5 Tips for Mastering How to Layer Your Clothes

Ah the art of layering. But really, I do consider it an art, and myself merely a student constantly experimenting and playing with new techniques to achieve the ultimate layered perfection. Too much? Haha, in all seriousness though, mastering how to layer your clothes takes time, and practice, at least for me. I constantly play around with different looks and there’s no better time to hone your skills than fall. It all starts with these 5 simple tips to keep in mind when you’re putting together an outfit. It was so hard for me to nail down one look for this post because once I started playing, ideas started flowing. I have so many things from Nordstrom that I am loving right now, this entire look included (everything linked on the right). I also have some Nordstrom notes to use which I plan on putting towards this to-die-for teddy coat. So here it is, my 5 tips to help you master how to layer your clothes.

Jess Ann Kirby wears the J.Crew Camel Wool Coat, AYR Jeans and Velvet Booties for a warm fall look
Jess Ann Kirby shows how to layer in a J.Crew Stadium Cloth Coat, AYR Skinny Jeans, Velvet Booties and Leather Crossbody

1. Color is Key

Layering is best achieved when you keep your look to one or two color families (even down to the accessories like this neutral crossbody). A print is ok, but keep it to one, in this case I started with a striped tee, but left everything else minimal and neutral. Pairing colors like blue and camel compliment each other nicely, other great color combos for fall: burgundy and green, navy and mustard, black and tan.

2. Focus on Fabrics

A nice mix of texture is essential for layering. Here I’ve chosen three different fabrics, denim, cotton and wool to create variety. I’ve also added velvet to the mix with my ankle booties, which works fine because they’re in the same color family and add a nice pop of color. Just be careful not to go too crazy, pick a few different fabric textures and weights and play around with them.

How to layer clothes by Jess Ann Kirby wearing a J.Crew Chambray Shirt and Cocoon Coat
Jess Ann Kirby's fall outfit in AYR Skinny Jeans, Sam Edelman Case Velvet Booties and J.Crew Coat

3. Play With Proportion

Proportion is everything when it comes to layering. The key with denim is just the right length. This pair is perfect because it hits right above the ankle on me and when paired with these ankle booties that hit right above the ankle creates a seamless look that elongates. Keeping the booties and the denim in the same color family also helps. Add subtle touches like I did here by rolling up the sleeve of the coat and cuffing the denim shirt over with a tiny bit of the stripe shirt poking out. It doesn’t have to be perfect. A little messy and undone looks effortless.

4. Stick to One Bulky Item

Any more than one big item and you’re venturing into unflattering territory. The key is to keep most of the layers on the lighter side and mix in one big piece, whether it’s a chunky sweater, a teddy coat or a big oversized scarf. It doesn’t have to be your top layer either. You can wear a chunky sweater under a slimmer vest or a lighter coat.


Jess Ann Kirby styles the J.Crew Stadium Cloth Coat with AYR Skinny Jeans and Velvet Booties for fall
Fall style from Jess Ann Kirby wearing the J.Crew Stadium Cocoon Coat, AYR skinny jeans and velvet booties

5. Have Fun With It

Mastering the art of layering takes time and practice. I play around with different layered looks all the time until I find something that works. There’s really no end to the number of combinations you can create and it’s a great way to get excited about your wardrobe again. And there’s no better way to stay warm this fall and winter!

Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.

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  1. Rachelle wrote:

    This outfit is perfection 🙂


    10.19.17 | Reply
  2. Natali wrote:

    Super cool and stylish combo, I totally love how you’ve layered it and you gave some great tips on how to do it as great as you did. 🙂


    10.19.17 | Reply
  3. Gemma wrote:

    There’s a definite technique to getting it right and it seems, with this gorgeous outfit, that you’ve nailed it!


    10.19.17 | Reply
  4. Briana wrote:

    This is a perfect post with amazing tips! Great idea, girl!


    10.19.17 | Reply
  5. Mary wrote:

    This outfit is so spot on! I would love that coat, and those boots are so pretty! They look like they have a bit more of a teal tone than on your Instagram.


    10.19.17 | Reply
  6. Rach wrote:

    This outfit is layering perfection! Definitely keep your tips in mind!


    10.20.17 | Reply
  7. julie wrote:

    Just wanted to let you know what a big fan I am of your work and site. Some of my favorite pieces currently in my closet, including as of today this beautiful J Crew coat, are pieces you’ve featured that I’ve fallen in love with. Thank you!

    11.4.17 | Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Thank you so much Julie! So thankful for the kind words xx

      11.4.17 | Reply