From left: Rag & Bone Fall 2010 presentation, J.Crew's "Grey Gardens"-inspired Fall 2010 collection, and First Lady Michelle Obama stays warm in belted coat and boots. Photos: Rob Loud/Getty Images, courtesy of J.Crew, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Having already mastered the art of menswear for fall, it's time to consider the most stylish way to bundle for when temps go due south. Fortunately, you won't have to look much farther than your closet to wrap yourself in fashionable goodness.

"Designers are very conscious, especially now, as to what's happening in the retail industry," says celebrity stylist and fashion commentator Mary Alice Stephenson. "It's really about taking all those things that you have -- all those knits and sweaters -- and mixing them up."

Stephenson, who speaks to women nationwide about fashion, says she thinks the fall layering trend was a female-friendly response from designers across the world to today's economic worries.

"It's like they were saying, we know you have to wear your clothes a variety of different ways, we know these have to serve a purpose in your life for the weekend, when you're with your kids, when you're at work, when you're going out at night," she says. "So here's a way you can get the most out of something that you have in your closet. And if you look at it like that, it's like, 'wow, this is gonna breath new life into how I wear everything.' "

Abbey Samet, Macy's fashion director for ready-to-wear, says women are looking to add to and update their current wardrobes with layers, including sweaters and vests.

"The play on proportion is essential this season, crop over longer lengths and vice versa," she tells StyleList. "There is a new order when it comes to the length of everything. It looks very modern and fresh. For instance, a woven silk shirt underneath a boxy sweater."

It's also modern to break the old style rules, Stephenson says.

"Once a season, go in and play in your closet and try on some outfits in a different way," Stephenson advises. "There are no rules right now in fashion. You can be glamorous morning, noon and night. You can mix prints. You can wear sequins in the sun. The only rule is to try to look your best and to have fun and feel good about what you're wearing."

Stephenson points to Michelle Obama as a woman who embraces both layering and rule-breaking.

"She showed people that you can wear a man-style cardigan under a short fitted jacket with your pencil skirt," she says. "You can put a belt around it, you can put a big bow under it."

For more advice on layering, read on:



* Knit-y gritty: "Knits came back more so than ever before as a layering tool," Stephenson says. "Using cardigans and using sweater coats was this trend of rustic glamour. Knits are so much easier than a coat because once you go inside, you have to take a coat off. With knits...it serves the purpose to keep you warm when you're outside and make you look fabulous when you're inside."

* Avoiding bulk: "There are airy and spiderweb type knits out there that show texture," Samet says. "This is key. As far as silhouette, off-the-shoulder and draping provide femininity as well as an escape plan if it gets too hot. With all of these layers, an underpinning is necessary."

* Styles to try: "If you have a knit dress, you can wear it with your leggings, you can wear it over your favorite man-style pants and belt it and push it up, you can put another cardigan over the knit dress with a pair of tights or bare skin," Stephenson says.

* Soften it up: "There's nothing sexier than layering one of your light, airy summer dresses with a big boyfriend cardigan and belting it to make it more fall ready," Stephenson says. "That idea of masculine layering with femininity is a big trend. Another thing with layering is you're using your pieces in new ways, so if you're always used to wearing a dress in a certain way and never really thought of putting a cardigan over it or a crewneck over it, try it."

* Belt it: "When you're layering, sometimes it gets too bulky and it's great to show your waist," Stephenson says. "When you're working with knits, if you keep them light, they won't bulk up too much and when you belt them, whether it's a wide belt or a thin belt, it's a great accessory when you're layering."

* Trends: "The vest is a particularly versatile piece whether in faux fur, chunky or loopy knits, or even a more structured version," Samet says. "The other big trend is in textured knits like exaggerated stitch details such as cables, braiding and open stitches. A utility jacket or statement jacket would be another way to capture the layered look."

* Jewelry: "I think still statement jewelry, whether it's from Target or whether it's Yves Saint Laurent or Dior costume jewelry, there's costume jewelry at every avenue," Stephenson says. "Necklaces have been there for the last two years are still important and have the hit mass level retail outlets, so that's a really fun way to spice things up. Put a funky fun necklace over the top of your crewneck and it just adds a little glamour to your sweater."

* Color cues: "We think that tonal and neutrals are the way to go this season," Samat says. "There are a few key colors like the olive green, camel and oatmeals, as well as the tweeds which can also be a blend of neutrals. Keeping the layering pieces tonal is the most classic and relevant."

* Outerwear layers: "Sweater coats are basically oversized sweaters that you can wear belted as a dress or you can wear over another sweater or a shirt and jeans," Stephenson says. "They just kind of keep you cozy and warm but without being too heavy that you have to take off."

Looking for more style tips? Here's how to wear the menswear trend for fall. Looking for more style tips? Here's how to wear the menswear trend for fall.