How to Wear a Sweater Over a Dress

Posted by Shopthemint Team on

orange belted poncho

One of our favorite fashion combos is layering cute sweaters over dresses. If you’re looking for a way to continue wearing your spring and summer favorites well into the fall and winter, this is such a great way to do it! We’re here to help you create fun outfits that are both flattering and seasonally appropriate for chilly days.

From belting it to define your lovely waist to tempering a special occasion outfit with a chunky knit cardigan, here are some of our favorite tips for how to wear a sweater over a dress.

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First and foremost, pick the proper dress and sweater.

When it comes to creating stylish layered looks, it’s super important to start with the right pieces! Think about the weight and length of both the sweaters and dresses you have in your closet. Sweater dresses are the ultimate cozy staple and, believe it or not, they make really great layering pieces. Contrasting weights and textures are key, though, so that you’re not overheating in too many heavy layers. 

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Be mindful of the season, too. While a lightweight cardigan would look super cute over a dress in summery prints and colors (think: a bright tropical print in a sheer fabric) in the late spring, it might not feel like the right choice for a bitter winter day.

red sweater over dress

Source: Look Studio/

Define your waist with a trendy belt.

Trendy belts in glossy faux leather, or even a sassy animal print, are all the rage right now, and they’re an amazing way to tie your sweater/dress look together. We especially love how cute cardigans look left open, while held on securely with a sweet belt or piece of tied fabric.

Look for one that sits at the top of your hips and loop it tightly enough over your sweater to cinch your waist, but not so tightly that it’s uncomfortable! While ultra-wide, chunky belts were a major trend a few years ago, they can look a bit dated nowadays. Instead, keep the width to about two inches or narrower and save the drama for a boho-inspired wide brim hat.

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Go completely glam, or make a special occasion dress work for everyday wear.

Sweaters can be perfect for adding an extra bit of comfort to a pretty party dress. To keep things looking festive, try a cropped sweater over a swingy fit and flare dress for volume and bounce. Cold days call for opaque black tights and booties–and don’t be afraid of accessorizing when you’re elevating this fashionable combo. Whether you add a silky headband, sparkly jewelry or a glitzy clutch, you can’t add too many glamorous details.

If you have a sparkly dress you’ve been dying to wear again, but haven’t found the right moment to bring it back out of your closet, why not make your own moment by styling it for everyday wear? A frilly confection becomes workday appropriate when worn underneath a cozy oversized sweater and pair of mules, while combat boots or colorful sneakers create a look that’s just as ready for brunch as it is for a date. Keep your makeup and hair on the understated side for balance. Anything too glitzy might end up feeling a bit too fancy for anything other than a big night out.

blue sweater over dress

Source: Claudia K/

Finish the look with a fabulous jacket and trendy cold-weather accessories.

If you’ll be headed somewhere cold for an outdoor activity, or want to tie your look together from the moment you step out of the car to the minute you sit down for dinner, don’t forget to plan your outerwear, too! If the weather allows, consider keeping your coat unbuttoned to let the rest of your cute ensemble peek out from underneath.

A slim peacoat adds just the right amount of weight without overpowering your outfit, as do flirty scarves, mittens and even a casual beanie cap. While basic black accessories are great go-tos that match with basically everything, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with color, too. Rich red, bold blue and enchanting emerald stand out beautifully against the crisp winter snow!

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There are so many ways to wear a sweater over a dress, but we hope these tips are helpful as you plan out your own outfits featuring this stylish combo. Let us know how you work this fun mix into your cool-weather wardrobe in the comments!