Style and Styling

3 Ways to Layer: Summer to Fall

(Or Fall to Summer!)

Happy day, reader dear!

We are in a transition season again! Fall for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring for those in the Southern… They are my favorite seasons to dress for, but I know some find them frustrating. What’s a woman (or man) to do when the mornings are chilly and the afternoons warm (Or sweltering like here!). Well ladies (and gents), the solution is layering!

Let’s talk first about some layering basics. Thin layers are easiest to layer and prevent bulk. Think about keeping the thinnest layers (tee shirts and insulating camis) near the body, and the thicker layers (heavy sweaters and jackets) on the outside. Sleeve lengths can be key! When you try to layer a longer sleeve over a shorter, you often end up tugging and pulling, and never finding comfort. If the underneath layers are longer sleeved, it’s easier to hold on to them as the top layers go over. And you can always roll back the underneath layers for extra style and texture! Now that we’ve got some ground rules, let’s start layering…

I’m going to use my summer denim shift as an example. I love to transition it into fall by layering it in different ways. If your weather is like ours and is still too hot to contemplate layers, try some of these ways to finesse fall vibes in the heat!

Note: All these looks are neutral. (Sigh.) Please go crazy with color here, ladies! I need a new colored cardigan. All of mine gave up their ghosts. Wardrobe. Gap.

1) Layer Over

At the beginning of fall (or end of spring) layer a heavier layer over the shift to easily peel off as the weather warms. You might choose a blazer for a more polished look, but here you see a cardigan for a more relaxed look. A moto jacket would be darling with it, too! If the dress is narrow, or you want to create more structure or a defined waist, belt the cardigan.

I love a pin or brooch to hold together an open cardigan. Brooches are underrated! For more ideas for styling brooches, click here!

You don’t have to limit your over-layer to traditional toppers! Here are a few looks with blouses and shirts over dresses. Remember: You don’t have to wear a dress to take advantage of layering! If you are a trousers only gal, imagine you are working with trousers and a sleeveless top…

2) Layer Under

As the afternoons get cooler and you don’t have to worry about peeling off that outer layer, it’s time to think about layering under! A thin tee or turtleneck is perfect for this. Other options (depending on the cut of the shift) are a shirt or blouse.

If a top under a dress feels too pinafore-y for your tastes, give it some edge with a boot! I bought this turtleneck one size too small to layer well underneath. It’s more snug across the bust than I would feel comfortable wearing along, but it’s perfect for layering. One of my favorite outfits last winter included this turtleneck (or the grey top here) worn under a wine and pink confetti shell…

3) Tights and Boots

Adding tights and boots to your Layer Over, Layer Under, or no layers at all is a great way to manage a little more morning chill!

4) All of the Above!

When that winter feel is in the air, or you are just emerging into spring, you may need all the layers! And if there is a surprise warming in the afternoon, you can peel off the outside. (I’ve even been known to slip into the rest room on a warm day and get out of my tights. Shhhhh. Don’t tell!)

The top of this outfit shouts cozy, but add those boots and get singing Nancy Sinatra! Heeled boots also kick (#sorrynotsorry) the pinafore vibe to the curb.

BONUS: In case you can’t get enough of the Bourgeoisie or Equestrienne looks that are everywhere this fall, add a silk scarf and riding style boots…

In case I didn’t come through above, managing the shoulder seasons of spring and fall simply boils down to Layer, Layer, and LAYER!

So, how about you? Are you a layers woman? Are you cold natured and need to bundle? Or warm natured and need the option to strip down? Does putting on more than one layer seem like just too much work? Let me know in the comments below… I do so love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,


  • Lynne Riney

    I love the navy/blue shoes is some of these pictures. They have a buckle on them. What brand are they. I am new to this site so I may be missing something – but I wish there was a way to know where I can find items that are shown. Thank you.

    • closetplayadmin

      You’re not missing anything, Lynne! The shoes are (like the cardigan) years old… Also from Talbot’s. To make a pre-loved search easier, I think they are called Avery Buckle Flats (or Loafers). Hope that helps! If stores were paying me to post links, I might be motivated to start posting links to similar items, but so far that’s not in the cards. My apologies.

    • closetplayadmin

      Thank you for visiting, Lynne! The grey cardigan has been part of my wardrobe for years now. I bought it at Talbot’s. You might be able to find it on Ebay or another second hand site. If I were looking, I would search “shawl collar open cardigan”… I style pieces from my own (and others’) wardrobes; I don’t borrow or buy new just to write a post. I try to keep this blog about style in real life!

  • Leslie Susan Clingan

    I have a blogging buddy who wears brooches with almost every outfit. She has lovely pieces, too. Thinking I need to jump on that bandwagon.

    This outfit is one I would wear all season long!! Love the cardigan, the colors, the jumper (I want one) and the boots. Such a put together look for these in-between days that are a little hot and cold.

    • closetplayadmin

      Putting my brooches on that tray this weekend! I want to remember them instead of them having their brooch party in the drawer… Don’t limit yourself to looking for jumpers; I normally just look for sleeveless dresses with enough (but not too much) room around the armholes!

    • closetplayadmin

      Thank you for the visit, Nancy! Brooches ARE easy to forget. I’m thinking about putting mine on a tray on top of my dresser to keep them top-of-mind…

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