We see sweater dresses every season. This year we’ll see more of them because they’re having an on-trend moment. There are an assortment of silhouettes, fabrics, necklines, hem lengths and colours to choose from. Most are solid. The collection below shows a range of sweater dresses styled in different ways. 

Zara
Long Knit Dress
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4
H&M
MAMA Knit Dress
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1
H&M
Rib-knit Dress
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1
Shopbop
VELVET Kaden
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3
Boden
Verity Knitted Dress
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1
Boden
Ribbed Metallic Dress
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3
Boden
Ribbed Metallic Dress
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5

Sweater dresses can be highly elusive items because their fits have to work in a very specific way on your body for you to feel good in them. They have to be structured and roomy in the right places. The fabric has to be substantial, non-scratchy, and drape in an attractive way. The length has to be great because you can’t hem them shorter. The necklines and sleeves have to be to your liking. And you need the right footwear to make them work in the type of weather and climate you want to wear them. Tall order.

That said, when you find the right sweater dress, it’s awesome. It’s a very cosy, comfy, and easy pull-on-and-go item with hosiery or socks, boots and a topper.

Here’s the outfit formula:

Sweater Dress: Choose one in a silhouette, fabric, colour, or pattern that works for you. You might like a thick warm and chunky style, or keep it more lightweight. Hem lengths vary from mini to midaxi. You might like a fairly fitted or straight style. Or prefer a fit-and-flare, cocoon, or sack silhouette.

Footwear: Most sweater dresses are worn with boots because you wear the dress in colder weather. The type of boot can greatly vary. Boots can be casual or dressy, heeled or flat, refined or chunky, and patterned or solid. Knee-high boots are on-trend, so you’ll see lots of sweater dresses paired with those at the moment. There are shorter booties that can be flat or heeled too. Cowboy boots are great with sweater dresses, and so are over-the-knee boots when hemlines are short. Ballet flats, loafers, pumps, sneakers, and oxfords are another way to go. Or sandals with socks or hosiery.

Hosiery or Socks: Hosiery is optional. Wearing socks with boots is another way to go. Or you might prefer the bare-leg option. If you’re fine with hosiery, I’ve found that sheer nude-for-you pantyhose is versatile. Or a sheer black or fishnet. Non-neutral, textured, and patterned hosiery can work too. Black opaques or fleece-lined tights can work if you don’t find them to visually heavy.

Leggings or stirrup leggings can work if you enjoy wearing them. To my eye, those versions look good with a shoe that showcases bare ankles so that you can see that you’re wearing leggings.

Topper: Top the lot off with anything from a vest, denim jacket, moto jacket, and short or longer puffer, to a blazer, bomber, sweater coat, trapeze jacket, aviator jacket, or wool coat. The right cardigan can work too. Make sure you like how the length of the topper works with the length of the dress.

Accessories: Belts are a way to create waist definition if you’re after more structure. Add a bag that works with the outfit and fulfills your needs. Add head gear, eyewear, scarves, watches and jewellery as desired.

I have a green sweater dress from COS. I absolutely love it. It’s a sack-like cocoon shape that tapers a little on the hips and legs. The turtleneck is very warm. Length is midaxi with side slits for ease of movement. I like wearing it with my whiskey knee-high boots and matching satchel. I top things off with my long pink, red, navy or chartreuse wool coat. If I needed a scarf, I’d choose the big brushed toffee one. It can double up as a wrap inside if I’m cold after I’ve removed my coat.