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LK Bennett

Effortless Summer Style: Mastering the Art of Layering for Summer

Although we typically think of dresses, sunglasses and sandals as summer fashion staples - summer weather can be unpredictable. When bright sunshine can quickly become sudden showers, overcast skies and cooler evenings.

When it comes to dressing for summer, the art of outfit layering is your most useful tool. Join us as we outline how to layer clothes in summer, with inspiration on the different types of styles, designs and materials you can wear to ensure you are both stylish and comfortable at all times.

Mixing Patterns and Textures

To perfect the art of layering in the summer, comfort is going to be key. Although scorching sunny days are ideal for shorts, skirts and light tops, the temperature can quickly drop when the clouds roll over, or when the evening sets in.

Summer layering offers the opportunity to play with different colours, patterns and textures in the same outfit to make your look unique. For example, brightening up a plain white tee and denim with a bold jacket or a colourful blazer, or adding a patterned silk scarf to a black shift dress adds visual interest and keeps things interesting.

No matter what clothes you wear, the most important accessory is confidence. When you are wearing an outfit that you feel great in, it shows.

Embracing layers

Not just for the colder months, layers help you to create an effortless summer look that works for any occasion, from weekend city breaks to balmy summer evening walks.

You are free to use your creativity, but some of our favourite layered items for summer include cardigans, light sweaters or jackets, scarves and long-sleeved tops. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different colours, patterns and materials - summer is about having fun and expressing yourself!

Fabrics for layering

Banish your wool and tweed to the back of your wardrobe in summer - this season is all about lightweight, breathable fabrics that will help to keep you cool in the heat. Some of our top summer fabrics include linen, cotton, silk and crepe, but denim also works on cooler, cloudier days.

By wearing clothes made from these materials, you’ll be comfortable and look fabulous at the same time.

Effortless layering with scarves

Scarves are an excellent, lightweight accessory that can really elevate your summer layered look. Although wool scarves are best left for winter wear, silk and chiffon scarves can be worn in a variety of different ways in summer.

Try winding a patterned silk scarf around your neck or your head to create a whimsical look, or open up a larger silk chiffon scarf to wear as a wrap around your shoulders when the temperature drops. A bold, colourful scarf also looks great worn around a ponytail.

Layering cardigans in summer

Cardigans are perfect for layering in summer. When the temperature starts to cool in the evening, just pop a cardigan over your dress, tee or blouse for instant warmth.

A summer cardigan goes perfectly with mini, midi, and maxi dresses, but try pairing a cropped cardigan with a fuller skirt and an oversized knit cardigan with jeans or trousers for a cosy yet chic look. Long-sleeved cardigans can also look fab wrapped or knotted loosely around the shoulders, while fitted short-sleeved cardigans work well when worn with floaty tea dresses. Embroidered or beaded cardigans can soften the silhouette of a pair of smart-tailored trousers.

You can also experiment with your cardigan’s buttons too - try buttoning a cardigan up over a summer dress to create the impression of a two-piece, or leave the bottom few buttons undone and tuck the cardigan into fitted trousers or jeans to enhance your waist.

Elevating with a Sarong

A sarong is a much-loved summer accessory for beach holidays or vacations spent by the pool. This versatile cover-up can be worn in a variety of different ways.

A sheer silk chiffon sarong in a bold print looks amazing when knotted around the waist. This is a perfect poolside look to wear over a bikini or a swimming costume and can easily be removed when you want to take a dip.

Alternatively, be daring and wear a brightly coloured silk sarong as a sheer top and pair with white linen trousers and strappy sandals for cocktails by the pool, or an effortless evening look.

Must have lightweight jackets

If the summer weather takes a turn for the worse, or you’re moving from day to night, a lightweight jacket is the ultimate summer must-have when it comes to layering outfits.

Summer jackets are incredibly versatile and can be worn with multiple types of outfits. A tried and trusted favourite, the denim jacket is the perfect accessory to any summer outfit and goes with anything and everything, from jeans and a tee to sundresses and espadrilles.

On breezy days, grab a cotton blend tweed jacket on your way out of the door - this style looks fantastic paired with a plain shift dress for workwear, or denim cropped trousers and pumps at the weekend.

Depending on the temperature, leather jackets also work for summer outfits - try matching a cropped leather jacket with a floral tea dress for an interesting contrast in textures.

Layering a long sleeve top

If you’re wearing a light vest top or sleeveless top, a long-sleeved top is a great summer layering tool. Wear an elegant long-sleeved stripy top with jeans and trainers, or select a long-sleeved wrap top to wear over a dress when the sun starts to descend.

Our top tip is to pair bold prints and bright colours with blacks and whites and don’t be afraid to mix and match materials and textures too! Have fun experimenting with bright colours and patterns within the same outfit!

Blazers for summer

Finally, a good blazer is always an on-trend item for summer layering. Not only are blazers lightweight, but they help to curate a more styled and sophisticated look.

Summer is a popular month for outdoor events, work summer parties and weddings, where blazers really come into their own. Blazers are smart enough to wear formal dresses and trouser suits and keep you warm well into the evening.

For straight-cut dresses, we recommend choosing a fitted blazer that accentuates your body shape, while for floaty or full-skirted dresses, a relaxed-fit or cropped blazer looks best.

If you’re going to wear trousers, printed blazers can lend sophistication to a simple tee and jeans and look great paired with both trainers and heels. Alternatively, add contrast to your outfit by matching an oversized blazer with skinny jeans or cigarette trousers.

We hope this article has given you all the inspiration you need for outfit layering in summer. Whether you’re heading to a summer picnic or evening rooftop drinks, when you layer different colours, patterns and textures, even the unpredictable British weather can’t put a dampener on your day!