Seasonal changes may put a chill in the air, but don’t let falling temperatures cool your fashion sense. Battling the cold in style all comes down to layering like a pro. The secret? Understanding five basic principles: color, proportion, texture, patterns, and accessories.

Our Favorite Layering Looks

Layering clothes with fall colors

Take Care With Color

A careful color strategy is essential for creating a look that’s put-together instead of circus clown. The trick is simple: stay within the same color family to create a central theme to your outfit. Consider a series of neutrals, blacks and grays, camels and browns, or rich jewel tones. If you lean toward bolder colors, layer in a neutral for contrast.

Layering clothes with texture outfit

Change up the Texture

If you don’t change up texture, a layered look can become heavy, fast. Like proportion, balance comes into play here: fabric with a heavy texture, like a chunky knit, wool, or cashmere, is best when paired with one that’s lighter, like sleek leather, sheer tights, or soft suede. If your outfit includes a bulky winter jacket, consider stepping into fitted denim or a slim pencil skirt to lighten the look.

How to layer with accessories

Accessorize

Accessories are key for layering with ease. Wear a scarf long and loose over a classic camel coat, or softly wrapped with a leather jacket. Transition a cropped-sleeve jacket into winter by adding opera length gloves. Don’t forget your head come cold temperatures—if you’re wearing an oversize coat, streamline the outfit with a sophisticated fedora; if your look is sleek, soften it with a knitted beanie.

How to layer clothes with proportion

Perfect the Proportion

The eye naturally seeks a sense of equilibrium, making proportion a key component to layering. Get it right by paying attention to volume, silhouettes, lines, and lengths. An oversized blouse worn untucked pairs best with fitted pants, and its larger, lengthier silhouette becomes balanced when the pants crop at the ankle. If a jacket comes into play, be sure the hem is slightly longer than the shirt beneath to streamline the look. Proportion takes practice, but when you get it right, your eye will let you know.

Mix and match layering outfit

Mix and Match

Combining prints and patterns successfully all comes down to scale and color. If you have a small print, pair it with one of a larger scale featuring similar colors so they complement instead of clash. Or, pair patterns of the same scale, but in different or inverted colors. If you’re working with neutral patterns, add richness with a colorful print accessory in a complementary scale, and complete the look with a solid-colored jacket for a clean, grounded finish.

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