Women's Style Inspiration  » Fall Looks  » How to Layer Outfits for Early Fall

How to Layer Outfits for Early Fall

Follow these easy styling rules for looks that are well worth the effort.

Detail shot of women’s layered outfit
August 14, 2019

There’s nothing easier than putting on a dress or a co-ord set and not having to worry about whether your complete look is cohesive or not. On the flip side, layering separates can take a lot more time and thought. It seems like one of those skills some people are just born with—but with a little help, it’s one that anyone can master.

We admit, there’s a lot to keep in mind in order to strike the right balance with a layered fall outfit. But when you break it down, the “rules” aren’t as complicated as you might think. Read on to learn some very straightforward formulas for layering colors, varying proportions, and adding textures in your early fall outfits. The results are well worth the effort. 

Women’s wide-leg pants and leather jacket outfit

Proportion: Form + flow

This formula is all about balance. And it’s also probably the easiest to remember. If you’re going to wear something that has an oversized or flowy silhouette, you’ll want to create a proportional ensemble by pairing it with more formfitting pieces. For this first outfit, we layered a body-hugging turtleneck with wide-leg pants to make a big style statement. Then to edge out the look, a structured leather jacket contrasts the breezy bottoms.

The same rules can be applied when going oversized on top. A maxi cardigan styled with skinny jeans and a stretchy tee work to achieve the desired outcome. Just follow our formula, below.

Layering proportions quick tips

  1. If you go with a big silhouette on top, keep it formfitting on the bottom, and vice versa.
  2. Let your oversized article of clothing be the star of the show by keeping everything else minimal.
  3. Add a structured bag and a dainty necklace to bring the look together.  
Women’s leopard print maxi-cardigan outfit collage
Women’s blue pants outfit

Color: Primary + pastel

When it comes to combining colorful separates, the key is to choose from different palettes. Here, the boldness of the royal blue pants is tempered by the light pink sweater. It’s all about balancing soft and loud. But if you’re concerned about your outfit veering too far out of your comfort zone, we recommend grounding the look with a few neutral pieces. Here, we did this by adding a brown plush coat, subdued green loafers, and an oatmeal bag. 

Still not sure about mixing and matching various color palettes? Choose an article of clothing that does the heavy lifting for you. As showcased in the outfit below, the patterned coat combines a vibrant shade of red with softer hues of yellows and pinks. The best part about a statement piece is that you can keep the rest of the outfit simple. 

Layering colors quick tips

  1. Choose from different color palettes when combining colorful separates.
  2. Ground the look with at least one neutral-colored piece.
  3. Lean on patterns and prints to give your outfit a bold twist.
Women’s statement coat outfit collage
Women’s layered workwear look

Textiles: Crisp + cozy

As with the other looks, this one is also all about creating contrast. Heavily textured fabrics from head-to-toe can get a little, well, heavy. Here, we’ve taken a few sumptuous pieces (suede shoes, a cashmere cardigan) and balanced them with crisper textiles, including a taffeta trench coat, cotton top, and stretch jersey trousers. This approach often gives you a nice balance of tailored and softer pieces, and is perfectly appropriate for wearing to the office.

For a trendier take you can wear on the weekend, we suggest contrasting soft leather pants and a fuzzy sweater with the clean lines of an Oxford shirt. If you’re still craving variety in the texture department, canvas sneakers and a croc embossed bag make the perfect finishing touches.

Layering textiles quick tips

  1. Multiple textures is a great way of adding interest to a look.
  2. Aim to balance out heavy fabrics with lighter textiles
  3. Mix everyday fabrics like denim and cotton with luxe textiles like silk and leather.
Women’s leather pants and printed jacket outfit collage

If you’d like to try a layered look this fall, talk to a stylist and they’ll be happy to get you started.