Layering Dresses When It’s Cold Out

Your favorite beautiful dresses don’t have to sit gathering dust in your closet when the weather’s cold. It’s super easy to layer dresses in the cold weather so you can show off those sundresses year-round!

Just follow these quick tips for how to stay warm in a dress during winter and you can look frilly and flouncy all season long.

Some Essential Layering Tips for Any Outfit

First, you need to make sure you’re keeping warm the right way. There are a few essential points about basic layering you should know so you can learn how to stay warm in a dress during winter!

It’s possible to look stylishly layered without looking bulky. To do this, keep your thinnest layers inside, and save the frilly fabric for the exterior.

Keep only one or two items that have a bold pattern. If your dress is colorful and bright, for example, wear a dark jacket and tights to not overwhelm it.

Keep your outer layer long. A dress looks much better when the jacket is long enough to suit it.

Under-Dress Basics: Layering Essentials

The items you wear under your dress should be thin, but warm, so that you don’t look bulky. Opt for insulating materials like cotton or wool if you live in a seriously cold place.

Innermost layer: Camisoles/tank tops/undershirts

If you live in a climate that gets seriously cold, like Minnesota or Canada, every single layer is important. If you’re going to try and wear a dress in the winter (you brave soul!) invest in thermal inner layers designed to wear beneath your clothes. They go a long way to protect your skin and keep you warm.

Turtlenecks

Turtlenecks for a layered dress? Yes please! Just not the thick, chunky woolen sweaters with a neck — you’ll look like you’re smuggling a small animal under your dress. We’re talking those relatively thin, form-fitting turtlenecks.

White T Shirt

This is a good look to take you back to the 90s, too. Simply pair it with a corduroy overall dress and you have a timeless Americana look.

Thermal tights

This is our #1 essential item for layering dresses! Numb, exposed legs are the worst part about trying to stay warm in a dress during winter. If you get tights that are still form-fitting but designed to keep you warm, the problem is all but solved.

You probably won’t find thermal tights that are sheer or partially sheer. They’re most likely to be solid colors, like black. That’s not an issue; you want your dress to be the star of the show.

You can also get thermal leggings to do the job, so long as you wear very warm socks. If your feet are cold, it’ll be hard for you to feel warm no matter how many layers you wear.

Warm socks

When it’s cold out, you should wear warm socks and gloves. There’s nothing revolutionary we can really add to that — your mom was right. Don’t forget your warm socks!

Boots

When you’re layering dresses with tights and jackets for the winter, your best bet for footwear is a reliable pair of leather boots. If you have cute patterned socks, you can tuck them over your lace-up boots to show them off.

You can opt for the Bella Swan converse-and-prom-dress look if you want, but in our opinion, that’s a little dated. Up to you!

Over Dress Basics: More Layering Essentials

Experiment with cute jackets and chunky patterned cardigans! Go wild!

Jean jackets, bomber jackets, peacoats

Do you have a funky jacket in your closet that you love, but never have the chance to wear? Now’s your chance. Layering dresses is a perfect opportunity to bring out that kitschy patched up jean jacket from the 80s. Wear it over a plain dress and tights so that the jacket’s the star of the show!

Tip: If you wear a jacket that cinches in the middle, it can go a long way to make your silhouette look curvier when you’re wearing all those layers.

Chunky cardigans

Is there anyone here who can admit they don’t practically live in warm cardigans when they’re trying to stay warm in a dress during winter? They’re not only perfect to live in, but they’re also perfect to layer over a dress. Or, wear your dress as a skirt by pairing it with a warm, cozy sweater.

Scarves, scarves, scarves

Not only can you stay warm in a scarf, but it’s also easy to take off if you get too warm.

Perfect Dresses for Layering

If you have the warm inner and outer layers down pat, you can style almost any dress in your closet! Even summer spaghetti strap dresses and sleeveless dresses can work when you’re layering dresses. Well, you might want to avoid ball gowns and statement pieces you’d see at the Met Gala, for example — but that’s your prerogative.

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