What To Wear Over a Dress: 9 Great Ideas

What To Wear Over a Dress: 9 Great Ideas


When planning your attire, you can never go wrong with a dress as the base. Dresses can range anywhere from casual to red-carpet-worthy and are one of my favorite articles of clothing. They’re also such an easy way to create an outfit: one item, and all you need to do is accessorize. 

What does accessorizing entail, though? Well, a lot, actually. When you add jewelry  to a look, you’re accessorizing. Your bags, belts, hats, and even shoes can be considered a part of this process. 

The same goes for what you wear over your clothing. Outer layers are a popular way to accessorize and are super functional as well. I’ve compiled some tips that I use when picking out the perfect items to wear over a dress.

Popular Dress Styles

Before I get into what all you can wear over a dress, let’s talk more about what dresses are trending right now. From  timeless styles to recent fads, there are countless dress fashions you can explore.

Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses are one of the most trendy types of dresses. While there are so many styles of this garment, the common factor is that they flow to your ankles. Maxi dresses can be elegant and formal, or they can be casual, like a tunic style dress you can wear to the beach or over swimwear.

At the moment, some of the hottest maxi dress features include dramatic sleeves, flowing chiffon, and cutouts for example the Mollie Dress by Concepción Miranda.

Slip Dress

Gaining popularity over the past few years is the slip dress. Slip dresses were originally made to be worn under clothing (kind of like lingerie) but gained popularity as outerwear in the 90s. These pieces have continued to trend since then.

This dress is made of a silky or smooth material and can be long or short. Slip dresses can be simple or contain details like lace or a cowl neck. I love to style a slip dress with a crop top for a 90s throwback or with a pair of chunky heels to make a statement. In On Post we have the Agnes Dress by Geraldine García or the Carlota Dress by Nabel Martins.

Wrap Dress

Wrap dresses are another prevalent style in the fashion world. These dresses function essentially exactly how they sound: a dress that wraps around your waist and is typically tied in place with a bow.

Wrap dresses also serve as fantastic pieces for beach days since they’re so easy to take on and off. However, they can also be incredibly elevated; I’m obsessed with wrap-style wedding gowns right now. like Abby Dress by Concepción Miranda.

Mini Dress

The mini dress is just as beloved as the maxi dress, especially for everyday wear. Mini dresses are incredibly versatile and can be worn in any season, depending on how you style your outfit. I always feel chic pairing a mini dress with tights, whether they are sheer or opaque, an example is The Soho Dress by Kadu.

How To Style a Dress in the Winter

What you wear over your dress is largely dictated by the season. That’s why I wanted to talk about what outerwear is best during the colder months of the year (and then focus on the warmer seasons a little further down).


I just can’t say it enough — layering sweaters over dresses is quite trendy and practical. With the rise in popularity of chunky hand-knits, I like to wear my sweaters out and about over a dress with tights and thick-soled boots. Who knows? I might even add leg warmers for a cute nod to the 1980s. 


Jackets have all the style of a sweater, but with the addition of easy-on and easy-off — plus pockets. An oversized denim jacket is always a cute and retro addition to a look and can be worn regardless of the weather. A chic moto jacket is also an excellent complement to a dress and makes for a great night-out outfit.


Another prevalent type of outerwear is the cardigan. Cardigans are so versatile. You can wear one to keep you warm or something more breathable when it’s warmer out.

They’re also a top-notch accessory when you need a joyful splash of color. If your dress is more of a neutral ton, you can use a cardigan to add a pop of color or an interesting and eye-catching texture.


Layer All Three

If you really want to amp up your style, you can layer multiple types of outerwear for a bohemian edge. Pairing a light cardigan or sweater under a thicker jacket is the perfect solution if it’s cold out, but you’re just headed to work. 

How To Style a Dress in the Summer

Just like with the cold, the heat is going to have an impact on your wardrobe. You aren’t going to want to wear a sweater over your dress on a sunny July day. So what can you wear over a dress when it’s hot out?

Light Cardigans

A light cardigan is not only going to be cute; it’s a functional piece of attire in the warmer seasons of the year. If I’m wearing a sundress out and about, I like to keep a light cardigan in my bag so that if I get chilly at my destination, I’ve already got the solution with me.

Button-Down Shirts

Button-down shirts are the ultimate article to wear over a dress when it’s warm out. They amp up your style without overheating your body. You can wear a button-down shirt over a dress unbuttoned or even tied at the waist.

With the spike in popularity of the coastal grandma aesthetic, button-down shirts are a wardrobe staple in the summer. Pair them over a breezy dress for a collected yet comfortable look and make waves.


Your bag is also a part of your outfit. During the warmer months, you can wear a bag with your dress not only as a functional way to carry around your things but as a part of your overall vibe.

I like to keep my closet up-to-date with  trending bags. That way, I can just throw one into the mix to add an appealing element to my dress.


Hats are one of my favorite summertime accessories. While I love to have some fun in the sun, I know how important it is to protect my face from too many rays. A hat provides added sun protection on top of daily sunscreen.

But designer hats aren't just great for keeping the sun off my face; they’re cute to boot. I love wearing a giant sun hat when I’m at the pool or visiting the beach. Suede hats are a fantastic way to add a Western element to your dress, maybe paired with a bolo tie.


Another perfect addition to any dress is the right jewelry. Jewelry can be worn year-round, regardless of weather, but it is an especially great way to accessorize when you can’t wear too many layers.

Coordinating all of your jewelry will amp up your dress and make for a flawless look. Wearing rings that pair well with your necklace and bracelets will tie in different parts of the body. It not only looks breath-taking, but it also shows that you put thought and effort into your selections.



Layered Up and Ready To Go

There are so many possibilities when it comes to styling a dress; one dress could equal 100 different outfits. What you wear over your dress is an essential part of that styling process. 

Every dress is the opportunity to dress for success. From the workplace to a coastal retreat, dresses are the go-item that keep us feeling chic all year long. 


40 Types of Dresses for Every Women Should Know | The TrendSpotter

How to Wear a Sweater Over a Dress: Try This Trick | Glamour

What Is the 'Coastal Grandmother' Trend? Stylists Break It Down | Today

Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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