Style Q&A: Dresses in Winter

Question: Hi! I’m a 18-22 year-old woman and live in Vancouver Canada where it gets rather chilly and rainy in the winter. I love my cute dresses and miss wearing them! I would love to know different ways of wearing dresses in winter. I bought a mustard colored ruffly dress I’m dying to wear but can’t since it has spaghetti straps and it’s cold out. Help!

Answer: Thanks for writing in! I used to think it was impossible to wear dresses in winter, but with the right layering, it’s definitely doable.  In fact, as I write this, I’m wearing a dress… and it’s snowing right now!

The key to wearing dresses in winter is layering.  You can easily add a cardigan, blazer, or stylish jacket to a dress and show off that you’re wearing a dress still, but you can also add a sweater on top, covering up the bodice of the dress, and make it look you have a skirt on.  It changes the whole look!  If you want some extra waist definition, you can add a skinny belt, or even knot a buttondown shirt at your waist over the dress.  You can layer vests as well, even over sweaters.  Scarves are great too, for extra warmth and texture.  On your legs, wear leggings or thicker tights (I have sweater tights on today), or layer knee socks, legwarmers, or over-the-knee socks over tights (bonus for adding texture!), and go for boots.

Something I’ve never done, but seen done before, is taking a lighter-weight, shorter dress and wearing it over skinny jeans, and then adding a sweater or blazer over it.  That might be something worth trying too, if you’ve got something you want to experiment with.

And if you think about it, unless you’re going to be outside for extended periods of time, you don’t have to worry about being too cold when you’re inside (and I say that as a perpetual cold person), because you’ll be inside.  As long as you’ve got proper outerwear for being outside, you’re good.  And, if it’s really snowy out, you can always bring different shoes to change into when you get to wherever you’re going.  I do that sometimes in winter, even now that I’m working in the suburbs and not walking to work downtown.  But, of course, if you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, perhaps a dress isn’t the way to go.

Anyway, here are a couple examples of layering I’ve done with dresses.  Click each pic to go to the post that features it (it’ll open in a new window for you).  The second picture links to a post where there’s actually a couple dresses layered up.  Later today, when I get a chance to take a photo of my outfit, I’ll be posting that as well (likely a quick pic on Facebook, the way things are looking today).

All of the dresses above are sleeveless, and the maxi dress has spaghetti straps.  Adding layers on top makes it virtually impossible to tell it’s a dress, and depending on the layers, can really change the look of it.

For some more inspiration, check out these looks I’ve pinned over at Pinterest.

Oh, and check out some of these wonderfully warm legwear options!

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3 comments for “Style Q&A: Dresses in Winter

  1. January 18, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    wow!! absolutely loved the ideas here! Be ready for my questions:-) Your blog is awesome!
    BTW, Thanks for following, I am your new follower:-)

    • Rachel Jay
      January 18, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      Ahhh! 🙂 You totally just made my day! 🙂 Thanks!

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