The Layering Guide: Unconventional Layers for Fall

29th Nov 2016

Sometimes, layering for fall leaves little to the imagination. Every year it’s the same thing—pack up the short sleeves and sandals, and dig out your sweaters and fleece vests. Once these light fall layers can no longer stand up to the increasingly cold weather, we go back to the closet for winter coats and heavier boots. If you’re bored of this routine, it’s time to spice it up with a few unconventional fall layering ideas.

At Pink Lily, we know that fashion magic happens when you dare to creatively explore new styles and rethink the way you handle seasonal changes. We love fall layers, since stacking styles usually means you get to wear more of your favorite clothes all at once. Our guide to unconventional fall layering ideas will turn your fashion world upside down, so read on for some unique twists on classic favorites.  

Upside Down + Inside Out

knee-length trench coat

As autumn days shorten and cool, resist the traditional fall layers, like your favorite jeans, a flannel shirt, and a coat. Instead, try grabbing just the coat—that’s right, this season’s trendsetters have turned your coat into a multi-purpose garment that can also stand on its own as a dress. Head to your coat closet and pick your favorite knee-length trench coat and wear it as your new fall dress.

Be brave, creative, and selective. Choose a coat with interesting details like colorful stitching, unique pockets, statement buttons, or other eye-catching embellishments. You can also pick a coat that reflects this season’s embrace of plaids, houndstooth, or fall hues, like olive and rust.

Explore coats with varying fits. A coat that’s just the right size will flatter your form and curves and create a sleek and sophisticated look. Choosing a coat that is a little oversized will let you have fun showing a little skin for a sassy, off-the-shoulder look. Some oversized cardigans also look fabulous wrapped around as a dress.

Complete your fall layers for this outfit with textured or sheer stockings. For short trench coats turned dresses, wear knee-length boots. For longer coats, it’s all about the booties.

Dressing Up for the Weather

Spring styles

As great as fall coats are, they can typically end up in one of two categories: functional or fashionable. Our sleekest and most chic coats are typically not the warmest, and the warmest coats turn heads for their goose down bulk, not their beauty.

Fall fashionistas around the country are rethinking fall layers and what we actually need to stay warm during this transitional season. The end result of all this fashionable brainstorming has elevated dresses up a couple of layers to serve as your new fall coat.

Too often we find that dress with the perfect silhouette, stitching, embroidery or other details, and then a sudden temperature drop forces us to bury it under endless layers of sweaters and coats. Restoring fall dresses to their place of honor as a top layer, maintains their power as a statement piece. Pink Lily’s collection of flowing maxi dresses has 2016’s top hues and classically cut shapes with beautiful drapes. These dresses lend themselves perfectly to their new duty as a fall coat. You can add warmth to a dress by adding subtle fall layers underneath with fitted tops and pants.

Layer a ¾ length tee or scoop neck under a dress and accessorize with a scarf. Keep your legs warm with leggings or tights. You can also rock the power of contrasting styles and pieces and pair a dress with skinny jeans, tights, leggings or even flare pants. The flow of the dress and flare pants of a more neutral color combine to create a billowing and elegant effect with every step you take.

As night temperatures drop to freezing, add more fall layers on top of your dress like a loose sweater or a mock turtleneck. When layering pieces that keep your dress as the outfit’s focal point, harness the power of striking color pairings and contrasts to create a stunning and memorable look.

Knits and More Knits

Knit sweaters

Knit sweaters, shirts, and scarves are favorites for fall layers. When planning an outfit, most ladies live by a one knit rule—don’t wear a poncho and a vest together. That rule has officially gone out of style and now, you can layer your knits as you wish. Have fun creating new color and pattern combinations when you mix and match textures by pairing thin and chunky knits in the same outfit. When building outfits around multiple knit pieces, consider unexpected match-ups like pairing a sweater and sweatshirt.

There’s also the popular sweater and turtleneck combination or the low hanging plaid vest over a form-fitting cardigan stack. To create more dramatic and modern looks, layer pieces with different hemlines like a flowing poncho and long cardigan for trendy, asymmetrically outfits. If you prefer a more casual look for a fall hayride or apple picking, pair mixed and matched knits with distressed jeans and boots. For more formal events, wear your double knits with billowing slacks and heels.

For the Love of Scarves

Pink Lily scarves collection

When building fall layers with knits, remember one super-flexible and warming accessory—the scarf. With so many wonderful scarves in the Pink Lily collection, there are almost infinite possibilities for textures, colors, and sizes. Tap into your adventurous side and find fun ways to convert scarves into belts, hair ties, skirts, and even vests. There is always the classic neckwear style, too.

Infinity Scarf Belt

Most modern scarf hacks are really simple to pull off, like turning any infinity scarf into an absolutely fabulous belt. To start, hang the loop around your neck and twist it once to double the loop. If you need to add one more loop for a snugger fit, go right ahead. Slide these now stacked loops over your shoulders, down to your waist and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind belt that adds definition to a shift, mini, or maxi. The scarf’s knit texture and ribbed pattern will also add another attractive detail to the outfit as a whole.   

From Scarf to Skirt

For those ladies who are in the market for an unconventional skirt that is versatile and extremely cozy, turn an oversized blanket scarf into your newest skirt. Choose a scarf that highlights fall colors and measures about 55 inches long by 60 inches wide. The right sized scarf should wrap comfortably around your waist while giving your legs plenty of coverage.

Pair your scarf-skirt with a long sleeved tee or blouse during warm weather or a cozy knit sweater and cold weather leggings during cold weather. A pair of leather or suede knee high boots with a stacked heel is the perfect final fall layer to complete this comfortable and sophisticated outfit.

A Dramatic Hood

On a cold, windy day or in case of a sudden rain shower, transform a beautifully detailed knit scarf into a stylish hood that will frame your face and lend an air of feminine mystery to any casual fall outfit. Stars of the silver screen like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly made this look legendary decades ago.

To create your hood, simply fold the scarf in half diagonally to create a large triangle with one smooth edge. Lay that smooth edge along your forehead and then cross the hanging ends of the triangle over the front of your neck and then back behind your shoulder. Embellishments like fringe will add character to all of your fall layering ideas.  

Wear It Backwards

Lace detail tops

To some it may sound quirky to intentionally wear a dress or shirt backwards. However, there are many fabulously dressed celebrities who would disagree with you. This growing list of names includes stars like Angelina Jolie, Emma Watson, and Rachel Bilson. The key to successfully pulling off this new trend in fall layering is understanding which components matter most when choosing that special dress to turn around. These tips will help guide you in this ultra-fun fashion experiment.

Emphasize the Details

Choose a dress or shirt with a back panel that has intricate embellishments, like lace edging or embroidering. It also helps this particular unconventional outfit if the back is also flirtatiously revealing. The stunning focal point that was the back of this shirt now gets placed center stage as it becomes the new plunging neckline for the shirt’s front. Since the cut may be low and potentially revealing, wear a form fitting scoop neck tank under the shirt to avoid a wardrobe malfunction, and to accentuate the best of your feminine figure. Choose a complementing color for the undershirt, or pick a bold color that stands out.  

To try this fall layering fashion experiment with a dress, choose from Pink Lily’s collection of tunic dresses that have just the right amount of sultry. The allure factor of these dresses become a bit subtler when they are reversed. A dress suddenly has a new high neckline with an urban sophistication and tinge of drama—without being nineteenth-century severe. The v-neck collar transforms into a slight peek at your neck and bare back, while a knot in the front shifts to accentuate your back.

Complete the look with a necklace worn backward. Choose a long necklace, like a string of pearls or a thin gold chain, so the necklace lays high on your neck like a choker and cascades gorgeously down your back.  

Another fall layering idea that works with this outfit is an infinity scarf with a delicate pattern. To make sure it matches the style, also wear it high on the neck in the front and draped down your back.

Keep It Asymmetrical

Spring attire

Asymmetrical skirts and tunics are always fun and add sophistication to any outfit. Changing how you wear these clothes can also give you new fall layering ideas. Wear a tunic backwards to switch the location of the long drape or, instead of wearing an asymmetrical skirt backwards, experiment with different ways to position the varied hemline.

If you’re wearing a skirt with a slit, move the slit around and wear it on the side of your leg. Try the slit in the back or in the front, so that your legs get a quick second to shine with each sep. You can also play with the high-low cut of a skirt.

Typically these skirts are worn with the low cut in the back. Since we’re mixing everything up, turn this skirt around to shed a little more light on the back of your legs, while providing a drape for your front whether you’re standing or sitting. Since asymmetrical shirts show more leg by design, step out in heels to maximize calf definition and to ensure that your newly rearranged hemlines stay well above the ground. If the temperature drops, sheer stockings will save your day or night.

Stocking up for Fun Fall Layers

Fall is one of fashion’s most exciting seasons. For these few months, we get to enjoy the flexibility created by intermingling warm and cool days. Still, it’s easy for our fall wardrobe to start to feel a bit stale.

Try these unconventional fall layers from Pink Lily to bring a little excitement back into the season. Check our blog often for more classic and modern styles to create a collection of fun and fashionable innovations.