How To Layer Like A San Franciscan

Living in the tumultuous micro-climates of San Francisco has made me pretty much an expert at layering. It’s a place where no matter what time of year, you always, let me repeat ALWAYS, need a light sweater. The Mission is hot when FiDi is cold and Ocean Beach is always an icebox.

When our world of perpetual fall finally creeps east, I revel in the fact that my fashion pains are now felt around the country. But I’m here to help! After layering year-round, I’ve amassed my best tips for fall that everyone can use to be warm and stay chic.

1. A Cool Leather Jacket


A chic leather jacket is an essential for every wardrobe and fit is everything. The wrong cut can turn your hourglass silhouette into a box – I’ve seen it happen. Always look at the shoulders to tell if it’s a good fit because you can get the rest tailored. I love this Toscana Collar Biker Jacket from Topshop.

2. Light sweaters


This is the most important piece of layering you can have. Light sweaters are perfect for warmer fall days and you can always add more layers on colder ones. I’m partial to button ups because you can play with different styles by only buttoning certain buttons. And if you’re going for cashmere (and you always should go for cashmere) try to avoid two-ply. 100% is much softer and worth the splurge.

3. Playful undershirts and/or tees


Playful undershirts and tees with a pair of jeans, ankle boots, and a light sweater IS the San Francisco look. If you’re pairing it with high waisted skirt, opt for a cropped top to really accentuate your waist. Sometimes if an undershirt is too long, it can bunch up in the wrong way and give you the opposite effect that you want. Save 15% on this cute floral tank when you buy it through Goodshop.

4. Warm tights


I pretty much live in tights and my biggest problem is never having enough! Stock up because holes come fast and furiously (Pro tip: put a dab of clear nail polish on the source of your run to stop it from snaking down your leg). Wool tights are perfect for fall, and they transition well into winter. Always have at least two pairs of basic black for a sleek look and at least one colorful funky pair to make any neutral outfit pop.

5. Ankle boots


Boots that hit right at your ankle will give you a longer, leaner leg. And ankles are sexy! I suggest having two pairs: a low-heeled leather pair in brown or black that go with any outfit and a flashy stiletto pair for going out. Anything from studs to suede, just have fun with it! These boots are so cute with the rose embellishment!

6. Infinity scarves


The ultimate cozy feeling comes when you’re snuggled into a wooly infinity scarf. Personally, I’m a fan of black because it goes with … everything, but color always depends on your personal aesthetic. Light grey or pink can turn your fall look more flirty, but olive green is the quintessence of autumnal vibes. Just be sure you really like how the material feels. An itchy fabric is the absolute worst thing to have around your neck all day. I suggest this peachy beige knit scarf from Modcloth, because it hits all the vibes.

7. Oversized knit sweater


This is for days when you just want to wear a blanket to work, but society is telling you to put on clothes. Oversize knit sweaters work just as well, trust me, I’ve tried both. And again be careful to get the right cut. The debate is whether it should hit mid-booty or below and I’m partial to below. If you have an hourglass shape, a sweater can make you look bigger if it hits mid-backside.

8. A GOOD pair of jeans.


If you’re going to splurge on something (besides the leather jacket and a 100% cashmere sweater), jeans are what you should splurge on. A quality pair of jeans will last you years and should always make your butt look great. Darker is often better and beware too many holes for colder months.

9. Tall flat boots


These are another staple for that autumnal transition. Tall boots should hit you just below the knee. I recommend black or brown because these are something you’re going to wear with everything. Jeans, tights, leggings: everything. Be careful with the size of the calfs because if they’re too tight, they won’t fit properly over your jeans and you’ll get those weird bunchy knees. You should be able to fit at least one or two fingers in between your calf and the boot.

One thought

  1. I’m sure, when you were referring to cashmere, that you meant NOT to get a blend of fabrics. The “ply” refers to the number of threads used & 4 ply is best – it will last longer & be warmer. Two ply is OK for warmer climates or if that’s all you can afford!


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