Sunny days with a crisp chill in the air. Carved pumpkins strewn everywhere like its no big deal. The smell of bonfires. Autumn is a pretty magical time of year. And it is made no less magical by the carefully constructed sartorial works of art you can create from your own wardrobe by way of some ingenious autumn layering.
BUT. Before I share with you my tips for autumn layering like a pro, let me just share a little home truth with you. Layering doesn’t come naturally to me. In the past, my attempts at layering resulted in some pretty damn hideous silhouettes. The bumps that protruded below belts (which were intended to cinch everything together) were mistaken for pregnancy. And while I appreciated being offered a seat on the tube by kindly passengers, it did nothing to instill a sense of confidence in my ability to layer my outfits.
So through a painstaking process of trial and error, here are the layering guidelines I live by, plus a breakdown of the building blocks you can play around with in endless combinations in order to build the layered autumn looks of your pumpkin-infused dreams.
Keep layers thin
With the discovery of heat tech from Uniqlo, I now remain standing on public transport. Heat tech is the genius collection of under-wear (t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, singlets etc) that keeps you toasty, yet it is but wafer-thin. With a strategically-worn heat tech piece, you can keep your other layers thin too – more layers to play with, no more being mistaken for a pregnant lady.
Keep some of your summer pieces too – they’re usually thin and can be layered over, for example, thin knits.
Inspired layering | baked potato. It’s a fine line. To avoid falling into the latter category you’ve got to balance the proportions. So if you’re layering heavily above your waist, keep it simple downstairs. For example, if you layer a couple of tops with a blazer and your outerwear, keep it simple below with a pair of tailored trousers.
Mix up the textures
To keep your outfit interesting, mix up the textures in your outfit. This keeps the eye moving over your ensemble and avoids the baked potato effect. Here, I’ve created a vision in silky-slip over merino-knit, with a little extra something by way of large fish net.
Stick to classic tailoring
You can’t go wrong when you’re working with quality basics. Layering clean lines will result in a sharp look.
If in doubt, go with the same colour family
If you’re not confident in your layering skills, stick with the same colour family (e.g. camel, beige, cream, burnt orange) or go monochrome.
Belts are your best friend when it comes to cinching it in and tying those layers together. It’s worth investing in a few good belts to add interest and structure to your outfits.
break it down
You will find you probably have most of the key ingredients in your wardrobe already. Take them out, have a little trying-on session when no one’s around. Experiment by mixing different pieces within and amongst the categories below. Try unexpected combinations, like dresses over jeans. A hoodie under a blazer under a trench coat.
- Roll neck tops in black, white and neutral tones
- White cotton shirt
- Strappy or strapless top
- Slip dress
- Floral dress
- Tailored trousers
- Leather leggings
- Skirts – mini, midi and maxi
- A-line or floaty skirt
- Light weight coat (trench)
- Sleeveless coat/gilet
- Wool coat
- Fancy tights
- Scarves – silk neck scarves and long wool scarve