My Top 6 Tips: How to Layer Button Downs with Sweaters & How to Wear Scarves

As someone who hates being cold, you’ll often find me layering sweaters and/or wearing a scarf.


In the comments section of previous outfit posts (1, 2), I’ve been asked for my top tips on layering sweaters and wearing scarves – so I thought I’d combine my answers into one post for easy reference.

Like everybody else these days, I get all my good styling ideas from Pinterest and other blogs! In particular, these tutorials on wearing scarves and rolling sleeves have had a major impact on my outfits.


Shirt: H&M (similar), Sweater: Old Navy (similar) / Shirt: Old Navy, Sweater: Old Navy / Shirt: H&M (similar), Sweater: Old Navy (similar, similar but $$$)

1) Choosing a sweater – the best layering sweater is one that is slightly thicker (you don’t want the see the underlying buttons poke through the top) and not too long (so that you can see the hem of the button down peek out from underneath)

2) Choosing a shirt – you can get away with nearly any button down underneath a thicker sweater (like the plaid shirt with the cable knit sweater in my picture above), but for thinner sweaters, you’ll want to choose something light and delicate. You could even opt for a chiffon-like shirt like this.

3) Rolling your sleeves – one of the key steps to getting that J.Crew layered-look is scrunching up your sweater sleeves near your elbow, bringing the cuff up over the sweater, and neatly rolling the shirt up to the cuff (picture tutorial here). This step highlights the two fabrics without adding bulkiness to your sleeves.


Scarf: Old Navy (similar), Sweater: Old Navy / Scarf: Forever21 (adore this option!), Sweater: Garage / Scarf: Express, Shirt: Garage (similar)

4) Rectangle scarf – pick the scarf up by the corner, wrap it loosely around your neck once and adjust the ends so that they hang down evenly.  Holding the scarf by the corner results in tapered ends, which looks much nicer than squared-off ends.

5) Square scarf – fold the scarf diagonally in half, so that you’re left with one large triangle. Take the two ends of the triangle and place it around your neck – as if you were putting on a giant bib (!!!) Tuck the ends in at your nape and bring them down to hang on each side of your ‘bib’! (Alternatively, instead of tucking, bring the ends round the front and tie them in a knot under the ‘bib’ – shown here)

6) Infinity scarf – the easiest scarf to wear – especially if they’re extra fluffy like these Express scarves! You can either loop them evenly twice around your neck (so that it hangs down like one giant necklace like this) or loop them three times (as seen above) to get a more voluminous look.

So there you have it – my top 6 tips – I hope you found them helpful! And thank you again to everyone who takes the time to comment on my blog – please feel free to leave any tutorial requests below ♥♥♥

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.


  1. Kallie @ But First, Coffee
    February 24, 2014 / 2:54 am

    Great tips! I think I'll layer tomorrow!!Kallie @ But First, Coffee

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 24, 2014 / 4:56 am

      Thanks Kallie – sounds like a great plan!

  2. Ariadne Elise
    February 24, 2014 / 6:08 am

    Thank you very much for this post! It truly is quite helpful, like your pin suggestions. =)

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 25, 2014 / 4:18 am

      So glad you liked the post Ariadne – and thanks for inspiring me to write it 🙂

  3. Mayumi
    February 24, 2014 / 11:44 am

    I love all your outfits!! I love that necklace too <3!!! So lovely. Is it from J.Crew??Also, I just posted my Tanya Burr's Lip glosses review and swatches and that would mean a world to me if you could visit my blog! 🙂 Mayumi

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 25, 2014 / 4:22 am

      Thanks Mayumi – yes, the necklace I'm wearing with the polka dot sweater is from J.Crew factory 🙂 Love Tanya Burr's glosses – they look amazing!

  4. Daily Express
    February 24, 2014 / 2:14 pm

    I'm a scarf-aholic lately so I'm especially loving the scarf tips. I mostly get infinity scarves (or make them into infinity scarves if they're not!) but I don't like being limited since there are so many cute scarves that are non-infinity. -GinaOn the Daily Express

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 25, 2014 / 4:23 am

      I saw your infinity sewing project – was definitely super impressed by your sewing skills! Infinity scarves are fun because they are so simple to wear 🙂

  5. Really Renata
    February 24, 2014 / 4:40 pm

    Great tips! I always have a hard time with layering my shirts underneath sweaters. I always feel bulky. You look great!

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 25, 2014 / 4:24 am

      Thanks Renata – before I discovered how to cuff/roll my sweaters & sleeves, I'd always wonder why my cuffs felt so tight LOL!

  6. Unknown
    February 24, 2014 / 6:06 pm

    Great post! Thanks!

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 25, 2014 / 4:24 am

      Glad you liked it 🙂

  7. Beautygirl24
    February 24, 2014 / 9:15 pm

    Thank you so much Ella, this was super helpful! I have chubby arms so I rarely am able to layer comfortably. The weather here isn't very conducive to it either, but I just love the look! And the scarf tips were great too because I don't know how to wear one other than looped around. I'll try this soon.

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      March 2, 2014 / 3:49 am

      Glad you enjoyed the post Noelle – but you do NOT have chubby arms <3 Can't wait to see the scarf looks on you 😉

  8. Carylee
    February 25, 2014 / 12:43 am

    Great tips! You definitely have a knack for pulling both of these off! Always so polished and perfect! Thanks for sharing with Manic Monday!

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 25, 2014 / 4:25 am

      Aww thanks Carylee – I'm loving your anchor sweater layered look from the other day – that was perfection!

  9. Anonymous
    February 25, 2014 / 4:17 am

    What is your height and weight if you don't mind me asking? You figure is absolutely perfect – like model kind of perfect – seriously!!!

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 25, 2014 / 4:29 am

      I promise you it's far from perfect – I'm a huge fan of Assets/Spanx shapewear 🙂 I'm 5'4 and my weight varies from 108-114.

  10. Liss Cope
    February 28, 2014 / 11:13 am

    Great tips!! I really like the way you layer shirts / sweaters so effortless 🙂

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 28, 2014 / 10:15 pm

      Thanks Liss – learning to cuff my sleeves has made it so much simpler for me 🙂

  11. fashion doctor
    February 28, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    great post, thanks! xoxooo

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      February 28, 2014 / 10:16 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Unknown
    January 11, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    So it's not necessary to size up on a sweater if you intend on wearing button ups underneath?

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      January 11, 2016 / 5:12 pm

      I personally don't – one because I like the option of wearing the sweater both with and without a shirt underneath – and two, having a fitted sweater gives a neater profile. I haven't had any issues, but if layering is a concern, I'd choose a lighter button down to wear underneath – hope that helps 😉

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