“Why do I need a Jacket if I don’t work in an office?”

I get that question ALL the time from people – clients, blog readers, class participants – who are starting to work with our 12-Piece Wardrobe Planner.  Here’s the scoop …

FIRST – an over-layer top doesn’t have to be a tailored jacket.  You can get an overview of the more casual options HERE.  We’re just going to call it a jacket for now because that’s easier than saying “over-layer top” again and again.

SECOND – the 2-layer top strategy vastly increases the mix/match options in your wardrobe.  If you have 2 bottoms and 2 under-layer tops, you can mix them into 4 outfits, right?  Now add 2 jackets and presto – 8 options!  And those same basic jackets keep right on doubling the outfits you can make with all your tops and bottoms … to infinity and beyond.

THIRD – a jacket – worn slightly open – creates a strong center front vertical emphasis that slims and elongates any figure.  At the same time, it breaks up the widening horizontal hemline that a single-layer top usually creates.  Way more flattering, as you can see in the comparison below. 

The two rectangles A and B are identical, but the vertical line makes A appear narrower while the horizontal line makes B appear wider.  The superimposed red lines emphasize how that same illusion works in the outfits to the right.  The open edges of the vest create a slimming vertical emphasis.  The unbroken hemline of the single-layer yellow top creates a widening horizontal instead.

FOURTH – a jacket – aka over-layer top – can camouflage a number of figure challenge areas, especially soft tissue around the upper body or mid-section.  What could be bad about that?

Are you sold on the idea?  Try it with existing pieces in  your closet.  I’d love to hear about your experience.

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Sherry on October 12, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Yep, I pretty much stick to color columns, whether inner or outer, as I am somewhere between 5’2 and 5’3, and not exactly built like a twig ! I do find that combination to be slimming. I then use an accent color or print as either a top or topper, depending upon my choice of either the suit look with a contrast color top, or the inner column with the color contrasting topper. Thanks so much for the great suggestions that you provide !
    I have found , however, that if a top or topper is of a similar value to the bottom, it doesn’t have to be the same color as the bottom. For instance, a golden yellow twin set on top of a light tan bottom can go together, with some accents in a darker value.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 13, 2017 at 3:16 am

      I call that look a “Color Value Column” and you are so right that it is nearly as effective as matching colors for creating vertical flow. It is most effective when both the value and intensity (brightness/clarity) of the colors are more or less equal.

  2. Janice on October 23, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Nancy, can you please tell me the pattern details of the illustrated yellow jacket? Perfect!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 24, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      I’m so sorry Janice, but that’s an oldie. I chose it as a generic representation of this concept because the yellow:black contrast made the horizontal hemline particularly impactful.

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