50 Genius Layering Ideas to Steal from Fall’s Most Inspiring Lookbooks

50 Genius Layering Ideas to Steal from Fall’s Most Inspiring Lookbooks
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Photo: VEDA/Josh Goot/Rhié/Veronica Beard/Zara/STYLECASTER

There’s a reason magazines’ fall fashion issues are always the thickest—whatever your feelings on the chillier weather, the season presents some of the best opportunities for getting dressed. Beyond the unbeatable textures—the coziness of cashmere sweaters, the rich patina of leather boots, the curl-up-in-it plushness of a velvet slip dress—there are infinitesimal ways in which fall clothing can be worn (something you can’t say about your wardrobe when it’s 90 degrees outside).

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Yes, I’m talking about layering, the pile-it-on element of styling that can be the difference from an ok-outfit you see on Instagram and one you want to steal straight through the screen of your phone. Proportion, color, texture, and print are all considerations with an expertly-composed ensemble—and while you may have mastered the basics (a turtleneck under a pinafore dress, a denim jacket under a wool coat), rest assured there are still plenty of advanced-level layering lessons to learn.

One of the best places to look for inspiration? The lookbooks of some of your favorite labels, where outfits tend to be a little more approachable than on the runway, and where stylists have the chance to show off their skills. This season, we’ve combed through imagery from brands like Zara, Tictail, J.Crew, and Elizabeth and James for the most unexpected layering tricks you can totally try at home.

MORE: The Boots 8 STYLECASTER Editors Are Coveting This Fall

Click through the gallery for 50 brilliant styling ideas for Fall 2016.

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Embrace the going-out top—as a layering piece, at least. Bustiers and slinky camis don’t have to be saved for after-work hours if you practice a little strategic styling—try a high-neck blouse, a pullover knit, or even a conservative button-down in lieu of bare skin underneath.

Photo: Elizabeth and James
Photo: H&M Studio
Photo: Tictail
Photo: Cinq à Sept
Photo: Topshop Boutique

When doubling up on outerwear, contrast is key. Redefine business casual by wearing a hoodie under the “interview blazer” you’d long relegated to the back of your closet, or take the formality of a tailored wool coat down a notch by adding a floral blazer underneath.

Photo: H&M
Photo: J.Crew
Photo: Sessùn
Photo: J.Crew

There are few things that can’t be improved with a great turtleneck. Layer one under just about anything this season—a suede boiler suit, a sequin slip dress, a crisp white button-down—for extra warmth and an insta-air of intellectualism.

Photo: Novis
Photo: Veronica Beard
Photo: ALC
Photo: Rodebjer
Photo: Sessùn

Isn't is about time we reconsidered the vest? As a piece of outerwear, it doesn't get nearly as much love as its more functional siblings, the jacket or coat, but it's the ideal item for showing off the season's statement-sleeve tops while still layering up for fall.

Photo: Co.
Photo: M. Patmos
Photo: Hellessey
Photo: Novis

Yes, minimalists can load up on layers, too. Choose pieces in a single color family for a luxe-looking, windchill-fighting ensemble. Bonus points if you break away from the black and choose a neutral shade like oatmeal or ivory.

Photo: Zara
Photo: VEDA
Photo: Olderbrother
Photo: Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Photo: Co.

Treat your jumpsuit as a jumping-off point—layer a collared top underneath a belted version for a super '70s look, or add a contrasting print for extra personality. Then, give your sneakers a break and tuck the legs into a pair of tall boots instead.

Photo: A.P.C.
Photo: Iro
Photo: Ace & Jig
Photo: Frame

At least once this season, try wearing pants in place of tights under your favorite dress. Take note of some of the proportions you see here—a knee-length knit over silky flares, a structured slip over straight-leg trousers—and play dress-up in your closet till you find what works best. We promise, a little change is good for you.

Photo: VEDA
Photo: Rhié
Photo: See by Chloé
Photo: Sandro

How to take the "blah" out of your button-down: throw on a knit tank, camisole, or cropped sweater overtop, then leave very much untucked.

Photo: Josh Goot
Photo: Objects Without Meaning
Photo: Elizabeth and James
Photo: Madewell

Sometimes, it's what's on top that counts—like in the case of overcoats, which provide the perfect counterpoint to this season's suiting. From tailored pinstripes to printed silk PJs and conservative toppers to embroidered, velvet-trimmed robes, there's a combination for every occasion.

Photo: Hillier Bartley
Photo: J.Crew
Photo: VEDA
Photo: Zara

When in doubt, opt for oversize everything. Heaping a roomy sweatshirt and extra-long-sleeve shirt on top of wide-leg pants may seem like the kind of move magazines used to warn you against, but this season, take the opportunity to enjoy one of fashion's most comfortable trends.

Photo: Josh Goot
Photo: COS
Photo: Timo Weiland
Photo: Whistles
Photo: ICB

Now that our love for the basic turtleneck has been established, we feel somewhat less guilty for encouraging you to cheat on it. For nighttime this fall, consider branching out to more interesting high-neck fare—polka-dot chiffon, say, or sheer stretch mesh.

Photo: 10 Crosby Derek Lam
Photo: Cinq à Sept
Photo: Maison Mayle
Photo: Kaelen

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