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What To Wear in Cooler Fall Weather

Dressing for the elements in winter is easy: No matter how rushed you are, you know you need to grab your top coat on the way out.

But in the crisp autumn months before an overcoat is necessary, things get a bit trickier. You check the weather report, even step outside, then go back in and wonder if a sport coat will be enough to keep you warm, and if an under shirt might help.

A vest or sweater is a much better option, and are the layering items that snappy dressers look forward to each fall, after a long summer of one-layer sartorial simplicity.

But there are general guidelines that clothes-wearing men follow when it comes to adding layers, and they basically come down to keeping the level of formality consistent.

Let's assume you're wearing a shirt and tie. Here's what works and what doesn't, based on whether you're wearing a suit or a sport coat and slacks.

Because a suit is more formal, it requires a more formal layer underneath. A patterned vest is a natty option, but its fabric should harmonize with the suit. A tweed vest would pair better with a flannel suit and button cuff shirt than it would with a sober charcoal worsted and spread collar shirt with French cuffs. Keep your country and city clothes separate, gentlemen.

To add a knit, a cardigan vest is another good option with a suit because it mimics a traditional suit vest. A sleeved cardigan, though, is a bit too cozy-looking to pair with a business suit, and is better with a sport coat.

Ditto for v-neck sweaters (vest or with sleeves). Most guys wouldn't wear a crewneck over a shirt and tie, but this is actually an old-school preppy approach.

As for turtlenecks, they look great under a sport coat, and daring dressers can even pull them off with a suit.
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