This piece first appeared on Present Perfect.  See the author’s bio and contact info below the post.

 

Fall is here and winter is knocking at the door, but that’s no reason to stop keeping your summer dresses top of mind. Layering your winter sweaters over your summer dresses is a great way to extend the life of your dresses and make better use of the clothes you already own.

The temperatures have dropped, the leaves have changed color, and the rain and snow will come. But while these changes usually signal that it’s time to put away your summer dresses to make room for jeans, coats, and other cool-weather clothes, they don’t have to! Spaghetti-strapped maxis, knee-length tank dresses, summer-night date-night dresses, and even cotton sundresses are so much more versatile than we give them credit for!

Here are six tips for how to layer sweaters over your summer dresses so that you can wear them all year:

 

6 Fabulous Ways To Pair Summer Dresses And Winter Sweaters

 

Style Tip #1: Be Knotty

 

Shop this look: Jersey Tank Dress, Crossbody Bag, Cashmere Blend Crewneck Fitted Sweater.

Pairing your summer dresses with winter sweaters is a great way to make better use of the clothes you already own. Check out these 6 winter fashions.

As I mentioned last summer, I became a big fan of knotting tee-shirts and tanks over my dresses. Well, the same simple styling trick can be applied to knitwear.

The best and worst thing about winter sweaters is that they tend to hide our shape. Homo sapiens store fat in wintertime for survival and a cute-but-shapeless sweater can be a girl’s best friend when she gets a little thick in the middle after Christmas (am I right??)

But nipping a sweater in at your waistline can often create the illusion of curves and angles when those Sir Mix-A-Lot dimensions (36-24-26) start to look more like your kindergartner’s “find the pattern” math homework (38-38-38).

This isn’t a good idea for your finer, more expensive knitwear. But for your more elastic and less expensive sweaters, it’s a good styling option.

Knot in the front which is easier, logistically, and can help camouflage a paunch, or in the back, which is harder to do yourself, but keeps the look cleaner from the front.

 

Style Tip #2: Fully Vested

Shop this look: White Dot Silk Dress, Turtleneck Sleeveless Ribbed Sweater, Suede Wrap Belt.Pairing your summer dresses with winter sweaters is a great way to make better use of the clothes you already own. Check out these 6 winter fashions.

For your long sleeved dresses (which are so, so appreciated and yet SO, SO difficult to find), try layering your sleeveless sweaters over the top. This is an easy way to add texture, color contrast, or both to a look, as well as added warmth for those cooler winter days.

If the sweater is longer and try adding a belt in the same or similar color to create a taller, leaner look overall.

 

Style Tip #3: Knits + Silks = Love

Shop this look: Silky Leopard Print Dress, Cream Splendid Sheridan Sweater.Pairing your summer dresses with winter sweaters is a great way to make better use of the clothes you already own. Check out these 6 winter fashions.

In fashion, as in contemporary art, texture takes a look from good to great. I love the contrast of a fine silk skirt or dress with a nubby, fuzzy, or chunky sweater.

I tend to treat my silks with a little too much care and caution. As a result, I end up wearing them less frequently, which is a waste of both beauty and money. Adding a cozy sweater – even in a fine cashmere – takes the pressure off and lets me feel more relaxed and casual in my silk dresses and skirts.

 

Style Tip #4: Mix Wool Sweaters and Cotton Dresses

Shop this look: Sleeveless Midi Cotton Dress, Wool Classic Crew Neck Sweater.Pairing your summer dresses with winter sweaters is a great way to make better use of the clothes you already own. Check out these 6 winter fashions.

Don’t be afraid to mix textures; even those textures you think of as “summer” or “winter” textures. Just like your silks, wool sweaters pair nicely with cotton or jersey knit dresses. The look is informal and relaxed, but still well put-together.

Choose monochromatic or like colors, patterns, and proportions to keep the look polished.

Worried you’ll be too cold? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs trump everything else; no one should go through life cold and uncomfortable. If you pair your favorite winter sweater with your favorite summer dress and you’re still cold, consider Style Tip #5….

 

Style Tip #5 : Tights and Socks

Pairing your summer dresses with winter sweaters is a great way to make better use of the clothes you already own. Check out these 6 winter fashions.

Well, duh, right? But I’m not talking about about your daughter’s tights or your grandmother’s (or mother’s) pantyhose. I could (and should) publish and entire blog post on this topic alone. (Personally, I’ve been dying to try textured knee high socks with pumps or heeled sandals and a skirt or dress, so stay tuned!)

Today’s tights come in hundreds of styles and colors, many of which can be layered and worn together. Try a Nude Fishnet Stockings over Opaque Black Tights for a polished and sexy take on winter hosiery or, for a more casual look, try a Knee High Stockings over Wool Tightsand booties.

Had it not been for the record-breaking heat wave this week, I would have happily modeled some tights and socks with my looks for you. However, to quote Samantha Jones from Sex in the City, the Movie, “I love you, but I love myself more” and I wasn’t willing to risk heat stroke for a good photo, so I pulled the above examples off of Pinterest. But I promise I’ll make it up to you.

 

Style Tip #6: Carry a Fabulous Leather Handbag

Pairing your summer dresses with winter sweaters is a great way to make better use of the clothes you already own. Check out these 6 winter fashions.

Of course, all of this is made much simpler by a fabulously beautiful and practical handbag, like these awesome bags from Haerfest (pronounced “harvest”).

I wish I could tell you how well-constructed and gorgeous these bags are. I love that I can fit my laptop into the Eva Tote along with my wallet, car keys, a water bottle, and all the other random mother detritus I have to store in my handbag at all times to get through the day. And I can’t say enough good things about the  Jo Saddle Crossbody Bag which doubles as a clutch for evening when you remove the strap. Between the beautiful gold hardware, the roomy-yet-sleek pouch, and the sumptuous color options, this just may be the closest thing to the PERFECT handbag!

Rethinking and reclassifying your summer dresses will double the breadth of your winter wardrobe and keep you looking chic and fresh all winter long!

Thanks for reading,

Tracy Smith is a freelance writer and the editor of Present Perfect – a lifestyle blog for busy women and moms who want to live their best lives, fully present in the moments they’re given. Tracy has a degree in Sociology from the University of Southern California and more than 15 years of experience in sales and fund raising. She is raising three young children with the help of her best friend and beloved partner. In her (very little) spare time, she enjoys running, painting, reading, attending her kids’ sporting events and performances, and spending time with her family and friends in Los Angeles, California. Tracy has a weakness for vodka cocktails, Haribo candy, and karaoke.

 

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