Style for the Ages: The layers of fall



In this Feb. 9, 2012, handout photo provided by Joseph Abboud, a model shows off the layered look at the Joseph Abboud Fall/Winter 2012 collection during Fashion Week in New York.



A model shows off the layered look with a white collard shirt, V-neck sweater and blazer during the Perry Ellis Fall 2005 Collection, held Feb. 4, 2005, at Byrant Park in New York.

It’s finally fall: Football games. Changing leaves. Pumpkins. You get the picture.

Fall also brings chilly weather, though, which brings me to the fashion part of this column — layering. You don’t have to be overly fashion-conscious to layer your clothes well. Guys have been doing it since the beginning of time.

In fact, layering is another one of these great style decisions that is just as practical as it is fashionable.

You need to bundle up against the oncoming fall weather, but before you opt for the same old ski coat you bought 10 years ago, take a look at this simple guide to layering with practical, classic style.

I really want to stress that there is no right or wrong way to layer. Go with what you like and what makes you feel good. That’s what personal style is all about — adding your own flair and making what you wear represent who you are.

However, there are some classic guidelines that will never go out of style and will always make you one of the best-dressed — and most practically bundled — guys in any room. Take the following advice as a starting point, and go from there.

The layered outfit you can never go wrong with is a white collared shirt underneath a dark wool V-neck sweater, topped off with a blazer or nice coat.

First, you need a white, button-down, collared shirt. Oxford or broadcloth is fine — just make sure the shirt fits you well because with layering it’s not just a collar peeking out from beneath a sweater. If the weather changes, it might end up being your main layer of clothing.

Next, invest in a slim-fitting 100 percent wool V-neck sweater in a dark, neutral shade like black, grey, blue or brown.

While a 100 percent wool sweater might cost you a little bit more, there’s a reason people have been wearing wool clothing for thousands of years. Wool is warm, water-resistant, breathes well, holds up to the elements and is generally more durable than cottons or blends.

A dark sweater also goes with about everything and will look great over your white collared shirt.

What you want to wear over your shirt-sweater combo is more dependent on personal style, wardrobe options and weather. If the weather isn’t especially cold, I recommend slipping into a blazer.

As usual, the options are endless on what style of blazer you wear, but I think this is a great opportunity to pull that gray suit jacket out of the closet that you bought for job interviews and weddings, and haven’t worn for a year. If the weather turns colder, you can always opt for a classic pea coat, university coat or car coat.

Finish this look off with some dark pants and nice shoes (avoid sneakers), and you’ll be ready to go. However, it doesn’t have to end there. You can always spice up your outfit with a scarf, hat, tie, etc. This is all personal preference and gives you a chance to add a dash of personal style to this basic outfit.

But this is the beauty of layering — there is no right or wrong way. I’ve just given you a start, and you can always alter any of these options to fit your individual style. No matter what, you’ll be warm and classically stylish.

— Vaughn Scribner can be reached at


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