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Fall Layering Done Right

Posted on: October 21, 2021 by Annina McMillan

After the incessant swarm of flies and the heat of summer, I welcome the cooler weather of fall. The crisp mornings and still warm afternoons are a welcome reprieve. However, with these temperature changes, I have trouble dressing appropriately! What I need for cool, crisp mornings is much too stifling for warm afternoons, and the simple attire that is suited for afternoon warmth leaves me shivering in the morning. Through lots of trial and error, I’ve found a few favorite clothing pieces perfect for fall layering. Below are my favorite things to layer and keep me comfortable during fall as the temps slowly get cooler.

1. Baselayers

Hadley SunShield Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip by SmartPak
Piper Winter Essentials Baselayer Mock Neck Long Sleeve Top by SmartPak

While the Hadley Sunshield Long Sleeve by itself is great for summer, I also find it to be a fantastic base layer in the fall. The sun shirts are super breathable, making sure that you don’t overheat with additional top layers. Layering warmer items over this top is my top tip to keep me warm without worry about getting sweaty. And once the warmer afternoon temps roll around, I can easily take off the top layer and still be cool. This is a great way to continue using these summer tops into the fall season.

For those later fall days that are too chilly for the Hadley SunShield Long Sleeve Shirt, the Piper Winter Essentials Baselayer is a great base layer. It comes as a quarter zip or a mock neck, and I find even the mock neck is still breathable. The fabric is thicker than a sun shirt, allowing more warmth for cooler later fall mornings while still being cool enough for those sunny, slightly warmer fall afternoons. This goes great with vests, softshells, jackets, etc. Whatever you need to layer on top to stay warm in the early mornings! The inside is brushed as well, making it a very soft first layer and comfortable.

2. Vests

Kerrits Full Motion Quilted Vest
SmartTherapy ThermoBalance Vest

One of my favorite things to layer over the Hadley SunShield Long Sleeve quarter zip is a vest. The Kerrits Full Motion Quilted Vest is a great fall clothing item. It’s a perfect layer for the early cool fall mornings when you just need a little bit more to stay warm. The stretch side panels and quilted design makes it comfortable and lightweight and when I pair it with the mesh layers in the Hadley SunShield Long Sleeve, this combo is often one I can wear all day and be comfortable.

For a warmer vest option, the SmartTherapy ThermoBalance Vest is quickly becoming one of my new favorites. The therapeutic insulated fabric is super cozy and the knit lining helps absorb and reflect the body's natural heat. It's designed to help improve performance and recovery and I always feel good knowing me and my horse can benefit from this technology. This is a great vest to treat yourself to if you’re looking for something nice!

3. Outerlayers

Ariat Team Softshell Jacket
Hadley Waterproof Winter Insulated Jacket by SmartPak
Personalized Fleece Lined Nylon Jacket

Personally, I find in the fall it’s the wind that gets to me more than anything else, which is why the Ariat Team Softshell Jacket is my fall go-to top layer! This is a great outer layer for those warmer but windier days. This fits well over all kinds of base layers depending on what is a better fit given the temperatures. Plus, the softshell stays so clean at the barn and doesn’t get stuck with hay and other odds and ends. This is a great jacket to wear during fall lessons as well since it still looks nice after completing barn chores!

For those cold, wet, fall mornings, a waterproof top layer is a must. I always feel extra chilled on those wet mornings, and I need some extra layers to keep warm. For a non-bulky but still insulated and dry option, the Hadley Waterproof Winter Insulated Jacket is perfect. In fall I find I can often wear just one layer and this on top, and I am set for the day. Since it’s waterproof, I am set for whatever weather comes my way, and it still looks great for lessons. Plus, there are underarm vents in case you get a touch too warm and the hood is removable if you prefer!

The Personalized Fleece-Lined Nylon Jacket is the perfect comfy-cozy jacket for fall but the best part is the added personalization! Your barn logo can be added to it, your horse's name, or there are plenty of other graphics to choose from! The breed logos for various organizations are some of my favorites, too. This jacket is windproof as well, perfect for those extra windy fall days. For days my softshell is not quite warm enough, this is my go-to grab-and-go jacket, as it is a flexible top layer. I find it runs a touch large, which I find is great for adding extra layers of clothes underneath, such as a sweater.

4. Accessories

Back on Track Gloves
Piper Knit Pom Pom Hat
Darn Tough Light Crew Socks

I don't always love wearing gloves, they can feel thick or bulky and sometimes it feels like having cold hands is better than having no grip on reins or brushes. The Back on Track Gloves are the perfect solution for that! These are super thin but provide just enough warmth that my fingers don't feel frozen when trying to do chores or get a ride in when the days are cooling down.

When cooler temps start, I love keeping a hat in my car or tack trunk as an available extra layer that's easy to take on and off. The Piper Knit Pom Pom Hat is super cute (and the pom is removeable if you prefer it without or for washing), it's soft and cozy, and as an added bonus it helps hide my helmet-hair on cooler days!

My fingers are the first to freeze, but when the temps start to drop the next to go are my feet. Summer socks are too light and make my toes cold, while thick winter stocks are too much, causing my feet to sweat. I find a medium thickness and moisture-wicking stock is need for the fall weather, and the Darn Tough Light Crew Socks are the perfect, goldilocks fall sock. It’s naturally antimicrobial and really designed for all-weather performance, perfect for whatever fall weather comes your way. Plus, there are no awkward seams, making sure your feet are always comfortable no matter what the fall weather brings! 

Do you have a favorite go-to fall clothing item? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!