Whether you’re dressing up for a black tie event or rushing out of the house in a hurry, a dress is a wardrobe staple that’s easy to throw on, no matter what the occasion. During the summer months, I live in sundresses because they’re easy to throw on for a look that’s chic and put-together. In the fall and winter, layering is key, and I often throw cozy sweaters over my favorite tights and stretchy Skims dresses.
Whether it’s chilly out or you simply want to put together a proper outfit, a dress is also easy to layer under any and every type of jacket—you virtually can pair any coat and dress together. You never know when you’re going to get cold at a bar or a restaurant, or maybe you need an extra layer on your commute to the office, but either way, a good jacket can save the day.
However, we totally understand if you’re bored of your go-to jacket and dress combo and wondering how to make your look feel fresh. The good news is that you have lots of options—from accessory choice to silhouette—that will revive your faith in layering and fit your personal aesthetic. Ahead, see nine ways to style a jacket over a dress for any season or occasion.
Belt It Together
A belt is the perfect piece to tie together any look. If you’re looking for something that’s going to give you a more defined silhouette, wrap a belt around your favorite blazer and layer it over a slip dress. This changes the vibe of the outfit entirely and creates a great look to transition from day to night.
Match the Hemline
Whether you’re wearing a tea-length dress, a mini dress, or a maxi skirt, matching the hemline of your jacket to your dress instantly ties the look together. It’s a great way to make sure your coat feels like an intentional part of the outfit, rather than simply practical outerwear.
If you’re looking to add a jacket as more of a fashion piece, a cropped denim jacket layers beautifully over a casual jersey-material dress. Finish the look with your favorite handbag and white sneakers for a crisp and clean spring ensemble.
Drape It Effortlessly
Undeniably, one of the chicest ways to style a jacket is draped over your shoulder (the look is a street style mainstay for a reason). Now that your arms are free, you can show off your entire look with your blazer draped effortlessly off your shoulders, allowing your dress to take center stage.
Embrace a High-Contrast Silhouette
You absolutely can wear your favorite mini dresses on chillier nights with this unexpected combination. Grab your favorite LBD, then style a maxi coat on top for two silhouettes in one. The look can be business casual or sophisticated and sultry, depending on how you style it and whether you wear your jacket open or closed.
Have Fun with Color Contrast
Green and red are complementary since they sit opposite each other on the color wheel, and swapping the latter shade for its sister pink allows you to harness the power of this statement in a fresh way. Rather than reaching for a neutral jacket, bring a little color back into your wardrobe with a daring combination like pink and green or blue and orange.
Make a Monochromatic Statement
You’re sure to instantly feel confident and put-together in a monochromatic ensemble. Pick any color that sparks joy for you—we’re partial to this sunny yellow. Match your jacket to your dress, and finish the look with coordinating statement accessories, like this bedazzled bag with a sporty strap.
Mix and Match Materials
Rather than pairing wool with wool and silk with silk, enhance your look by mixing different materials. Varied textures add depth to your ensemble without being too overwhelming. Below, we’ve styled a color block wool midi dress with a faux leather bomber and black boots for an on-trend look with a bit of edge.
Add a Sweater
Sometimes a light jacket just doesn’t cut it (despite the fact that Miss Congeniality fans know it almost always does on April 25). When you’re looking for a little something more, whether it be for aesthetic or practical purposes, layering is key. Pull on a chunky knit over a lightweight dress, then top it all off with a structured suede jacket. This is an easy way to elevate your outfit while also adding another layer of warmth on chilly nights.