This guide will help you to look your best this fall. Read on for tips and examples!
Fall is a time of change — students go back to school, the first frosts creep onto front lawns, and once verdant leaves transform into a stunning array of colors.
With these changes, we also have to adapt our wardrobes. There comes a point at which shorts are no longer practical, and you need to throw on a light jacket just to stave off the chill.
In many ways, dressing for fall is similar to dressing for spring. For one thing, both are transitional seasons with fluctuating temperatures ideal for layering.
In fact, I’ve included similar tips and even some of the same outfit examples in this article as I did in my spring style guide.
In the fall, I find myself incorporating some of the same key articles of clothing I wore in the spring, just in different combinations. This shows just how versatile your wardrobe can be with well-fitting basics in neutral colors.
That said, fall is a different animal.
While spring is all about anticipating warmer months with light colors and playful combinations, for me, fall leans towards more serious, buttoned-up looks.
I gravitate towards different colors, fragrances, accessories, and even grooming routines during the fall.
Let’s start by talking about the best colors to incorporate into your fall wardrobe.
Best Colors to Wear for Fall
“No white after Labor Day!”
“No brown in town!”
The sartorial world is full of such esoteric axioms.
The reality is, today, these prescriptive rules are largely outdated.
Unless you’re among the most traditional conservative circles, no one will bat an eye if you wear brown Oxfords in central London or downtown Manhatten.
The same goes for the no white after Labor Day “rule.” It’s pretty much no longer observed.
In fact, white (particularly off-white) can be a great color for fall, especially when paired with browns, greys, or blues.
While strict color rules are rarely helpful, general patterns and guiding principles can be useful.
For instance, I recommended olive and white as two key colors for spring.
In the fall, however, I’d lean more toward solid colors, like dark, navy blue, dark brown, burgundy, and shades of grey.
Just like in spring, opting for neutral colors is going to be your safest bet. Neutrals can be easily matched with each other.
I like to use slightly darker neutrals in the fall and winter months than I do in summer and spring.
For instance, I have a dark “forest green” waxed jacket I love to wear in the fall, while my lighter Harrington jacket seems a better fit for the spring.
I find I can wear both jackets in either season, but they each feel more natural to wear in the fall and spring, respectively.
You can, of course, still wear olive and white-themed outfits in autumn if you’d like. However, darker neutral colors will feel more natural in fall for most people, in most places.
Best Fall Fabrics
I love wearing clothes made from natural, cozy fabrics in the fall.
Wool, in particular, is a personal favorite.
I get a lot of mileage from my wool sports coat and flannel trousers during the cooler weather months.
I also really like corduroy and waxed cotton. While I was initially apprehensive to try these two less popular rugged texture fabrics, I was a quick convert.
Corduroy has raised “cords” or “wales,” creating an interesting verticle weave. My corduroy pants are supremely comfortable and quite warm.
Waxed cotton is what it sounds like — a cotton, usually canvas-type fabric with a wax layer to keep out the elements. I have two Flint and Tinder waxed jackets from Huckberry that I wear all the time. I appreciate that they are extremely water-resistant and block the wind.
Read more about cold-weather fabrics here.
How to Layer for Fall
Perhaps the primary reason why fall is stereotypically the favorite season of style enthusiasts is that it’s the perfect time to layer your favorite pieces.
Wearing multiple layers is a great way to display your sartorial prowess.
As a general guideline, keep to four layers max. Also, each layer should be capable of wearing on its own.
Looking for more tips and examples of layering your fall wardrobe? Check out this article entirely dedicated to layering in fall and winter.
Men’s Fall Coats & Outerwear
While some guys cling to their shorts and tees until the first snowfall (or later), I’m excited when it’s time to pull out my coats.
Not only do I love cold weather, I enjoy wearing a nice, cozy coat.
A coat adds warmth, has pockets for storage, looks cool when layered, and can double as a pillow in a pinch.
Coats are cool. You can’t convince me otherwise.
While you only need a couple of coats in your closet, here are some great outerwear choices for fall:
Speaking of coats, my absolute favorite style of coat is a wool overcoat.
They look sharp with a suit, but most versions can also easily be dressed down for smart casual and even ultra-casual scenarios.
The overcoat I’m wearing in this photo is great for fall, as it’s light enough to wear on 45-degree nights.
However, with a double-breasted front, it can’t be worn casually as easily as it could be single-breasted.
Take a look sometime at my article about 20 ways to wear an overcoat for more details.
While you’re liable to see snow by the tail end of fall where I come from, up until then, you’ll want to have a rainjacket or umbrella handy.
You have some options when it comes to rain jackets.
Mac coats are a classic rainjacket style. They’re great, worn over a suit or with denim jeans and
An olive Harrington has been my go-to wet-weather jacket for over 5 years now. I like that it has a functional collar, a water-resistant nylon shell, and a classic silhouette.
However, it’s not perfect. Being a short jacket, it doesn’t cover my legs and can’t be worn with a tailored jacket.
A waxed cotton light jacket is a more recent addition. (As I mentioned before, I actually have two). My waxed jackets are also waist-length and have collars I can turn up to keep my neck dry.
I don’t often travel with them, though, as I don’t want to risk having the wax melt or otherwise get on other articles of clothing in my bag.
Another choice is your classic hiking waterproof shell. This kind of technical is what you’ll see most often these days.
They’re very practical but don’t look very good unless you’re hiking. I’d avoid hiking jackets for casual wear.
Another awesome jacket for men’s fall fashion is the bomber. The bomber jacket is downright cool, made popular by the likes of silver screen icons James Dean and Steve McQueen.
A bomber is similar to a Harrington jacket, except it has a standing collar, zippered sleeve pocket, and side pockets without buttons.
Without buttoned flap pockets and a buttoned-closure collar, I wouldn’t recommend choosing a bomber as a rain jacket.
For fall, why not try one in a rich red color? Or for the more trend-aware, go for a sporty varsity jacket style.
James Dean would approve.
While a red bomber will definitely stand out, a sleek, understated alternative is a black suede bomber.
I have a one from All Saints that I bought second-hand.
A black or brown jacket in leather is another fantastic option. They give you a masculine edge but still can look refined.
I like the café racer style the best.
Quality leather jackets can be difficult to find. Here’s a guide specifically crafted to help shorter guys find a leather jacket that fits well. (It has helpful info for men of all sizes too)!
It’s become a popular meme that “style guys” are eager to pull out their vest collection at the first sign of fall foliage. And for good reason.
Vests are an excellent choice for temperamental fall weather. They add warmth to your midsection without encumbering your arms with extra fabric.
They also make for particularly good mid-layers. (Click here to check out how to layer lightweight vests).
Men’s Fall Sweaters & Shirts
From outerwear, we move to what’s underneath: shirts and sweaters.
In the fall, you can wear shirts of all makes and weights — from hefty waffle-knit henleys to lightweight tees and everything in between.At the beginning of the season, you’ll probably still be wearing short sleeves sometimes. That means crew neck t-shirts, polos, and casual button-ups.
As it gets colder, you’ll likely want to put your lightweight linen shirts into storage and break out your cold-weather tops. Think henleys, flannel button-ups, and long-sleeve tees.Similar deal with sweaters — in fall, depending on the day, you can wear sweaters of all weights and styles.
Instead of belaboring the point in this article, if you’re interested, explore this piece. I wrote about 8 types of sweaters and how to wear them.
Men’s Fall Pants
Although you’ve put your shorts into hibernation, in autumn, you can pretty much get away with any style of pants you’d like.
Wearing them, they feel like pajamas but look like dress pants. In my opinion, every guy who lives in a place with cold weather needs a pair.
Men’s Fall Shoes & Boots
Don’t let the crisp morning air freeze your feet! Swap out your summer sandals for a sturdy pair of boots.You might consider suede chukkas, work boots, Chelsea boots, or combat boots. Here are even more boot styles that might suit you.
Whatever socks you choose, pick the right socks for the job.
Men’s Fall Accessories
No matter the time of year, consider incorporating accessories into your outfit.
Fall is no exception.
This season is a good time of year to try rocking a new hat or experiment with wearing a scarf for the first time.
I never used to be a hat person.
Then I moved to Russia.
In Russia, everyone’s a hat person.
Because it’s so darn cold that you’ll freeze your ears off without a hat.
Now that I’m back in the US, I don’t wear a hat as frequently. However, I will occasionally don one on my way out the door.
I like my wool beanie. The rolled edge folds down to cover my ears and has a hidden ear flap underneath the headband.
Another favorite is my fisherman’s cap. I wear this unusual hat as an alternative to a baseball bap when I’m smartly dressed, and it’s raining outside.
I find it pairs well with my dark green waxed jacket and corduroy pants. I wear it more frequently when I’m outside the US (it doesn’t stand out so much in Europe, for instance).
Want more fall hat ideas? This article probably has what you’re looking for.
And, if you’re not sure how to choose a hat, this post is for you.
A warm wool hat is only practical during cooler months. Sunglasses, on the other hand, can easily be worn year-round. Consider them a helpful addition to your men’s fall style.
Not only do they help you look stylish, but they also help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays (be sure to get UV-blocking lenses!).
Scarves are no longer commonly seen as winter accessories for men in America.
“Why?” you ask.
I have no idea.
Perhaps it’s because scarves have come to be seen as a feminine (and, by extension, “frivolous”?) accessory.
Tell that to my rugged European friends!
Scarves are super comfortable and really help to keep you warm when the mercury heads south.
I find they are especially helpful at covering up my shirt front when wearing an overcoat. This helps keep my chest warm and keeps snow off my shirt.
A reliable umbrella is one accessory you won’t miss until you need it.
Even with a good raincoat, you’ll still want one.
Unless you like going on long walks in the rain with Mrs., a compact travel-sized umbrella should be sufficient.
It might be a good idea to have two — one to keep at home and one to stash in your car.
Other Fall Accessories
Those are just a few types of accessories ideal for men’s fall style.
Men’s fall style doesn’t stop at clothes and accessories. Scent is part of the package too.
It just doesn’t feel right to sip hot cocoa, eat pumpkin cookies, and get a whiff of light, citrusy, “blue bottle” fragrance.
CK Shock is a spicy scent that lasts for hours. I’m no frag head, so I can’t say much as to the different notes and other nuances, but this cologne smells great!
Tobacco Vanille is my all-time favorite fragrance. This gourmand scent starts strong and, well, stays strong. While its base notes can last 24 hours (or more on clothing), this is a complex cologne. From what I’ve read, you either love or hate it. One spritz to the chest, and that’s all you need.
Since this cologne is super long-lasting, I’ve gotten away with just a small sample vial. It’s lasted a long time, which is a good thing since TF Tobacco Vanille is very expensive.
Tobacco Vanille supposedly inspires Stirling Soap Company’s Haverford solid cologne. However, I have a hard time discerning the similarities. I can tell that both have vanilla and spicy, fruity elements. The thing I like about Haverford is that, unlike TF Tobacco Vanille, it’s subtle.
Applying it to my inner wrist or chest doesn’t project very far from my body. I like that. I don’t want a scent that gets compliments. Most often, I want an almost imperceptible fragrance.
For more ideas, see our list of the 10 best fall colognes.
40 Fall Outfit Examples
To help you realize just how many options you have in the fall, I’ve included 40 different fall looks below. I’ve arranged them roughly from the most casual to more formal outfits:
Here are answers to some common questions about men’s fall style:
What Should Guys Wear in the Fall?
I don’t think seasonal style “rules” are very useful. Instead, try dressing for your body type and the weather.
In the fall, I like to wear dark jeans, mid-weight jackets, boots, and flannel shirts.
Can You Wear Winter Clothes in the Fall?
Of course, you can wear winter clothes in the fall (provided it’s cold outside)! Fall style is whatever works for your lifestyle and region.
What Is the Best Color To Wear in Fall?
Dark brown is a color that many people associate with fall. As a neutral color, dark brown easily matches other colors.
What Colors Should You Not Wear in the Fall?
You can wear whatever colors you’d like in the fall.
Can You Wear Light Colors in the Fall?
While most people probably opt for darker colors in the fall, wearing lighter colors is perfectly acceptable.
Fall: The Ideal Sartorial Season
There are so many options for choosing clothes to wear during the fall. It is the best time of year for menswear.
What’s your go-to fall favorite? A rugged field jacket? Maybe a pair of moc toe work boots? Let me know how you fill out your fall wardrobe in the comment section below!