By Angela Harrison

Happy fall, y’all! For Michiganders, I think it’s safe to say this is one of our favorite seasons. Though fall temps and colors don’t last long, we seem to find a way to milk it for all it’s got, and that includes the fashion. October tends to be a tricky month for dressing — we experience a whole range of weather, which can make it hard to know what to wear. Mornings can start out chilly and then reach 75 degrees, making that coat you brought for running around town seem like a cruel joke. So, what’s the perfect layering piece that packs our fave fall-style punch, but doesn’t roast us like a cute butternut squash? Let’s dive into our lightweight options and see all the possibilities!

Denim Jackets

These babies are really a year-rounder. Jean jackets can get you through cooler summer evenings, soaked spring afternoons, winter work meetings, and — best of all — fall. With so many ways to wear your denim jacket, you really can’t go wrong here. Today’s styles are always coming up with a fun twist on the classic, adding a little interest to your look and giving room to dress it up. Styles like Lucky Brand ‘Smart Distressed’ denim jackets are great alternatives to the traditional style. A collarless neckline, raw edge hem and sleeves, and distressed details give this jacket a sophisticated silhouette with a dash of edginess. A classic jean jacket is always in style, like the 7 For All Mankind ‘Slim Classic,’ making for the perfect finishing touch to any fall look. If you’re wearing jeans already, I always have a rule of making your bottoms darker than your jacket, for a little contrast; but other than that, denim on denim is a go. Pair with your fave tee, blouse, button-down shirt, sweater, or layer over a sundress for warmer days. Play with color, like the Topshop ‘Boxy Denim Jacket’ in green, or their ‘Cotton Corduroy Jacket’ in mustard. 

Knits and Vests

Knit blazers, jackets, and sweater coats are a great alternative to true outwear. These are pieces that can be worn as part of your look, while still being functional during cooler temps. Find a classic jacket or coat style you love, and try it in knit or lightweight fabric. A great option for day to night is the ‘Organic Cotton Tweed Moto Jacket’ by Eileen Fisher. The clean lines of this moto-style design give a polished look, while maintaining a casual, everyday wearable look with the juxtaposition of cotton fabric. A fab look with a white tee, denim, and sneakers, and a great jacket with a dressed-up dinner outfit — it really has a place anywhere.  Another versatile knit jacket is the ‘Clairene New Divide Wool & Cashmere Coat’ by Theory. A simplistic approach to outwear, this jacket is a wool and cashmere blend, making it extremely light and extremely cozy. It has no lining and is wearable like a cardigan in the office or over your complete look; this piece is great for throwing on and going.

Vests are always the unsung hero of outwear. Never worn nearly enough, vests offer strategic protection from the elements, and in the places we want and need. With vests, you rarely get overheated, and styles like long dusters can really step an outfit up to the next level. For casual options, styles like Calson’s utility vest are perfect for a light layer with your denim. For brisker temps, quilted vests like the Gallery ‘Quilted & Knit Vest’ give more insulation with its puffer vest design but allow for movement with the knit side panels. And to dress up your turtlenecks or tunics and leggings, try the ribbed duster style by Halogen, in camel or charcoal gray.

Lightweight Jackets

While the leaves are turning orange, red, yellow, and brown, that doesn’t mean our clothes have to do the same. Bright colors look gorgeous this time of year; because our surroundings start to create a warm color palette, wearing colors like bright pastels can really make a look pop. A fab example of brights for fall is this great ‘Check Double Breasted Jacket’ by Topshop. Unique blazers like this style are easy ways to wear fun outwear and still feel stylish at work or out on the down. Other trends that we can turn into lightweight options are the ever-popular bomber jacket, like this style by Calson in ‘Yellow Tea’. A sporty flare, toned down by the casual quality of the knit fabric, yet still bright and fun.    

Capes and Wraps

When a jacket won’t quite do, or a vest isn’t the answer, we pull in the glamourous aid of a cape or wrap. A personal favorite, capes and oversized scarves are extremely versatile and can make you look like a born and raised Parisian in 30 seconds; c’est magnifique! Really, even if you have the most basic, boring outfit on, a cape can take you from “look at that lady…” to “look at that lady!” There are so many options out there for capes. There are styles that have more design and structure to them than a scarf or wrap would have, like zippers, buttons, arm holes, etc. Capes are great for fall with denim, black pants, and fitted skirts or dresses.  A cozy option is the timeless Treasure & Bond ‘Blanket Plaid Cape’ with its simple design of a front zipper and side snaps to create armholes. This style cape is definitely outwear; it blends together the lightweight feel of a vest and the elegance of a proper coat.

Scarves are definitely a fall-fashion must and can be worn thousands of ways. For warmer days, wear them around your neck, open at your sides; for cooler days, try draping the scarf around yourself and throwing one end over your shoulder for a drape effect. Pack ‘em in your work bag, keep one in your car — having an oversized scarf on hand is always an easy way to be prepared for tricky fall weather. One versatile, lightweight style by Treasure & Bond is their ‘Floral Wrap’ in blue geo medley and navy field. Note the folk-themed patchwork and small floral bouquet print trends we saw on the Fall/Winter ’18 runway in September’s issue!  There’s no wrong way when it comes to scarves, so grab something that speaks to you and try wearing it as a layering piece rather than its standard scarf use.

Fall fashion is all about cozy, comfy layers, and that’s just what these lightweight options offer. You can still layer your looks and stay cool on warm days; you don’t have to compromise on style. These simple swaps and tricks will keep you in the fall spirit we all love, and enjoy every minute of this golden season!

*All photos belong to

Angie Harrison
Angie HarrisonAuthor

Angie Harrison received her BS degree in fashion merchandising from Western Michigan University. After merchandising for a large retailer, she went on to start Angela Harrison Style: a personal, print, and film wardrobe styling service. Her experience has led her to build a diverse client list of people from various professions and backgrounds. Angie has also styled wardrobes on local and national TV commercials and has started a visual merchandising branch of AH-Style, providing styling and merchandising expertise to Michigan retailers.