By Amber Mortensen

With our warm autumns and unpredictable, seemingly endless winters, Sacramentans quickly develop a special knack for layering. And that leaves the most sartorially dedicated among us with a lot of shopping to do. But don’t spend all your allowance in one place! Unless of course, that “one place” is a 10-block section of Midtown. Read on for my downtown shopping list for your top 5 layering needs.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Leather, Vinyl and Denim
Thunderhorse Vintage
2522 J Street
Sacramento CA 95816
(916) 444-7723
Hours: Daily noon-6pm
Directory listing

Rugged utilitarian textiles were ubiquitous on the runways this season. That went double for man-made textures like vinyl and patent leather. But while they are more weatherproof against our famous winter thunderstorms, leather and denim are more durable, classic and readily available in all forms, especially shorts. I‘d wear warm tights or over-the-knee socks with some high-waisted indigo cut-offs or ‘40s style leather shorts; I spotted a $23 pair at Thunderhorse Vintage.

Photo Credit: Amber Mortensen

Cropped Sweater
Heart Boutique
1903 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 441-1359
Hours: Mon to Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri and Sat 11am-8pm, Sun noon-6pm
Directory listing

This one takes a few steps. Grab a slouchy cropped sweater and constantly wear it around the house until it’s Cobain-esque (approximately 6-8 weeks). After you’ve handwashed yourself and the sweater, layer it over a starched pan collar top and a high-waisted skirt. Then put on your boots and go outside. Or just head straight to Heart Boutique, where they have an intentionally threadbare version ($40) ready and waiting for your grimy little hands.

Photo Credit: Macy’s

Men’s Accessories
414 K St
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 444-3333
Hours: Mon to Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 11am-7pm
Directory listing

Invade the men’s section at Macy’s for fancy hats and belts. Or raid vintage stores like Cheap Thrills and Thunderhorse Vintage for smart masculine accessories like wide brimmed fedoras and wingtip oxfords to contrast with a floaty skirt or silky blouse. Men should follow “suit” by utilizing classic accessories every day – try a vintage linen tie or houndstooth suspenders with some Gap chambray, jeans and a fitted parka.

Photo Credit: Amber Mortensen

Floaty Skirt
Sugar Shack Boutiques
2425 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 447 4435
Hours: Mon 11am-6pm, Tues-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
Directory listing

Basically any flowy skirt is a must-have; that includes skirts with high slits, carwash flaps, cut outs, and only the most awkward of hem lengths like this tribal print chiffon number (which descends from an above-the-knee length in front to mid-calf in back) from Sugar Shack.

Photo Credit: Amber Mortensen

Sheer Layers

Yeah, yeah, everyone knows that dressing in practical layers is a necessary part of transitional seasons. But what’s wrong with layering for the sake of layering? Though the only function of this chiffon blouse/capelet, $39 at Sugar Shack, is a breezy wistful flutter, it is just as charming playing peek-a-boo from underneath a tuxedo or motorcycle jacket. We also love the cropped sheer cotton polka dot blouse we found at Cuffs, paired with a pair of pleated leather shorts. I mean, why the heck not?

Amber Mortensen is a freelance wardrobe stylist and fashion writer at Painfully Hip. She loves travel more than she loves paying rent and has a healthy addiction to short shorts.