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How to Wear a Sweater Over a Dress

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sweater over dress

If you’re looking to expand your wardrobe without spending any more money, this fashion hack is one you’ll love! The sweater over dress look is one of my personal favorite styling tricks for creating cozy, feminine looks during cooler months. The first time I saw it, I thought wow, what a genius idea! It looks so chic and elegant and adds an extra layer of warmth!

As spring gets closer, I’ve been dying to wear more dresses and this is the perfect way to bring them into my wardrobe without freezing my butt off.

In this post, I’m sharing outfit ideas, and my best tips and tricks for styling your favorite dress from summer into fall.

Why Wear a Sweater Over a Dress

Wearing a sweater over a your favorite dress or a floral dress is a great way to expand your outfit options and make your wardrobe more versatile. By layering a sweater over a dress, you can easily transition summer and spring dresses into the cooler months, giving them new life and allowing you to get more wear out of them and get more winter outfits to wear without spending money.

This simple styling trick means that you can take those pretty printed or floral dresses that you only wear in the summer and pair them with a cozy sweater to create a whole new look for the fall and winter. It also allows you to mix and match different dress and sweater combinations, giving you endless outfit possibilities without having to buy new clothes.

Not only does wearing a sweater over a dress keep you warm and comfortable in colder weather, but it also adds an extra layer of interest and dimension to your outfit. You can play around with different sweater styles, such as chunky knits, a simple cardigan, or turtlenecks, to create various looks that suit your personal style.

It’s such a a clever way to make the most of your wardrobe and ensure that you can wear your favorite dresses all year round.

Different Ways to Layer A Sweater Over Dress

how to wear a sweater and dress

There are a few different ways to layer your sweater over your dress without looking like a potato sack, so let’s go over them quickly!

Tuck with a Rubberband or Ponytail Holder

When wearing a sweater over a dress, you can use a rubber band or ponytail holder to create a “tuck” to prevent the sweater from riding up. You’ll start by putting on your dress and then layering your sweater over it.

Next, gather a small section of the sweater at the back or the front, usually near the hemline. Use a rubber band or ponytail holder to gather the front (or back) of your sweater together and then tuck it under.  Adjust the tuck to make sure it looks smooth and even from both directions.

When doing this, you’ll want to avoid really thick and bulky sweaters because the tucked area will stick out. You’ll also want to avoid any sweaters that are super thin or see through because then you’ll see the tucked area through it.

With lighter colors, use a rubber band or or ponytail holder that matches the color of your dress or sweater so it doesn’t show through.

With a Belt

When wearing a sweater over a dress, there’s two ways to style this. You can make the belt a part of the outfit, or you can use the belt similarly to the way we tucked the sweater above. 

To make the belt part of the outfit put on your dress and then layer on your sweater, then using a medium to statement size belt, cinch the belt around your waist to create definition and lightly pull the sweater over a bit like in the photo above. 

You can also use a thin belt and then pull the sweater out over the belt so you can’t see the belt and it looks like a tuck, similar to the rubber band method. This will work best with sweaters that are longer and have enough fabric to pull out. What I love about this method is that you don’t get a knot of fabric like you might with the rubber band method

Wear As Is

Lastly, you can absolutely wear your sweater as is! This works great for dresses that are more form-fitting as to avoid lots of excess bulk. If your dress defines he waist, try pairing a cropped sweater over it to play with dimensions and proportions.

Adding a pretty cardigan type sweater over a slip dress or t-shirt dress is such an easy way to make your summer favorite more appropriate for fall or winter.

This layering technique is perfect for transitional weather and can easily take you from summer to fall. 

Choosing the Perfect Sweater to Layer

When it comes to choosing the perfect sweater to layer, there are a few key factors to consider.

Weight: You’ll want to consider the weight of the sweater. Bulky, thick sweaters are much harder to tuck because there’s so much fabric. These types of sweaters might be best worn as is over a dress, or using the belt method to cinch the waist and create definition and shape. 

Material: A wool or cashmere sweater can provide warmth and coziness, while a cotton or synthetic blend may be more breathable and versatile for layering. Depending on the weather, the thickness of the dress you’re pairing it with or your personal preference, this will make a difference in what you wear

Color & Style: This probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. You’ll want to pair your sweater and dress so that they seamlessly go together. A fancy dress and super casual sweater—probably not a good match. Look to pair similar styles with each other for a seamless look. Make sure the colors coordinate as well so your outfit looks purposeful and intentional.

Fit: Lastly, the fit! When layering sweaters over dresses, you’ll definitely want to avoid form fitting sweaters as they’ll show the fabric of the dress below. It’s also important to note that dresses with puffy sleeves or lots of fabric on the top are probably not the best option for layering. Aim to use dresses that are thinner and have simple tops. 

By considering these factors, you can choose the perfect sweater to layer and stay both stylish and comfortable in any season.

Sweater Styles to Try


As someone who’s perpetually cold, I love a turtleneck and think that this style of sweater is perfect for adding not only warmth, but a classic, timeless, all-American look to a flowy skirt.

Opt for a sleeveless or short-sleeved dress to avoid bulkiness and allow the turtleneck to be the main focus. A turtleneck sweater can be worn over a variety of dress styles, including shift dresses, and A-line dresses. This combination creates a chic, layered look that is perfect for colder weather.

For a trendy and modern look, pair a turtleneck sweater with a sleeveless midi dress and cute ankle boots. To achieve a more polished and sophisticated ensemble, layer a turtleneck sweater over a fitted mini dress and add knee-high boots.

Crewneck, V-Neck & Oversized Sweaters

These are your go-to everyday sweaters! The trick is not picking a sweater that’s too tight or form fitting, thankfully, most are loose-fitting sweaters! Both standard fitting sweaters and oversized sweaters are the obvious choice for layering over dresses.

They have enough extra material to do the tuck or belt method. Avoid sweaters that are super oversized because you’ll have too much fabric to deal with. When the sweater is too bulky, it adds extra weight around your mid-section and feels frumpy.

When wearing v-neck sweaters, make sure you’re pairing it with a solid, simple dress so it adds interest instead of being distracting.

Cropped Sweaters

These sweaters are perfect for layering over dresses to add warmth and texture to any outfit and in my opinion, a little more casual.

When wearing a cropped sweater over a dress, it is best to choose a dress that is fitted or has a defined waistline. A-line or skater dresses that flare out from the waist are also great options to pair with a cropped sweater. Avoid wearing a cropped sweater over a maxi dress, as the proportions may look unbalanced. Pair the combination with ankle boots or sneakers for a laid-back vibe.

Sweater Vests

Maybe it’s because I’m on a knitting kick, but I LOVE the sweater vest layered over a summer dress. This is perfect for fall while the weather is still mild. 

To wear a sweater vest over a dress, choose a form-fitting or A-line dress that is not too bulky. Pairing a sweater vest with a dress creates a preppy and sophisticated look while also providing an extra layer of warmth. It’s ideal for adding a touch of coziness to your outfit during cooler weather.

When choosing a dress to wear with a sweater vest, opt for a solid color or a simple pattern to allow the sweater vest to be the focal point. A sweater vest can be worn over a sleeveless or long-sleeved dress, making it super versatile and a little unexpected. For this style, I don’t think I would tuck, I’d probably just wear it as is.


There are traditional thin, fitted cardigans, but I’m talking about the thicker, more relaxed versions that we see more today. These open in the front with buttons which can add a whole new dimension to your look. This would look really great with a very simple dress underneath—think t-shirt dress or slip dress so that the cardigan can take centerstage.

There you have it, this lazy girl fashion hack will help you expand your wardrobe and get more wear out of your spring and summer favorites. These are also great hacks for cooler spring days and crisp summer nights—just make sure to pair it with a lightweight sweater. I hope this gives you a ton of inspiration into wearing sweaters over dresses!

Want extra style tips? Check out these posts too:

BTW, how to style an oversized sweater, and how to wear a dress with boots.



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