Let’s Talk Volume: How to Style ‘Big’ Without Getting Lost in Your Clothes

Let’s talk volume. Not the kind you put in your hair for that Brigitte Bardot look, not the decibel level on your iPod when you’re jogging around the park…the kind of volume that says 1,000 words about your styling cred without you having to speak at all. 

Of course you’re aware that big cocoon coats have been “in” for a minute, you may even already have one (or two) waiting to be worn when the temperature dips below a certain degree. But that wasn’t the only way designers included excess fabric in their Fall 2013 looks. From wide-leg trousers to full skirts with pleats and length and layers of tulle, from boxy tops to that all-important “big” coat, models were swimming in fabric on the runways this season. Due to expert styling, however, they weren’t drowning in fabric—there’s a difference. Alexander Wang gave us a contrasting cropped jacket to break up a full skirt; Chloe used colorblocking to keep a huge topper from overwhelming; Hermes used men’s styling to balance a shagadelic coat.

How can you include loose and voluminous pieces in your looks without looking overwhelmed? It’s all about balance. If you’re going for a high fashion moment with head-to-toe volume, use cropped lengths to add shape. Pair slimmer cuts with your outsized pieces, if you want to keep it street style (and office) legal. Don’t discount boyfriend styling here too — a slightly-too-big white button-up is cheeky as well as chic and can be worn as a mini dress out at night, or tucked into high-waisted wide-leg trousers for day.