All The Unconventional Ways To Layer Conventional Clothing

It's hardly a secret that fall and layering come hand-in-hand. With transitional weather swooping in, and the daily too-hot-too-cold conundrum, we find ourselves adding an extra item (or two) to our repertoire just in case. The inconsistencies in temperatures, as great as they may feel, can make for tricky outfit equations to solve: Do you need a jacket over your turtleneck? Can you go bare-legged, or will you immediately regret not wearing tights? Yes, we ask ourselves these questions on the regular, too.

Here's the thing: Layering is our cool-weather BFF — and our model, Clémentine Desseaux, agrees: "What I love the most about fall is layering; the excitement of wearing all of my coolest pieces all at once is pretty intense," she says. "I love colors usually associated with fall, like dark orange, all types of browns, bordeaux, dark green, and deep dark blue!" Sure, piling different pieces on top of each other and opting for dark hues may be something you already do come autumn, but this time around, we're doing things a little bit differently.

Here's our new motto: Take pieces you normally wouldn't layer, and layer them; then take pieces you normally would layer, and wear them solo. We get that it sounds simple (because it is), but when you're so used to styling items a certain way, it can be difficult to view them in a new light. That's why we're getting creative with our tried-and-true knits, coats, and more. Here's how:
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
Kaelen Check Oversized Trench, $1,595, available at Kaelen; Lane Bryant Open-weave Tight, $20, available at Lane Bryant; Efva Attling Tear Cuff, $550, available at Efva Attling; Ana Khouri Martha Earring, available at Ana Khouri.
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
Kaelen Check Oversized Trench, $1,595, available at Kaelen; Ana Khouri earring.




Try Your Coat As A Dress...
Okay, so this is definitely a look that's more suited for the earlier half of autumn, but there's something impossible to ignore about transforming the structured silhouette of a thick coat and making it look (and feel) more undone. Forget about the under layers (hell, you actually don't need any), and focus on styling the jacket to show off some skin. Accentuate the neckline by tugging the piece slightly off your shoulders (shoutout, Balenciaga fall 2016), and pair it with wide-holed fishnets because, why not?
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Photographed by Jeff Olson.
A.W.A.K.E dress; Marc Jacobs Cropped Bowie Pants, $450, available at ShopBop; Tibi Boni Shearling Mules, $450, available at Tibi.
...Or, Try Your Dress As A Coat
As the great "Cha-Cha Slide" once said, "Reverse, reverse" — the previous tip, that is. Here, your bottom layer moves to the top, maintaining its value as a statement piece, while also being seasonally appropriate. Rather than rocking bare legs (a challenge once temperatures drop), build a simple, solid outfit underneath — here, we only used jeans, but any variety of bottoms could work. As it gets even colder, adding a turtleneck or mock-neck to the mix makes the look even more dynamic and versatile.
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
Lane Bryant Button-sleeve Crew-neck Cardigan, $30, available at Lane Byrant; A.F Vandevorst Tuesday Jumper, $626, available at Farfetch; Cedric Charlier Plaid Flannel Wrap-style Midi-skirt, $980, available at Barneys New York; Creatures of Comfort Mule Heel, $460, available at Creatures of Comfort; Efva Attling Moonwalk Earrings, $170, available at Efva Attling.
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
Lane Bryant Button-sleeve Crew-neck Cardigan, $30, available at Lane Byrant; A.F Vandevorst Tuesday Jumper, $626, available at Farfetch; Cedric Charlier Plaid Flannel Wrap-style Midi-skirt, $980, available at Barneys New York; Creatures of Comfort Mule Heel, $460, available at Creatures of Comfort; Efva Attling Moonwalk Earrings, $170, available at Efva Attling.
Double Up On The Knits
A cardigan doesn't necessarily need to be the finishing touch on an outfit. A button-up sweater is actually used as the foundation of this look, serving as a base for a pattern-packed ensemble with varying hemlines. To take the piece to the next level, add a chunky, very oversized sweater on top — here, both the head and right arm were stuck through the neck-hole, and the right sleeve was tied at the back around the waist.
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
Ana Khouri Simplicity Studs, $1,455, available at Barneys New York; Ana Khouri Simplicity Bracelet, available at Ana Khouri; Dries Van Noten cardigan; Lane Bryant Sophie Tailored Stretch Tuxedo Stripe Wide Leg Pant, $60, available at Lane Bryant.
Tie A Sweater On...Backwards
Yes, this could easily be the finishing touch on your outfit. But, why not make a piece this good the focal point, rather than an afterthought? Turning it on its head (or just turning it around), makes this wrap-waist topper act as a backless shirt that stands just as strong on its own as it would layered over, say, a black turtleneck.
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
Emilio Pucci Top, $1,410, available at Emilio Pucci; Sportmax vest; Alexander Wang bag.
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
Emilio Pucci Top, $1,410, available at Emilio Pucci; Sportmax vest; Baja East dress; Alexander Wang bag; Ana Khouri Simplicity Studs, $1,455, available at Barneys New York.
Make Your Pieces Multi-Purpose
That tank top dress you wore all summer long? Don't put it into storage just yet. Instead, utilize it in a less conventional way and pile a ton of other pieces on top of it. (Our model, Clementine, noted that she loved the way she felt in this green dress: "I think it's super-versatile, and it makes me feel like a Greek goddess wearing it! It is also a base for so many layering options!"). A long-sleeve blouse, a cropped vest; an oversized sweatshirt, a printed sweater...the options are actually endless, and you'll be glad to know you're one step closer to actually embracing the idea of a seasonless wardrobe.
Photographed by Jeff Olson.
3.1 Philip Lim Draped Jacquard and Chenille Sweater, $650, available at Nordstrom; Sportmax dress; Maticevski Eminence Panel Skirt, $870, available at Intermix; Tod’s Leather Brogue Chelsea Boots, $547, available at MatchesFashion; Eddie Borgo Boyd Large Clutch Blonge/Evergreen, $1,450, available at Eddie Borgo.
The More Layers, The Better
Start with a skirt; put a hole-y, knit tank dress on top; finish things off with a chunky sweater. It might sound like a lot, but together, it looks like a seamless, all-in-one outfit. Consider this the ultimate in layering addition.

Special thanks to Madden Family Farms.
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