naturally, style ideas are formulated and processed over time. Top off your normal gear with that fedora that you have always wanted to rock but just haven’t found the perfect time or try those neon tights laying in your drawer waiting to explore.

Suggest for your comrades an activity outside of the house so you have a reason to bring your best style game to a different environment. Try a friendly ice skating date, gift wrapping party or holiday cookie exchange (the ideal time to bust out your Anthropologie apron). No matter what you do, make sure you mature from your high school dressing habits and show off what going to school at USF can do to a stylish closet.

The Season on Stage

One of the most precious things of the season is attending the theatre to see fanciful images flow across the stage, so I encourage you to match those fanciful images in your theatre attire. Whether you are gazing at beautiful ballerinas, an inspiring nativity scene, a charming concert, or comical comedians, treat the theatre as your stage. Don’t be afraid to not blend into the crowd, but into the show. If viewing a ballet like the Nutcracker, bring your own interpretation of the sugar plum fairy, or the prestigious nutcracker for you men (try to steer clear of resembling the rats). If attending the Christmas Carol, give your outfit a Victorian spin (without the “bah humbug”).  If the mood strikes, go to the theatre in posh style complete with hand gloves and a swing coat that you can stylishly check at the coat check.  This is a great opportunity to be gallantly glamourous.

Some people say that the holidays are the best and the worst of times. With happening style, feeling good about yourself and a bit of holiday cheer, you will be sure to sing joy to the world! So spin your dreidels, decorate your trees, but through it all, do it in style! Just remember to focus on dressing rather than stuffing and, hallelujah, your holidays will be sparkling with style.

Style File: Brewing Creative Halloween Costumes

“Quoth the raven: Nevermore...” Fashion-savvy Addysen Trumper shows off the outfit she will be sporting this Halloween. She made this elegant raven costume entirely out of clothing and accessories she already owned.  Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

“Quoth the raven: Nevermore...” Fashion-savvy Addysen Trumper shows off the outfit she will be sporting this Halloween. She made this elegant raven costume entirely out of clothing and accessories she already owned. Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Some very spooky things happen in our world on a daily basis. Within the last year Michael Jackson died on the same day as Farrah Fawcett, Prop 8 passed, and my computer crashed right before finals. Butthere is nothing as spooky as a Halloween night at USF with brigades of students running around as the same person. Flashback 2008: Attack of the Sarah Palins! Let me also remind you that Halloween is on Oct. 31. By this time of the year it tends to get a bit ‘nippy.’ Girls, with some of the costumes that you wear, we can tell the nip is in the air. There is no reason to be frightened his Halloween, for I have a treat (rather than a trick) for those of you still searching for costume ideas.

For those stylish at heart, use this holiday as a showcase of your talent and creativity. There is bound to be a costume idea here for you, no matter your budget, styling skills, or mood that evening. In my world, if I am going to spend good money on my Halloween attire, I use it as an excuse to buy something extra flamboyant and fabulous for my everyday wardrobe. Keep in mind, if parts of your costume idea doesn’t fit into your clothing entourage, don’t splurge. In fact, try making a deal with yourself that you will only buy from discount and grocery stores and next month your bank account won’t be haunting your house. Now let’s make some magic! With a little hocus pocus, you will find yourself with the most “wicked” costume in the monster mash.

Headline News

Balloon Boy: It is the ghastly truth that the now-infamous Balloon Boy incident took place in my home town, Fort Collins, Colorado. However, my stomping ground is no ghost town, so let’s bring this hoax alive for Halloween. Find a large brown box to put around your neck and tie a silver helium balloon to your wrist. Believe me, you will be flying high with this hard-hitting news costume.

Tornado: Carry on the spectacle of the Balloon Boy’s family in storm watching mode. Chasing these whirling disasters never fail to make the news in the summer time, so put a little “twist” to your costume by going as a tornado. Wear a grey sweatsuit and attach little toy farm animals, Hot Wheels, and even a mini Barbie to your sweatsuit on strings. When someone asks what you are, spin around to create your twister. Caution: be sure that things are attached or you will be as dangerous as the storm.

Global Warming: Try a different type of devilish heat this season. Wear a solid blue outfit and attach large green felt pieces as continents to turn your body into the center of the universe: the Earth. Wear an old fashioned ice pack on your head and stick a thermometer in your mouth. Prepare to be one hot mother earth!

Call of the Wild

Kangaroo: Let your marsupial instinct hang out. This  costume takes just a hop, skip and a jump. All you need is a brown paper sack, tape it to your front side and voila… a kangaroo, just don’t forget to “leap” in spirit!

Bird’s Nest: Are you in a chipper mood? Take flight by giving a home to the birds for the night. Dress up in brown pants (tree trunk), a green shirt (top of the tree) and create a nest on your shoulder or head. Gather a fake bird and eggs to introduce them to their new home for the night. Don’t forget to work your hair into the nesting process and get your back-comb on!

Unicorn: I have always believed that unicorns are simply an extinct species, except for that long-lost “last unicorn”. Because you could not measure up to their majestic nature, it is wise to take this species a bit more literally. It is easy, grab one ear of corn from the supermarket and tie it to your waist with some ribbon. You are a Uni-corn!

Chic Tradition

Tulle Ghost: This traditional costume can transform you into the “spirit” of the party. Make a trip to the Haight art store and buy a plethora of cheap white tulle. Wrap it loosely around your body and drape on your head as a hood. Belt the tulle at the waist with a white gauze. Apply white and silver make-up on your face. You will be eerily beautiful.

Glampire: I have become startling aware of the incredibly hot vampires that have become increasingly popular this year. With “Twilight,” “True Blood,” and the memory of Brad Pitt in “Interview with a Vampire,” we have good reason to vamp it up and join these stone-cold blood suckers. Wear a high collar, long, black dress (black lace can be very tasty in this situation so feel free to indulge), very sparkly dark eye make-up and blood-red lipstick. Oh, and don’t forget to sharpen your fangs.

Sherlock Holmes: Most of us have Gossip Girl-inspired tweed hanging in our closet that we just seem to never get around to. This is our chance to uncover all of our tweed and mix it all together for one mysterious night. Look for a bubble pipe and a Holmes hat to top off your prepster look just in time for the movie to come out this December. No fashion crime here!

Avoid looking like all the other ghouls on the block, unleash your Halloween spirit, and most importantly, stay stylish on the spookiest day of the year on campus.  Need some last minute Halloween styling help? Contact me at addysentrumper7@gmail.com and we can brew some magic together… Double, double, toil and trouble!

Style File: Learn How to Become a Layer Player

Style setter Addysten Trumper showcases her layering skills on campus with an outfit that allows for many weather patterns.  Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Style setter Addysten Trumper showcases her layering skills on campus with an outfit that allows for many weather patterns. Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Typical fall day for USF student: Morning class at 8:30 with chilly San Francisco fog lingering (thought: my hairstyle is already ruined). Lunch with friends at 12:00 in the caf, sun is shining and fog has turned to sweat (thought: a sweater and boots this morning?) Classes done for the day. Off to the Haight to grab a burrito with that special someone (thought: Brr! Can I borrow your jacket?).

Welcome to the daily challenge of battling San Francisco weather, which brings us to style logistics. We have all experienced a day like this, either too hot or too cold. There is only one solution that does not involve running home to change three times a day. With a few layering skills under your belt, your day will be comfortable no matter what time it is or what part of the city you are in. Layering does more than control your body thermostat. With this technique your wardrobe will expand so that you can rock your seasonal clothing year-round. Layering is not just wearing a jacket over your clothes, it’s the creation of texture and pattern proportions that can transform your look on a daily basis. Step out the door for a day full of weather changes without any major clothing changes by following these layering clues.

Pattern Principles

The fashion gods have devised a tricky trend for you fashionistas (or fashionistos) to follow when it comes to the art of layering: mixing patterns. This is an advanced skill, but as I have always said, if you feel it then wear it. Mixing two or more patterns in a single outfit can work with a little confidence in your craft.  While picking your patterns remember to stick to only one large pattern. If you are wearing a flower printed dress, do not wear large printed stockings that clash with the print. Focus on a stocking that has a petite pattern like small dots or a scarf that has an understated pattern like zigzags.

There are days I walk out the door feeling great but when I return home and look in the mirror a feeling of dread comes over me when I realize that I have too much going on in one outfit. Therefore this styling tip: when mixing patterns, it is smart to get dressed and give yourself a few minutes to look in a full mirror for the second time. I do my hair and makeup before I take a look from farther away; this gives you time to digest your choices so when you look in the mirror again you have a fresh perspective. This method helps edit patterns to flow together instead of clashing.

Texture Tips

Texture is all about relationships. Sometimes two pieces of clothing can overpower each other and the battle for attention begins. Layering your fur vest with that loose knit frock might seem comfy, but you just became a bundled Pillsbury Doughboy. Proportions are the name of the game when it comes to texture. If you are working with your fur, don’t mix it with something that has equal volume. Pairing your fur with cotton or silk will guarantee a more slender and elongated silhouette.

Just the other day I decided to wear all black. A safe bet, right? Wrong! As I pulled on my black torn-styled leggings, lace mini dress with my silk slip under, cotton vest, my feathered shrug and suede black knee high boots I looked in the mirror and realized that I was a mixture of six different textures- all in the same color. Don’t let this happen to you. Decide the look that you are going for and then carefully pick and choose what pieces can help you achieve that look without wearing each textured piece that you have. Oh, and don’t worry, I caught my mistake before jumping on the bus this time so I was set to go… proportionally perfect.

Her easily altered ensemble helps her cope with the often inconsistent temperatures of San Francisco while looking trendy and put-together at all times.  Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Her easily altered ensemble helps her cope with the often inconsistent temperatures of San Francisco while looking trendy and put-together at all times. Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Great Garb

As a layering luminary, there are a few pieces of clothing that are essential to ensure that your comfort is weather proof.  When I know that it is too hot for a jacket and by mid-day I am going to prefer short sleeves, a scarf is the perfect solution. While thin scarves are very stylish, invest in a “blanket scarf.” These scarves are thick, long and assured to keep you warm on your way to your morning course. They are also good for a little ‘security blanket’ in class. I often take my scarf off and place it on my legs in class to keep me cozy.  Also, it is much easier to shove a scarf in your bag in the warm hours than a bulky jacket.

Another fabulous convertible-layering item are “soft boots.” These boots are long enough to wear knee high, but soft enough to scrunch into an ankle boot. I have two pairs of these boots because I know that they can get me through any day in San Francisco. If I need a leg up on warmth, then I just pull my boots up past my knees. When I am feeling the weight of the sun, my boots are scrunched into bootie form. While many items in your wardrobe are perfect for layering, these garb ideas will carry you in comfort throughout the day.

Accommodating Advice

The major advantage to layering is having the ability to take clothes off and put them back on. But when you are on the go, where should you put your scarf when you are feeling a hot flash? The bag that you are carrying is essential in this case. Choose a bag that can accommodate the peeled layer. Make sure that you have a bag that will support your changing daily wardrobe.

If a large bag is not an option for your day’s work, make sure you plan for your transformation early on. For instance when wearing my soft boots, I make sure before leaving my mirror that they will look grand above or below the knee. If I know I do not have room for my scarf, I test it on my waist as an alternative to my neck. Feeling cool in temperature and looking cool in style are equally important.

As we all know, everybody’s style file looks different. But layering is a style that we can all utilize because in reality we have always done this. To make it into a fashion statement; we must be more conscious of what we are piecing together to create a modern and updated look. Get creative. Layering is fun because it allows for experimentation; try an unexpected look that is all yours. Embrace the San Francisco days that tend to throw some style curveballs our way and be a layer player.