What to Wear Over a Dress? Here Are Some Ideas for Stylish Layering

What to Wear Over a Dress? Here Are Some Ideas for Stylish Layering

Very few people think about what to wear over a dress when buying one. Hence, after having worn it a couple of times, you may get bored of the dress and discard it to a humble corner in your wardrobe without even realizing that you’ve stopped wearing it! Fortunately, the best part about layering is that you can use the same outfit and create a variety of looks to suit different moods, occasions, and seasons. Got a lovely floral dress that you’d love to wear at other times of the year than just summer? Layering the dress correctly can help you do that! However, there are proper ways to layer a dress without which you may be on the verge of committing a fashion faux pas!

What to Wear Over a Dress? 



A sleeveless dress is perhaps the most versatile kind of dress to layer! This is because the only defining feature of the dress gets covered with whatever you layer it with. Hence, the dress itself takes a back seat, and much of it gets determined by what you’re wearing over the sleeveless dress. Here are some pieces you can consider:


A Denim Jacket:


If the dress you’re thinking about is a tank dress, sundress, or floral spaghetti-strap dress, then a regular-sized denim jacket would be perfect to wear over it. The more casual you want the look to be, the lighter should the wash of the denim jacket be, as that would capture the laid-back and relaxed vibe you’re aiming for. But for a cleaner look that doesn’t look inappropriate, you can go for a dark-washed denim jacket. 


A Knitted Shrug:


You can prolong the life of your favorite summer casual dresses while also introducing fall elements by layering them with a knitted shrug. Think of the kind of beige knitted shrug you see in almost all fall Pinterest mood boards, or is always lying around over your couch or in your wardrobe, waiting to be paired. Well, a sleeveless dress would be perfect to go with it. And, it doesn’t have to be beige — gray, taupe, rust, mustard, olive, or any other neutral colors work splendidly in this look. 

If your sleeveless dress is a maxi dress — be it floral, knitted, sheath, etc. — then, wearing a plain leather jacket over it would look really bold, edgy, and suave! (More about layering maxi dresses below).


An Oversized T-shirt/Sweatshirt:


Layering an oversized T-shirt would look particularly great if your sleeveless dress has an A-line pleated skirt or a longline hem with a side slit. This would give your ensemble a chic, two-piece look, and you’ll be able to repeat the same dress in different ways, without getting tired of it. Wearing a sweatshirt over the dress would be a better choice for fall and winter.


What to Wear Over a Mini Dress?


A Leather Jacket 



When deciding what to wear over shorter dresses, the key is to play with lengths. You can either layer it with something structured and cropped, or you can layer something longer than the dress. The following are a few recommendations.


Cropped Denim/Corduroy Jacket Or Blazer: 


For casual, street-style fashion, consider pairing a rib-knitted mini dress or a T-shirt dress with a cropped denim jacket. You can create a similar vibe by wearing a corduroy jacket over your mini dress during fall/winter. And, for a smart casual or business casual look, you can layer with a cropped tweed blazer, which is preferably the same color as the dress. One condition you need to keep in mind when layering anything cropped over a mini dress is that the dress should be structured, fitted, and comprised of a thick fabric. 


Long-line Shrug: 


A long shrug thrown over a mini dress would not only allow the dress to be the focal point of the ensemble but would add an attractive dimension to the look. Not only is this a really versatile way of styling, but it also makes one look taller. And if your legs are your best feature, then you’re in luck with this LOTD! Besides, anything paired with a cardigan is super chic and comfortable and gives off a relaxed vibe. 


Trench Coat:


A trench coat would also look really incredible with a mini dress, and layering in this fashion would give you a very high-end and sophisticated look. This is a great opportunity to play with neutral colors — in fact, neutral colors look better in this look than bright colors because most of this ensemble is dominated by the trench coat. You can go a step ahead and play with textures — matte or glossy — and top off with a classy pair of boots. 


Tip: Consider wearing tights under the mini dress if you’re layering it with something longline. This makes the outfit look balanced and weather-appropriate. 


What to Wear Over a Midi Dress/Knee-length Dress?



In contrast to mini dresses, when layering a midi dress, you can look for a piece that has the same hem length as your dress. This is because midi dresses are already quite proportioned and balanced. Hence, emphasizing that feature would be the key to styling it! 


When it comes to knee-length dresses, adding a layer that’s just a few inches longer than the dress would look great, too. Regardless of these, a regular-sized jacket/pullover is still a great idea for both these types of dresses. 



Oversized Hoodie:


If your midi/knee-length dress is somewhat casual, then it would look good with an oversized hoodie, regardless of its silhouette, design, or print. 


Turtleneck Pullover:


Similar to layering a T-shirt/sweatshirt over a dress that we mentioned above, a turtleneck pullover would look absolutely chic and adorable with a medium-length dress. To do this, ensure that there is at least one color that’s tying the look together. For example, the color of your turtleneck could match with the color of the floral print on your dress. This would make the ensemble look more coordinated and easy on the eyes. 


Corduroy/Leather Jacket:


This one is really simple. You can layer a regular-length and regular-fitted corduroy or leather jacket over a midi/knee-length dress, for safe, risk-free, and effortless styling. 


What to Wear Over a Maxi Dress?



The following are a few options to look into:


A Cashmere Cardigan:

A regular-length cashmere without much frill or fuss is perhaps the best thing you could layer over a maxi dress. This is because a cardigan like this would not overpower the look of the maxi dress but simply support it and offer comfort to the wearer. Also, this is the kind of layer you go for when your dress is a bit revealing, so you can walk the streets with the cardigan on and take it off once you step indoors. 


Structured Blazer: 


A classy blazer like this adds a neat, sophisticated charm to a maxi dress, a LOTD you’d want to flaunt at a rustic coffee shop in Paris.  To make this look more edgy and suave, throw in a belt over the blazer and balance out the proportions of the look. This style gives a two-piece aesthetic to your maxi dress and is a great styling tip for tall women. But, if your aim is to elongate your frame, chuck the belt and allow the long dress to be the focus of the look.


Things to Avoid: Refrain from wearing anything cropped with a maxi dress as that looks quite unbalanced and top-heavy. 


What to Wear Over a Sweater Dress?



When it comes to winter dresses, trench coats, and furry teddy coats are the obvious choices to add a layer of warmth to your ensemble.  


Sleeveless Trench:


Sleeveless trenches are quite in vogue this year because of how chic and edgy they look. Not to mention, they are versatile to style as well. And sweater dresses are perhaps the best thing to pair these coats with. If your sweater dress has long sleeves and a turtle neck, then a sleeveless trench can cut through the look and create a striking balance. For a more proportioned and structured look, you can always belt the trench coat. Top this look off with a pair of classy booties and a leather bag. 


A Teddy Coat:



When winter is at its peak, it’s great to opt for a warm, furry teddy coat — you know, the kind of cushy oversized winter coat that has soft collars and minimal detailing. A coat like this looks very stylish and debonair even without much embellishment — so, you don’t have to go all Cruella over any Dalmatians to spruce the look! If you’re layering this over a mini sweater dress, then make sure to wear furry pantyhose and knee-high boots to keep your legs warm.


What to Wear Over a Cocktail Dress?



Now, layering a fancy dress for a cocktail party can get quite tricky as everything from the sleeves to the hem is meant to be seen. No jacket or coat should be taking away the spotlight from the dress itself, whereas plainer options such as a cardigan would look too dull and boring. The following are some suitable options to go for. 




The most sophisticated drapery to go with a cocktail dress would be a minimalistic silk or brocade shawl. A shawl like this will look perfect if your cocktail dress has spaghetti straps, cap sleeves, or a halterneck. With long sleeves too, a shawl can be a great way to layer. However, avoid wearing a shawl with off-shoulder dresses as that wouldn’t look very proportionate.




You’re in luck if you can get your hands on a kimono-style or poncho-style wrap shrug or cape that is neutrally colored and has a minimalistic design. This would look beautiful over an embellished cocktail dress. 


Embellished Plaid/Satin Blazer:


However, if your cocktail dress is minimalistic, like a slip dress, then a shiny satin blazer would look the best with it for a sleek look. In colder months, you can also go for an embellished plaid blazer if you’re willing to take the top half of your LOTD take the spotlight. 


What to Wear Over a Work Dress?



Turtleneck Sweater:


A turtleneck sweater over a structured formal dress looks really balanced, not just proportion-wise but also vibe-wise. It makes you look approachable yet very professional. Besides, the scope of accessorizing and styling this look is endless!


V-neck Sweater:


A bit edgier than the turtleneck, a V-neck knit sweater would free up the neck area and allow the collar and embellishments to shine. This pairing can flatter all body types and is not likely to go out of style any soon. 


Classic Blazer:


Nothing shouts “I mean business” more than a classic formal blazer thrown over a sheath dress, especially if they’re both black! 


Some of us often hesitate to wear a dress for a lot of occasions, thinking that it wouldn’t be a very comfortable choice. That’s exactly why one should learn and keep their options open about what to wear over a dress, thereby adding that extra layer of comfort and also sprucing up the vestment. When layering, remember to keep your outfit choice comfortable and appropriate for the weather — meaning, if you’re not comfortable wearing a mini dress out in winter then you don’t have to! After all, comfortable and functional options are plenty when you layer a dress. Lastly, go for a look that makes you feel confident and attractive, just the way you desire!

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