I know you may be feeling really cold right now and the last thing you’re thinking of wearing to step out is a dress but I’m here to tell and show you that you can carry your favorite dresses into the fall and winter seasons. The best and easiest ways to do so is by adding a sweater (and probably a pair of tights or leggings) to the mix.
Wearing sweaters over or under dresses has become quite the popular trend and this is a great way to create or keep a flirty and feminine wardrobe in the cold weather.
Whether you own cardigans, oversized sweaters, fitted sweaters or v-necks, this post is going to serve as a style guide you can use and save as reference the next time you’re wondering how to rock your summer dresses when it’s cold outside.
It’s all about layering without looking frumpy or adding too much bulk. Petite women especially want to be cautious with the sweater over dress look because adding too much fabric could really overwhelm their petite frame.
In this post, I would be showing the right way to layer your warm knits on top of your dresses to create chic yet warm looks. I’m hoping to provide you with different ways you can recreate some of these looks using pieces you may already own because hey, in this economy, we need our wardrobe to work for us.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no cost to you.
1) Add an oversized sweater
Adding a nice warm chunky sweater to your Spring or Summer dress makes it more Fall appropriate in a second. The longer the sweater, the longer your dress should be otherwise it would end up looking like you’re not wearing any bottoms. If you’re more petite, make sure your sweater is not too oversized or else it would end up swallowing your frame.
A trick to make your sweater less bulky is to use a hair tie to tie it at the back and then fold the bottom of the sweater up to the desired length you wish the sweater to be. This comes in handy when your dress is shorter than your favorite sweater you are bent on wearing with your summer dress. It also makes your outfit look more like a sweater + skirt versus a sweater + dress look.
Shop my favorite oversized sweaters HERE
2) Add a cropped sweater
To make your sweater over a dress look more feminine, choose a cropped sweater versus a full length one. This would accentuate your waist and make you look leaner, thus making this choice a great option for date night. You could easily throw on a pair of ankle boots or knee-high boots, if your dress is shorter, to complete your outfit.
Shop some great cropped sweaters HERE
A cropped sweater is also an easy way to wear a strapless or sleeveless dress in the fall or winter because if you match the colors up nicely, it could look like you’re wearing a long sleeved dress and not a sweater over a dress. Don’t forget to grab your fancy clutch before heading out the door!
Get the look HERE
3) Add a long cardigan
If you own a long cardigan with the top-to-bottom buttons (or not), consider pairing it with one of your dresses in a solid color. This would create a more preppy look that would also be office-appropriate, as long as the dress is knee-length or longer. This look works best with dresses that go past the knee because longline cardigans are not the shapeliest of sweaters and a mini dress could get lost in the cardigan.
Add an extra layer of warmth by throwing on a pair of leggings to your look. Combat boots such as Dr. Martens add some edge to this look while your bag of choice could be a crossbody or shoulder bag. You can check out my post on the 8 best handbag colors to go with everything if you’re unsure of which color of purse to hold.
4) Wear a v-neck sweater
On those cold days where you feel like looking a little dressier than your everyday sweater and jeans outfits, choose to add a v-neck on top of your dress. When going with a v-neck sweater, you need to be mindful of how high the top of your dress goes. You don’t want it to be higher then the V in your V-neck or else you may end up looking sloppy.
Here’s a tip: If your dress is indeed higher than the collar of your v-neck sweater and you don’t like the clashing going on at the top, add a dress shirt in a neutral color, such as white, to balance things out. You could wear the dress shirt underneath your dress and then add your sweater on top of it all. Just wear your cutest boots and you’ve got yourself a chic look bound to keep you warm.
Get your own v-neck sweater HERE
5) Throw on a sweater vest
Another preppy look you could totally wear both to the office and after hours is the sweater vest on top of a dress look. One of my favorite ways to rock this look is by opting for a mini dress and adding a waist belt on top of my sweater vest.
This look screams ‘grown school girl,’ An easy way to make this an even warmer outfit is by wearing either a full sweater or dress shirt underneath your dress, that way your arms are covered.
Image source: @lefevrediary
A sweater vest has a short sleeve and so you want to add another layer of warmth during the colder months. You can also swap the mini dress for a maxi dress or midi length dress to create a great sweater dress outfit however I would recommend sticking to dresses in neutral colors to avoid any color clashing.
Get the look HERE (plus size)
6) Wear a crew neck sweater
The best part about opting for a crew neck sweater is that you could wear it either under or ontop of your dress. If your crew neck is on the thinner side, I suggest wearing it under your dress and then adding some sort of outerwear such as trench coats if need be.
This option looks great with dresses that have a short sleeve. This will keep your outfit looking neater. If your sweater is thicker and heavier, you’re better off wearing it on top of your dress.
The best way to make your crew neck look less bulky is by using a hair tie to tie a knot in the front. If you don’t wish to tie a knot, you could also tie up the excess fabric using a hair tie and then fold the sweater inwards, hiding the knot altogether. Complete this cozy look with ankle or knee boots and you’re good to go.
I hope you’ve come to see how easy it can be to add summer and spring dresses to your winter wardrobes by adding some of your favorite cozy sweaters to the mix. These looks work for any body type, you just have to be mindful of bulking when you’re working with oversized sweaters. When all else fails, cinch your waist in with a skinny belt.
For a more casual look, go for a denim jacket over a trench coat in terms of outerwear with these looks. If you’re trying this sweater over dress trend on cold days, don’t forget to add a pair of leggings or tights underneath for extra warmth.
You may also want to check out my post on how to wear a sleeveless dress all year long for some more inspiration for how to take your dresses into the winter months.
I also have a post titled 8 ways to wear a sweater dress which would give you ideas on how to style yours.
Until the next post,