I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico where it’s been 90-plus degrees for the last four months. Needless to say, I’m ready for fall weather. I’m tired of getting roasted by the sun like an ant under a magnifying glass and excited to feel cozy in tops that have sleeves, maybe a hood, and even a zipper. I’ve tested a lot of fall layers over the years, so here are some of my new favorites as well some trusted go-tos.
Flint and Tinder Bedford Camp Shirt ($168)
Heavier than a long-sleeve shirt, but not as warm as a midlayer, the Bedford is perfect for October weather when temps cool but don’t get cold. Made from Bedford Cloth cotton, the Camp Shirt is durable enough to be workwear (for everything from weekend chores, yard work, woodworking, to tree cutting, etc.) and develops a unique patina based on your particular use. It’s also cut nicely enough to wear to the office and looks great over a plain t-shirt.
Cotopaxi Libre Midweight Sweater ($140)
I call this the sweater of many uses. I’ve worn mine to work at least once a week for years because I love the styling and because it’s thin enough to wear indoors. Thanks to the Bolivian llama wool build, the Libre is also great for backcountry skiing because it retains heat, even when damp with sweat. I throw it over a baselayer on the climb up, and it provides just enough warmth without causing me to overheat. When it's time for the descent, I throw a shell on top of the Libre for wind protection.
Patagonia Long-Sleeved Early Rise Snap Shirt ($129)
Made from 100-percent recycled polyester microfleece, the Early Rise is like a classic Patagonia Snap-T but in button-down shirt form. You can wear it closed on colder mornings and open on warmer days. It also layers well under a rain jacket when it pours (it's more svelte than a regular fleece and doesn't bunch up under your shell.) Two breast pockets are meant for fly boxes but double as stashes for your wallet, passport, and keys.
Wellen Hemp Chambray Work Shirt ($88)
This is the lightest layer on my list, so I’m looking at you, Southern California, Florida, and all the other places where you need a little coverage in the fall, but not much. Made from a durable blend of hemp and organic cotton, the Work Shirt feels broken in on first wear. It's also thicker than a regular button down so you can abuse it and not worry about it shredding to pieces.
Picture Organic Clothing’s Infuse Jacket ($180)
Picture is a French brand that goes the extra mile when it comes to environmental responsibility. The Infuse, for example, is made from recycled polyester, Polartec Powerstretch, and Primaloft Eco insulation, which uses post-consumer materials for the fill. It’s the warmest layer of the bunch, but also one of the most stylish with a quilted upper and arms, and a two-tone forest green colorway. Its calling card is versatility: you can use it as an outer layer for leaf peeping in late October and as a midlayer under a ski shell during the winter. In terms of durability, the quilted section gives it some extra strength because the nylon outer is more tear resistant than the Polartec sections.