Lady Smarts: How to Layer Like a Pro

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Let's all take a collective sigh ? or warm breath into our numb hands ? and stop complaining already. It's freezing and windy and damp. So what? Tis the season for layering, so enjoy it! You'll be sorry when summer rolls around and you remember what your arms look like. Now layer until it's hard to tell where your body ends and the layers begin. Don't stop until your padded self can barely fit into your largest layer, and when bending over would rip at least five. It happens. Better to have layered and lost, than never to have layered at all. How to layer like a pro: To start, color code your closet. Organize your colors by tone ? warm, cool, bitchy, condescending, etc. When you're ready to get dressed, spin around 10 times while chanting "Roy G. Biv" and pick a few pieces. Not to worry if you end up with all tops! Just be sure to wear some thick tights underneath. Keep your weirdest pieces layered way down deep, like your personality traits. They should only peak out enough to intrigue, without alarming anyone. Wear things differently than you might normally. Think of layering like putting your hair in a ponytail, or wearing clip on bangs. You're trying something new! Roll up the ankles on your jeans, tuck in your shirt, or put your legs through the armholes of that sweater vest and wear it like an oversized, high-waisted diaper. Fashion, not function. Don't worry if you notice some of these tips are not particularly flattering. Nobody thought harem pants were flattering, and look at them now! Always add "a pop of color." Who knows what that really means, but I think you're supposed to say it when discussing layering. I'd assume a "burst" of color is also acceptable. Add a denim shirt or two. A true renaissance man, the denim shirt can be layered with anything and everything, even another denim shirt. When in doubt, belt it. If you run out of belts, get crafty. Use a tie. The arms of a long-sleeved shirt ? or your boyfriend. He had nothing to do today anyway. For all you Indecisive Ingrids out there, today is your lucky day! Can't decide what sweater to wear? Wear them both! Torn over whether a skirt or pants would be more appropriate? Why stop at one! Debating heels or boots? With a hand saw and some super glue ? well, you get the idea. As for jewelry, less is less. Pile it on! Add statement necklaces until you can hardly stand up straight. Then add some more, but wear them backwards for balance. Unsure of which earrings go best with all eleven shirts you're wearing? Haven't you listened to ANYTHING I've said? Don't worry if you only have one hole per ear ? with an ice cube and a safety pin, you can be layering up your ear like a pro. And if you're already running late to work, let the cold winter air anesthetize on your way. For the truly fashion-forward, try fitting two earrings into the same hole! Don't worry, this will get easier with time. Soon you may even be able to layer some necklaces through there! Add a collar - any collar. Peter Pan, polo, high, low, turtle or faux. If it folds and hangs out around your neck, it's fair game. In general, the stiffer and starchier the collar, the cooler the collared one. You should be able to file your nails on that thing. A Peter Pan collar says, I'm playful! I like to have fun. Vintage fun! To wing my eyeliner! And Goddard! A Peter Pan collar was once the four-leaf clover of collars, found only in fields of vintage and possessing the magical power of making its wearer look instantly and effortlessly prettier. Now they sell them at H&M, so there's really no excuse not to be wearing at least five at all times. All's fair in love and layering, but if you discover you're dealing with a clip-on collar wearer, drop and run. Spill something on yourself. Set your sleeve on fire. Just get outta there. No time for phonies, you've got a LOT OF IRONING to do. Of course, if you happen to be wearing a clip-on as well, you may fall into each other's detachable embraces and have all kinds of babies with clip-on limbs and smiles and stuff. Actually, those sound like more fun than regular babies and I would be happy to sit for you sometime. I've never layered a baby before!

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