With Summer waning, it’s time to start thinking about layering up. Yes, we’ve had a great stint of genuinely hot weather this year, but the tricky trans-seasonality of September begs us to be a little more shrewd with our outfit choices. The key to dealing with our unpredictable weather? Throw on some layers.

If you’ve strayed far from layering thus far for fear that you’ll end up adding too much bulk, then listen up. When done properly, layering can actually flatter your silhouette by accentuating your natural shape; it’s all about which textures you mix together and how you style your look. For example, it makes sense not to layer chunky knits on top of one another; you’d throw something heavier over lighter fabrics instead – or you can layer lightweight knits together and create a defined silhouette by belting at the waist.

Still confused? Don’t worry; we’ve created a guide to layering, just in time for autumn.

Start with a Shirt

When it comes to base layers, shirts should be your seasonal go-to. They may be the year-round staples that workwear wardrobes everywhere are built on, but they come into their own at this time of year. Make a classic white shirt work for the cooler months by layering it underneath a lightweight jumper; top things off with a pair of tailored trousers and a car coat to smarten up during the week. You can mix things up by wearing  shirts underneath simple sleeveless dresses too; keep your dresses formal for the office, then swap out for a playful skater dress come weekend.

And that’s not all; shirts are equally suited to off-duty dressing too. Choose a casual denim or plaid shirt that you can tie around your waist on those days when the weather can’t make its mind up; wear it unbuttoned over a simple vest top when the breeze picks up.

Get a Roll-Neck Top

If you buy one thing this season, make it a roll-neck top. They’re cosy, comfy and oh-so-chic; they’re the autumn/winter staple that you just can’t do without. Go for a slim-fitting fine knit or jersey roll-neck to minimise bulk around the middle; you can even go sleeveless if it’s still a little warm outside. And since they pretty much go with anything, there are plenty of styling options for your top layer; pinafore dresses, dungarees or simple crew-neck jumpers are all key items for pairing with roll-necks.

Go Sleeveless

When it’s not quite cool enough to be wearing your winter coat, a sleeveless gilet or duster jacket is the ideal alternative. Play with texture by throwing a faux fur gilet on before heading out; create definition by adding a belt at the waist. Short-haired fur gilets tend to have a luxe appeal, whilst shaggier faux fur gilets have a bohemian aesthetic that always works well at this time of year. Offset the piece with a floppy hat, suede boots and a printed midi dress for a folksy finish, or keep it simple by pairing with your skinnies and a basic knit.

Invest in Knitwear

Lightweight, chunky, patterned, plain – every type of knit can come in handy for layering. Don’t be afraid to be playful with your jumpers and cardigans, and avoid stockpiling the same old styles; they won’t fare well when you’re looking to layer with panache (also, you risk looking a little uniform come winter). Invest in a good range of knitwear that you can work into your existing wardrobe, but don’t be afraid to go bold with colour; whilst it’s true that everyone needs a few black and grey jumpers, there’s nothing wrong with bringing home those brighter hues too. After all, what better way to deal with the darkening days than by donning sunshine-brights?

This summer, wearing your mantra loud and proud (i.e. emblazoned across your chest) was the only way to say it. And while slogan tees aren’t going to keep you cosy over autumn/winter, a slogan jumper will. What can we say? We’re just not ready to quieten down yet.

…and Style Smartly

That uniformity that we mentioned above can be avoided; it just takes some smart styling. Even the boldest knits can start to feel boring if you don’t switch up how it’s styled once in a while. Feeling preppy? Why not drape it over your shoulders à la Alexa Chung? Fancy flattering your figure? Just add a belt. With a bit of clever styling, you’ll keep even your most basic jumpers and cardigans looking fresh all season long.

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