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Spring into style! Wear layers for the season

No doubt about it, the calendar says it's spring. Yet, in many parts of the country, you'd freeze in sleeveless sheaths or short-sleeve jackets. To look cool and keep warm, lay on the layers to make your outfit weather-appropriate.
/ Source: The Associated Press

No doubt about it, the calendar says it's spring. Yet, in many parts of the country, you'd freeze in any of the sleeveless sheaths, short-sleeve jackets or rompers that are all over the stores and catalogs.

And light blue, yellow or pink color — nevermind white or light sand — don't look quite right against a predominantly gray and brown landscape.

Still, says stylist Clinton Kelly, co-host of TLC's “What Not to Wear,” instead of retreating back to turtlenecks and tweed, lay on the layers to make your outfit weather-appropriate.

“I'm a big fan of lightweight leather. When you leave the house it could be 45 (degrees) and at lunch, it can be 65 degrees,” Kelly says. “A light leather jacket works for both.”

In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average April temperature last year was 51 in the continental U.S. Not quite sundress — or even above-the-knee skirt-with-bare-legs-and-sandals — weather.

The exception would be a place like Miami, where warm days are the norm year-round.

Next month, Kelly makes the rounds to 15 cities across the country in collaboration with Macy's, giving spring makeovers to 15 women at each stop.

Until the weather catches up with the mood of lighter clothes, Kelly suggests starting with a white tank top and putting on top a cotton shirt — perhaps in a floral print. A cotton or light merino wool cardigan in fuchsia or bright blue could go on next.

When layering, consider the weight of the fabrics of all the pieces, Kelly advises. A heavyweight item might be tweed, corduroy or heavy denim, a mid-weight silk, cotton or merino wool, and light could be chiffon or a tissue-weight T-shirt. It's simplest to pair fabrics that are only one weight away from each other — either heavy with mid, or mid with light.

“You can mix a tweed pant with a chiffon blouse, but that's graduate school-level fashion. It's easiest to layer multiple medium layers,” Kelly says.

The key outerwear piece is a trenchcoat: It's lightweight, it looks seasonally appropriate and you can fit a lot underneath.