Dear Sharon: I am overweight. Sometimes I wear blouses open with turtlenecks underneath. Can you wear a scarf with the open blouse and turtleneck? (C.M. via Fashion Advice)
I’m not sure that I love the way you start out your question by announcing that you are overweight. Regardless of your size, we ALL need to make the most of what we’ve got which should come from a place of confidence and pride with our unique self.
That said, what’s with ALL the layers?
When it comes to plus size layering, or layering clothing for any size, with rare exception, it is key to create a longer visual line with your clothing to look leaner, less bulky, and polished. The emphasis for plus size layers should be to draw your eye up and down your body.
Every outfit needs a focal point and this one is lost in confusion.
A blouse is a blouse and very rarely looks right with a turtleneck worn underneath. Guys can sometimes get away with wearing a casual shirt open but an unbuttoned shirt typically doesn’t look finished or polished on women, regardless of her size.
You may be able to pull off this type of layering with a flannel or velvet shirt jacket and a thin sweater worn underneath (1970s style), but for the most part, it’s just two too many unrelated items worn together. Then add a scarf into the muddled mix, and you’ve instantly drowned yourself in layers and bulk and cut off your style potential.
>> WATCH: How to tie a scarf
DON”T throw everything–including the kitchen sink– into your style. What you’re doing is getting too many items competing for attention in the same area- your neck and shoulder line in your case. Please don’t tell me that you also have long hair worn down and wear dangling earrings too, because that would just clutter this more. Streamline the extras. Create a single focal point of interest by going for a less is more approach to your styling.
YOU CAN create a refined version of what you’re after by wearing drapey style cardigans with a blouse or turtleneck underneath– see the lead photo above for inspiration. A long pendant necklace would finish off nicely and continue the vertical, thinning line. A tie-front blouse and a crisp blazer is another option. The turtleneck worn with featherweight long scarf adds classic Euro flair… you can even add a cardigan or jacket over that. But skip the shirt.
>> MORE: Plus Size Tips
I pulled some pieces for you to consider that have the drapey feel of a scarf and graze the body, as well as some stand alone pieces to crisply layer:
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Lead photo: Avenues long shawl cardigan