Look cool, stay warm.
Is there anything worse than putting together a great dress outfit only to realize you've got nothing to wear on top? As fashion folks who know how long accessorizing can take, we think not. Outerwear should never swallow up or pull focus from a great dress and while there are more than enough jackets to wear with dresses out there, finding the perfect pairing can be tricky.
There are a few major considerations when choosing a jacket to wear with a dress. First and foremost is fit. Ideally, a jacket should accentuate the silhouette of whatever dress it's worn over. For midi or maxi dresses, cropped jackets that nip in at the waist or full-length styles that highlight an outfit's long lines are both great options. When it comes to mini dresses, we prefer an oversized jacket that hits mid-thigh. A roomier jacket will play up the shrunken proportions of an itty bitty mini while an above-the-knee hem will keep you from looking like you're naked when your jacket is buttoned or zipped up.
Whether you love the look of an elevated maxi dress or can't bear hemlines that dip below your knees, you'll find an outerwear layer suited to your aesthetic in our roundup of the 13 best jackets to wear with dresses.
A Denim Jacket
You don't need to go entirely denim-on-denim to wear this jacket style with a dress. Contrast can brighten up a much-worn denim jacket which means they pair well with silk, chiffon, and printed cotton.
A Cropped Bomber
We love cropped jackets worn with maxi dresses and a loosely fitting, cropped bomber jacket is the perfect outer layer for a curve-hugging, floor-sweeping dress. A cropped bomber is also ideal for wearing with "sack dresses" since it adds structure to a loose and flowing silhouette.
A Leather Blazer
No shade to cotton blazers—we sing their praises further down our list—but the high shine luxury of a leather or faux leather blazer brings a little something extra to a dressy look. The unique texture of a leather blazer also brings out the best in other standout fabrics like satin, silk, or chiffon.
When it comes to midi and tea-length dresses, you can't go wrong with a duster jacket. This long-line coat works best with equally streamlined dress styles, but that doesn't mean it should be reserved for formal looks.
A Belted Field Jacket
While no fashion rule says one must never leave the house without one's waist cinched, there's something to be said for the sophisticated polish a belted field jacket can bring to a dress, especially one with a full or pleated skirt.
A Lightweight Trench
A trench coat is an elevated jacket option that adds an air of sophistication to all types of dresses. That said, we especially love the polish a trench can bring to a simple tee-shirt dress and other super casual styles.
An Embellished Leather Jacket
Leather jackets are great, but one adorned with embellishments or painted with an eye-catching print just hits different, especially if you're going for a vibrant and eclectic look. Pair a painted leather jacket with a contrasting mini dress for a uniquely colorful vibe and aim for an oversized fit for this standout outer layer.
An Oversized Moto
Add an edge to a maxi with a simple silhouette or a casual air to a dress that toes the line between gown and dress by adding an oversized motorcycle jacket on top. We love the look of this jacket style when worn with coordinating lug sole loafers, but it reads just as effortlessly cool when paired with sneakers, flats, or ankle boots.
A Cropped Puffer
Another cropped jacket that can add an effortless cool factor to any dress in your closet is the ever-trendy puffer. Look for puffer jackets that hit your natural waist and take full advantage of the wide range of colors these fashion girlie staples come in for a cohesive, color-blocked 'fit.
A Chic Raincoat
What makes a raincoat chic, you ask? It starts with the silhouette. We recommend looking for a shape that's less poncho-y and more trench-esque in a sheer textile (all the better to see your full outfit with, dears). For extra fashion points, consider a raincoat featuring a print or pattern and elevated details like contrasting piping.
A Knit Coatigan
Mash together a coat and a cardigan and you get the "coatigan"—a jacket that looks like a sweater with lining and the weight of a coat. Wear with your favorite knit or sweater dress of any length for a look that's equal parts chic and cozy.
While an oversized blazer works wonders when worn with a luxe gown, it can bring the same sophistication to a breezy daywear look. We recommend adding a blazer to a preppy mini dress and looking for comfortable, loose-fitting silhouettes.
A Shearling Jacket
If your taste skews towards mini dresses, you'll want a heavier outer layer to keep out the spring chill. A shearling jacket that hits just an inch or two above your hem is the perfect choice for chilly days.
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