Outfit dissection: Spring coat layering

 

This weekend, sun, patios, and even bare-legs came out in full spring effect. {Heck yes.}

As I pulled out a dress and spring jacket, I was reminded of one of the true beauties of warm weather: one outfit. Come spring, we no longer have the added hassle of planning two outfits—the outfit we wear outside AND the striped-down version of it we wear inside.

We get to focus on picking + wearing just one outfit that will give us confidence, comfortability, and joy.

And one of my favourite spring pieces—that takes you effortlessly and elegantly from coffee to cocktails—is a tailored spring coat.

Today, I’m showing you one of the ways I style my spring coat, and giving you a little inside look by dissecting what exactly is at play in this seemingly simple outfit.

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Coat: Gap (sold out), but could opt for a trench for spring! Shift dress: Oak + Fort, similar short-sleeve version D'orsay flat: Zara, similar in black

Element #1: Hem layering

You may remember my last post on hem layering. Here’s all it means: the layering (one item “peeking” out from beneath another) takes place at the bottom (or the hem.)

The jacket is far longer than the old “past your fingertip” school uniform rule. But because it’s a jacket, and a straight cut, it can feel a little bit like an I-forgot-my-pants.

Hem layering is a back-pocket trick I use to lengthen the dresses that need it, and to increase my comfortability even for the pieces that don’t.

HOW-TO USE THIS ELEMENT: Look for two dresses, tunics, skirts, coats you can pair together that have a difference in hem length by an inch, or 10, or anywhere in between.

 

Element #2: Contrast in necklines

There’s also a sneaky peek at the neck and chest area. The V of jacket is contrasted against the higher roundneck of the dress underneath.

HOW-TO USE THIS ELEMENT: Think of any of your deeper V neck cuts, and if you have any higher necks you can stick underneath. In the colder seasons, you can pair a turtleneck or mockneck under a v-cut dress or blouse. In the warmer season, a high-cut lace top is a perfect layering piece to pair with all sorts of tops, jackets, and dresses.

 
Keep reading for three more m'love...

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Element #3: Contrast in material

The jacket is a structured opaque fabric with some weight to it. The dress is thin, a bit sheer, and falls whimsically. The contrast between the two adds dimension to the look.

HOW-TO USE THIS ELEMENT: Grab your airiest slips, skirts, and dresses and now grab a tailored blazer, jacket, or vest and give them a try together.

 

Element #4: Bright white makes other colours POP!

The bright white dress + flats make the brown colour look even richer and brighter.

HOW-TO USE THIS ELEMENT: Shop your closet for bright cool whites. Even if they are only in shoe form, pair them with your richest coloured skirts, dresses, or pants (even your bluest blue jeans) and see how the two shades work together.

 

Element #5: Two-colour dressing

Without the jacket, my whole outfit from top-to-bottom is white. Having the rest of my outfit a single colour, makes the one item that isn’t that colour (in my case the brown jacket) really highlighted! {Bonus points here because my main colour is also bright white.}

HOW-TO USE THIS ELEMENT: Think of having a “background” colour and a “foreground” colour. Most of your outfit should be the background colour, and then what’s in the foreground will really pop!

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Would you have guessed that there were 5 elements at play in this 3-piece outfit? (And I can already think of 3 more I sent the style coterie—it's not too late to join!)

Spring is all up on my brain. What are you excited to style this spring and what are you excited to experience this spring?

Your friend in blossoming your wardrobe,

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P.S. Interested in breaking down the elements of your own closet and outfits, for more style clarity? Book a session, whether you're here in Toronto or via Skype, together we can help you find more confidence, more clarity, and more joy in your closet!