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Hot At Retail: Layers, Layers, Layers

When fall changes into winter this year, layering will be even more important than in years past. With less disposable income to spend, everyone from the fashion conscious to the average Joe will be looking to make their wardrobe stretch further with mix-and-match layering staples like cardigans and blazers. When the summer swimsuits and shorts start heading toward the clearance section at your favorite retailer, you'll see layering pieces become the main staple for the cooler fall and cold winter weather.

So how can you capitalize on this hot retail trend? "A lot of the brands that we carry have been designed around the concept of a collection," says Andrea Engel, vice president of merchandising. Layering is a great way to add on to sales in the branded apparel industry, and it can help the end-user feel more comfortable with a uniform program. It's also an issue of comfort.

"For example," Engel says, "many women aren't comfortable in woven shirts and prefer to layer them over another shirt, more like a jacket." Layering can also help show off your client's brand. "Jackets, sweaters, polar fleeces and outerwear will be worn more often than a polo or woven, giving your client's name more visibility," says Engel.

Instead of dressing everyone in a cookie-cutter uniform that only a few feel comfortable in, propose to your customer several layering options that allow their employees to mix, match and find the option that fits their preferences, but still provides a uniform look. Don't forget that accessories are part of the layering look; propose a scarf or bag as another add-on option that can help employees customize their outfit and show off their company pride.

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