**Editors Note: Part I of this post was quite the hit. Follow up with Part II of Mount Layer from guest blogger, JT Hill.
Alpine: The Alpine plane is defined by deciding now or later with outerwear. If you decide to stave off outerwear and stick with sweaters keep in mind your cardigans and crew-necks aren’t limited to solids. A plethora of fair isled and striped styles are out there just begging to be paired with other layers. With stylish twists from buttons to elbow patches to cable knit patterns, there’s plenty keeping solid sweaters interesting as well. V-necks and half-zips also want some at-bats, but be forewarned these options up your chances of eliciting yawns and shrugs with your layered look. If you’re wanting to roll out some thicker layers in this zone, remember that Alpine is the natural habitat of vests. Waistcoats are always a solid selection, but the heady sartorialists are steering towards puffers this autumn. These cozy sleeveless wonders bring a refined ruggedness to your layers. Tweed blazers and strong-collared wool coats are other options that thrive in the Alpine as they can be subtle or make statements as needed.
Nival: You’ll need all the layers you can throw on if you trek up to the snow-draped peaks of the Nival. Keep in mind that this level is optional and that even with layers less can be more. However, those brave enough to venture to this altitude will be rewarded with some of the flyest new layering innovations. The length of layering being such an in-look has forced this trend to push its creativity. Thus cardigan on cardigan and jacket on jacket looks are not redundant faux-pas, but encouraged fair game. Denim is a usual suspect in these fresh takes whether it’s over a bow-tied, sweatered ensemble, caged under a strong vest or peeking out from beneath a Barbour jacket. Other outerwear options that are leading the pack this fall are barn jackets and 2/3rds hooded parkas. Even if you choose to not put on an additional coating of clothing here in the Nival zone, it’s still a prime time to inspect your tiered-look’s compliance with these layering guidelines: thinner layers first (lighter stratums get manhandled by thicker articles if planted above them), each article of clothing has to work by itself (a piece shouldn’t take away from the whole, but should also be able to hold its own if worn independently of other layers), and finally don’t suffer for fashion with layers (if it’s not comfortable or functional, you won’t look comfortable or functional yourself, i.e. if you can’t easily tie your shoe or catch a football, peel off a layer or reshuffle your mix).
Autumn is when the truly stylish gentlemen are revealed. In the fall, you can’t just cover up with an overcoat and call it good like the wintry months, and neither can you casually toss on a v-neck and shorts like you do in the sunny seasons. Fall requires not just wearing clothes, but dressing in outfits. Hopefully you now have a grip on the architecture of layering; everything from the palette of textures to the structural integrity of all those folds, fabrics, buttons and seams piled on each other. So dive in and climb up to reach the peak of autumnal style as you build yourself a stories-high getup.