1. Wear a slim fitting t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, turtle neck, or bodysuit. Using this slim thin layered inner layer will help prevent the lumpy look. A cami top or short sleeve t-shirt will do in the summer if you are in a humid area. Longer sleeves are great for fall and winter seasons and look amazing under layers. Think of this as the canvas on which you will paint your layers.
Bottoms should contrast a bit, something like a pair of skinny jeans, a pair of no-see-through leggings, or a slim fitting Ponte pant. Even a wide bottom palazzo pant can work and preferably in a solid color.
2. Look for thinner layering pieces like jersey vests, knit vest, chiffon vests or tops, lapel collar chiffon vests or jackets, light ponchos, lace-backed vests, sleeveless blazers, kimonos, jean jackets, or other stylized pieces to go over your thinner top. A long panel vest made of chiffon or silk could be a great choice, they are light and not likely to make you feel hot. Find fabrics that are thinner and do not look bulky if this concerns you. If you are in a really cold area, do layer a bit thicker because it's likely every one else will too.
Layer a soft cardigan first, then a jean vest or jacket. Or try a striped jersey top with a chiffon vest on top. Add a jacket on top, preferably in a solid color like ivory, olive, navy or black.
3. Layering does not have to make you look bigger. If you are really worried about looking big, add a belt to the waist line.
4. Next add a scarf. A thin decorative scarf, mesh scarf, or beaded scarf can be worn even in the summer. A scarf necklace could combine two pieces into one but still add a dramatic effect. Find unique pieces that define your style. If it's too hot for a scarf or you prefer jewelry, try a layered jewelry look. If you don't like bulk, layering can be done on a much sleeker scale in many cases.
5. Sprinkle on your favorite jewelry pieces which add a touch of style to your ensemble. Don't be afraid to wear a short necklace with a longer piece. Try not to combine pieces that will tangle and annoy you or catch on clothing. Many necklace sets already come in a layered look with matching earrings. Coin necklaces, medals, chains, charms, and tiny shapes that dangle really look great layered.
Combine a choker with another piece of jewelry, a piece of lace or ribbon tied around the neck if you don't mind the choker feel. Keep it simple with lightweight pieces if you don't like a lot of bulk. Again, chose pieces that are well made and layer-able that reflect your individual taste. Otherwise a necklace set could be a good option.
If you are allergic to metals try a ribbon, lace or layered fabric necklace. Lastly, add a really great handbag to polish off the look. Look for the details and the bag that suits your needs. Don't be afraid to go simple or more conservative if that is your style, you can still layer effectively but chose more simplistic materials that suit your taste. You can style your layers as simplistic or as fancy as you like.
Layering bracelets is a fun idea and especially great if you don't like layered necklaces. Combine various bracelet types with watches, charmed bracelets, bangles,patterned or beaded bracelets and more. The more colorful the more fun it looks. The more metal you add, the more glamorous it looks. Stretch bracelets are the bomb and we know they are more comfortable if your wrists aren't small. So pile on the stretch bracelets and in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns.
Stick with a color theme
Combine different thicknesses
Add shimmer textures like Gold, Silver, Copper or Rose Gold
Add patterns and textures like leather, hemp, hammered surfaces, textiles like rope, string, pom poms, etc.
Wear with a watch on
Add charmed bracelets
Multiple rings is also a fun idea but if you like it simple, keep it simple. Do not layer things that you don't like, that is a recipe for disaster. If you type all day, don't layer rings and bracelets or you might get annoyed. If you are going for a sophisticated look, less is more.