Adding a layer underneath a dress is an effective way to transition our wardrobes from Summer into Autumn. Got to love the versatility of a frock!

There are two important things to keep in mind. First, layering in this way requires a certain style of dress. You’re after a dress made of fairly thick fabric, either lined or unlined, knit or woven. This way the under layer doesn’t show through the dress. Sleeveless wool blend sheath dresses are ideal for layering because they are fairly rigid and substantial. Second, the layer underneath the dress should generally be thinner than the fabric of the dress. While this is by no means a hard and fast rule, it’s a pretty flop-proof strategy.

Consider layering the following items under dresses:

  • Button down shirt: Any color and sleeve length. Scrunch up the sleeves for outfit texture and a more relaxed vibe.
  • Soft blouse: Solid or patterned. Blouses with collars work best as do those with mandarin collars. Blouses with pussycat bows are extra-sweet layered in this way.
  • T-shirt: Three quarter sleeves or long sleeves will do. These work best under a more casual dress.
  • Knit top: Depending on the integrity of the fabric, knit tops can also work under dressier dresses.
  • Turtle neck: These come in both jersey knit (T-shirt fabric) and fine gauge knit (sweater fabric). The former is for casual occasions whereas the latter dresses things up.

I don’t want to stifle your creativity, so don’t limit your dress layering options to sleeveless sheath dresses and the layering pieces suggested above. But it’s a good place to start if you’re new to the concept.

Get stuck into that wardrobe and begin the experimentation! Combine all sorts of layers under your dresses and see what happens. The results could be arty, hip and above all cost effective. Inspire us by posting your favourite combinations on the forum.

Update: A few days after this post I followed up with another where I model two examples of layering underneath dresses.

Use your imagination to picture these dress styles layered over the right button down shirt, soft blouse, T or knit top. I vote fab.