Your Guide To Layering Like A Pro This Fall

Every season has its unique fashion, and fall seems to be the most popular of them all. As temperatures dip and the air begins to chill –- you're likely to start looking for the nearest coat or jacket to keep warm. And with influencers and celebrities alike already breaking out their best cold-weather looks (yes, we're looking at you Anne Hathway), it's easy to feel inspired to do a little wardrobe refresh of your own. From mixing and matching textures and silhouettes to finding a new way to rework your favorite wardrobe essentials, laying is the perfect way to seamlessly transition seasons and upgrade your personal style. "I love how fall layering in particular can transform your energy," creative director Daniella Kallmeyer tells TZR. "Like how a delicious cashmere scarf wrapped and tucked into your jacket can make you stand taller, or how a long cuff sticking out of a blazer might subconsciously cause you to gesture bigger."


The goal of layering is to stay as toasty as possible while still keeping your style chic and effortless. And though you may be tempted to pile on the layers in the pursuit of staying warm -– it can be hard to play with layering without feeling awkward and bulky, explains our sister site, The List. Luckily, there are several tips and tricks that industry insiders and stylists alike suggest that can help you take your fall fashion from drab to fab. Here's a look at everything you'll need to know (and have on hand) in order to nail your layered fall looks.

Repurpose your spring and summer clothing

As fall approaches and the urge to switch up your style begins to creep in, you might be tempted to start packing away your warm-weather wardrobe; but don't put your summer items away just yet. Instead, delve into your wardrobe first to see which fall staples and statement pieces you already own and see which items of clothing it might be time to donate. This quick closet cleanout and assessment of your items will keep you from purchasing duplicates or having ill-fitting items taking up space in your closet. "Keep in mind how clothes will keep up day to day with an on-the-go lifestyle. Durability is a huge part of transitioning your seasonal wardrobe," celebrity wardrobe stylist Audrey Brianne tells TODAY.


Instead of thinking of your clothing as only being good for a few months out of the year, try selecting pieces that can be used and repurposed for any occasion. Once you have everything laid out, you can start mixing and matching your chosen pieces to create an entirely new look. Lifestyle creator Natalie Yerger recommends trying on items that you might not normally style together, like a long-sleeve dress with thick wool tights and boots or using a breezy button-down in place of outerwear. Then, depending on how cold it gets in your neck of the woods, you can nearly double your fashion options by mixing and matching your seasonal items.

Invest in some great layering basics

It can be tempting to pack your wardrobe with the latest trendy pieces this fall. But if you're looking for a fool-proof formula for layering –- there are a few rules you should try to follow. One of our favorites is this tip from lifestyle blogger Eileen Lazazzera, who swears by the '3-Layer Method' of styling your clothing. Lazazzera suggests starting with a lightweight base layer like a camisole or t-shirt, followed by a warm layer item such as a sweater or cardigan. Finally, you can finish the look off with a protective outerwear layer like a coat or jacket in a neutral tone, so it goes with everything. This styling method is perfect for building a capsule wardrobe for fall and getting the most use out of your clothing while staying cozy.


Collecting all of the pieces you need for your fall layering needs might seem overwhelming, which is why focusing on the foundational pieces is a good place to start. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to building a capsule wardrobe but you can't go wrong with a few key essentials like tank tops, bodysuits, t-shirts, a fitted pair of jeans, dress pants, a leather jacket, and a pair of tall boots, per WhoWhatWear. Not only will these pieces be perfect for laying, but they can also be worn all year round. Once you have the layering essentials on hand, you can add your own flavor by including a few versatile and unique pieces that show a bit more of your personality.

Splurge on the perfect piece of outerwear

The most important piece of your fall layering look is your choice of outerwear. A good winter coat or jacket is necessary for pulling your outfit together and keeping you warm as the temperature drops. "Winter with a bad coat is miserable," stylist Brooke Philips tells Thread. "But if you've got one that can stand up to wind and rain, then you don't even have to think about the weather when you leave the house." He goes on to say that most stylists advise clients to purchase one expensive coat with classic styling and neutral tones. "Something like a navy overcoat, or even a tan trench, is designed to go with everything," Brooke adds.


Of course, you can expect the classics like fitted trenches and leather jackets to always be on trend. But if you're looking for something a little more eye-catching, the trend forecast for this year shows that color-blocked outerwear, dramatic fur-trimmed coats, and vintage bomber jackets are making a splash, per TODAY. And despite the dropping temperatures, more and more people are ditching sleeves entirely in their fall fashion looks. Sleeveless coats and puffer jackets are becoming popular fall must-haves thanks to their versatility and ability to mix and match with your wardrobe, as opposed to your traditional puffer coat. This frees you up to try layering your outfit with thicker sweaters or pullovers without the risk of overheating.


Keep your accessories functional and fun

Accessories can often go overlooked, but they can be the perfect way to finish off an outfit and express your personal style. One of the essential accessories you'll need in order to make a statement with your fall look is the perfect handbag (or two). "I always make sure to have a few different bags in my closet for fall," says Theresia Le Battistini, CEO and Founder of Fashion League, tells InTouch. "A varied assortment enables me to mix and match depending on my outfit and the occasion." If you do decide to snag a few different bags, you'll want to opt for an everyday purse with plenty of space, a small and stylish bag to bring to fancy functions, and of course, a durable and quirky tote bag to show off your personality, per Stitch Fix.


Another trend that's sweeping runways and social feeds alike is the return of knitwear -– including cozy crochet knits and full-coverage balaclavas. It seems the return to nostalgic staples and whimsical textiles is here to stay. So whether you're looking to elevate your outfit with a classic cable knit or you prefer to make a statement with a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind piece, knitwear will be the hottest accessory to have this fall.

Complete your outfit with the perfect pair of shoes

It's no secret that the crown jewel of any winter wardrobe is the perfect pair of boots. Of course, if you don't find yourself in love with the classic knee-high riding boots -– there are plenty of other styles that you can incorporate into your wardrobe. Try pairing your favorite ankle boots with some jeans and a flannel, or add a little fun to your day by matching a skirt and sweater combo with a funky pair of cowboy boots (via L'Officiel). And if you're more the nostalgic type who likes to wear what you already have, you'll be thrilled to hear that Ugg Boots are back in a big way this year. "I love all the warm and cozy shearling silhouettes trending for the upcoming season. The possibilities are endless," fashion director Caroline Maguire tells Harper's BAZAAR.


Not a fan of boots but still looking for a fashion-forward footwear choice this fall? The word around town is that loafers are on their way to re-establishing themselves as a must-have wardrobe staple, per Image. This preppy and chic shoe is surprisingly comfortable without sacrificing style. Not to mention loafers are a great shoe to always have on hand because they can be dressed up or down for any occasion, making it a safe investment for those looking to be ahead of the trend. And once you've chosen your footwear of choice, try adding some layers and warmth with a selection of wool socks, insulated tights, and legwarmers.