Fall Clothes – How to Layer Clothes for Fall

BY: Anam Ather | Sep 23, 2016

If you're not sure you know how to layer fall clothes, you're hardly alone. If spring and summer fashion is all about simplicity and bare skin, autumn clothes and outfits are all about the complex interplay of tops, bottoms, jackets, and accessories. The number of options and combinations can truly be overwhelming. But in that complexity, you'll find opportunities that make the season the most exciting time of year for fashionistas.

Here are our favorite strategies for how to layer clothes with jewel-toned colors, rich textures, and bold prints—and turning them into an effortless-looking autumn ensemble greater than the sum of its parts:

Tops | Bottoms | Accessories | Recommended Ensembles

Tops

Base Layer

Shop oversized T-shirts | Shop midi dresses

Start building your look with a strong foundation. Selecting the longest layer first is not only the easiest way to begin layering but also helps set the tone for the rest of the outfit. A basic oversized tee is the best foundation for a casual look. If you prefer something a bit more girly, opt for a midi dress. Everything else will follow suit.

Middle Layer

Shop sweaters and cardigans | Shop ponchos | Shop plaid button-up shirts | Shop vests

The middle layer can be considered the "disposable" layer, as these pieces can be easily peeled off during the warmest stretches of the day without breaking the rest of the look. But "disposable" doesn't mean "dispensable." Never underestimate the visual pop of a well-chosen chunky knit cardigan or a plaid button-up.

Outermost Layer

Shop anorak jackets | Shop bomber jackets | Shop moto jackets

Finish off your outfit with a bold (and warm) statement piece. Top casual outfits with an anorak jacket for a relaxed, cool weekend vibe or add some edge with a moto-inspired jacket for a fun night of drinks and dancing.

Bottoms

Base Layer

Shop leggings | Shop jeggings

Is wearing leggings instead of actual pants a fashion don't? That's a debate that's been raging since the beginning of time. But as long as the proportions are balanced out and they're paired with an oversized tee, a billowing tunic top or even a flannel shirt tied around the waist, it's totally acceptable.

Outermost Layer

Shop distressed denim jeans

It's no surprise that distressed denim jeans are perfect for summer. Their frayed patches and open holes feel as cool, comfortable, and casual as a day at the beach. But your favorite summer jeans can be part of your favorite fall clothes, too. Pairing them with fleece leggings ensures that you stay warm. We also recommend making the leggings a neutral color (black, gray, etc.) to not distract from the jeans.

Accessories

Hats and Scarves

Shop snoods | Shop hats | Shop blanket scarves

One of the best parts about fall fashion is all the cozy accessories that can be used to upgrade a simple outfit. Up the ante by taking a basic outfit and enhancing it with a knitted snood or blanket scarves. Don't have time to style your hair? A wide-brim fedora, a solid wool baseball cap or even a slouchy beanie are all quick fixes for making it look like you put a lot more effort into your outfit than you actually did.

Belts

Shop fashion belts

To make sure your curves don't disappear underneath multiple layers of clothing, enlist the help of a simple belt worn around the waist to cinch in the midsection. A thicker, more decorative belt with cut-out detailing or sparkly embellishments provides double-duty functionality by creating an hourglass silhouette and also by working as a bold statement piece.

Bags

Shop backpacks |Shop oversized tote bags

Backpacks aren't just for school anymore. Sleek yet never bulky, today's stylish designs are perfect for carrying wallets, extra scarves, and pumpkin spice lattes—and they can be worn with just about every style, from a laid-back weekend look to a chic runway-meets-real-life ensemble. Oversized totes achieve the same effect, so it really comes down to personal comfort. Do you prefer a bag over one shoulder or both?

Recommended Ensembles

Chic Girl Next Door

Shop the look: chunky sweater from $32.99+ | skinny belt from $4.99+ | scarf from $14.90+ | ballet flats from $27.97+

This look exudes a fashion-forward look without being over the top for daytime wear. When combined together, these staples create the perfect outfit for a coffee date, a casual meeting, or even a relaxed day at the office. Consider topping with a wide-brim hat or adding a little more warmth with a sleeveless utility vest.

Date Night

Shop the look: faux leather skirt for $10.99+ | delicate patterned blouse for $34.99+ | pointed stilettos for $36.99+ | statement necklace for $17.99 | clutch for $24.99

Pulled together with a bold red lipstick and a sleek back ponytail, this ultra-feminine outfit (featuring classic pieces every woman should own) is sure to make a lasting impression on your evening's plus-one. For chilly nights, we recommend finishing with a faux fur coat.

Daytime Edge

Shop the look: distressed jeans from $24.50 | flannel shirt from $14.99 | funky cardigan from $18.99 | combat boots from $47.99 | beanie from $11.99

Whether your weekend activities include a fun day at the pumpkin patch or wandering through a corn maze, this casual outfit makes a bold statement complete with rock-and-roll vibes—especially if you top the whole thing off with a bomber jacket.