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All About Layers: How To Dress For Fall and Winter

November 06, 2017

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When colder weather takes the place of summer heat, it's time to change up your style and get cozy with sweaters and layers. 

If you're all about summer weather, you've probably been stretching your wardrobe choices to include shorts and flip flops til the very end. But once temperatures start to dip, you need to change that mindset and start piling on the layers -- or at least start wearing socks!

How to dress in layers

Dressing for fall and winter is an opportunity to wear your most comfortable clothes, but that doesn't mean piling everything on top of each other all at once. Layering is a simple balance between having enough options to adjust to temperature changes throughout the day and not having to drag half your wardrobe around school just in case the weather shifts. 

Nothing says fall like layers and accessories in cool, neutral tonesNothing says fall like layers and accessories in cool, neutral tonesCourtesy of fashion4beginners, ShopStyle, ArtofManliness

Rule 1: Layer Thickness

Layer from thin to thick. Your thinnest layer, like a t-shirt or tank top, should be on the bottom. Your thickest layer, like a denim jacket or plaid button-down, should be on top. Thick underneath layers look bulky and can get uncomfortable, too.

Thin layers create a sleek lineThin layers create a sleek lineCourtesy of ArtofManliness

Rule 2: Don't double-up

If you have a denim jacket, wear pants that aren't denim. If you're wearing a blue dress, wear tights in a contrasting color, not the same color blue.

A light spring dress finds new life in fall with tights and a sweaterA light spring dress finds new life in fall with tights and a sweaterCourtesy of Nafdress.com

Rule 3: Patterns

Mix patterns carefully. Wearing more than one stand-out pattern can get a little dizzying. You can totally mix your patterns, but make sure only one is a strong pattern, and the other one or two are more subtle. If you're a fashion newbie, stick with winter plaids or neutral stripes, and keep floral patterns for spring.

A colorful kimono is all the accent you need over a white tank, jeans, and a belt.A colorful kimono is all the accent you need over a white tank, jeans, and a belt.Courtesy of TrendyCurvy.com

Rule 4: Number of Layers

Remember the rule of 3: Three layers of clothes is enough for anyone. Any more than three layers, and you look like you're preparing for snowmageddon. 

As weather gets colder, pile on the heavier layersAs weather gets colder, pile on the heavier layersCourtesy of Grayskymorning.com

Rule 5: Accessories 

Match your accessories to each other. It's perfectly okay to wear a scarf, cool hat, and cozy mittens, but make sure they match each other, especially if you're also wearing a few layers. 

Three light layers and a jaunty hat add up to fashion and comfortThree light layers and a jaunty hat add up to fashion and comfortCourtesy of ShopStyle.com

Rule 6: Show your Layers

A button-down shirt sticking out from under a sweater which is showing under a tailored jacket is a perfect example of fall layering. Don't hide the layers by buttoning all the way up or tucking everything in. The purpose is to wear your layers with pride -- and be able to peel them off if the day heats up later.

If you're going to layer, let the layers underneath show throughIf you're going to layer, let the layers underneath show throughCourtesy of Yolande Ave. NL

Rule 7: Boots & Shoes

Wear closed-toed shoes and socks. If you're embracing layers, embrace the whole shebang -- ditch the sandals for boots, or at least opt for heavy fall shoes.

Balance lots of layers on top with narrow boots and slim jeans on the bottomBalance lots of layers on top with narrow boots and slim jeans on the bottomCourtesy of fashion4beginners

Rule 8: Tones

Fall colors look best in fall. Earth tones like brown and tan, and fall foliage colors like dark green, mustard-yellow, and burnt orange make a great fall fashion statement. Change up your layer colors for winter with jewel-toned royal blue and purple, ruby-red, and emerald green.

Neutral colored sweaters are made for enjoying crisp fall weatherNeutral colored sweaters are made for enjoying crisp fall weatherCourtesy of fashion4beginners
Have Your Say

What's your best tip for getting cozy and stylish in cold weather? Share your advice and questions in the comments below.