How to Look Fabulous in Your Favourite Dresses This Winter
The heady summer days of bare legs are long behind us, but our favourite dresses can still glam up a winter day with minimal morning styling to boot.
As we wake up before the heating has properly kicked in and launch ourselves out of bed in the minimal morning light, a dress isn’t often the first thing on our minds, but here at the Shirt Company we are devotees of the winter day dress. Surprisingly easy to style, elegant and a great staple in any capsule wardrobe, the day dress is a transeasonal icon once you figure out how to rock it.
Below are six styling tips to wake your favourite frocks from hibernation and give them (and, hopefully, you!) a whole new lease of life.
1. Choose Your Contenders
Image credit: The Shirt Company
I would argue that even a pastel floral number can be styled out for winter with the right layers, coats and accessories, but some dresses lend themselves to cold weather easier than others.
In terms of colours, deeper jewel like shades brighten a dim day, rich autumnal hues are at home among the falling leaves and darker colours blend in with the British weather. More sombre florals, boho paisley, tartans and the always appropriate stripes are great contenders in the pattern stakes.
As for the length cut and style — your wardrobe is your oyster. This is when the layers have their time to shine.
2. Layers of Layers
Layers are where it’s at with styling a winter dress. Some essentials for me are:
- Turtle necks - I especially love a cream one with a patterned dress
- Shirts of all kinds! Statement sleeves look fab under a strappy dress and a shirt collar can transform a plunging evening neckline into day wear
- Short and long sleeved t-shirts in various colours
This is where it’s time to play dress up with your wardrobe and see what works for you. Sometimes, the same layering piece can work underneath or over the top of your dress for added versatility, especially with a little help from accessories.
3. Belts, Berets and Bangles
The silhouette of a dress can be absolutely transformed by adding a layer and a selection of belts can really pull things together by playing with shapes and proportion.
Accessories can add some razzle dazzle to a chilly commute, but offer substance as well as style. For example a beret is warm, chic and looks fabulous with matching gloves and a beanie will keep you toast while adding edge to a more minimal look.
4. Toasty Tights
Image credit: Snag
Tights get a bad rep. Often ill-fitting with a tendency to ladder as soon as you look at them, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Investing in some good quality tights is sustainable, luxurious and makes winter dressing so much less of a drag. A high denier tight with knee high boots make a winter mini-dress look elevated as opposed to raising concerns about hypothermia from passers by.
Coloured tights (think forest green or plum as opposed to neon ‘80s nightmare) can also help change up your capsule wardrobe rotation with little effort.
We recommend Snag tights which are ethically made, sustainable and have a recycling scheme. They are also available from size 4 to 36 with different leg lengths so they will actually fit you. Be gone wince-worthy gussets and ankle rolls!
5. Puddle Proof Boots
A selection of boots can walk you through wintertide alone. From a classic fitted knee-high to a chunky motorbike boot or a platform Doc Martin — boots are the ultimate flexible cold-weather footwear which make them perfect for a capsule wardrobe.
For those of us who want to flash a little ankle, a Mary Jane or a leather trainer are also great contenders, just perhaps not quite so puddle proof.
Flipping your footwear is a fantastic way to give the same outfit different flavours.
6. Artful Outer Layers
It makes me shudder to even think of how I used to brace the cold without a coat so I wouldn’t ruin my outfit, but investment outerwear is essential for anyone wintering in the UK.
Nearly all long coats look great worn open so your layered outfit can peek through while you’re shrouded in much-needed warmth. A good belted or tailored wool coat is a timeless classic which it's worth splashing out on, but I am sure I am preaching to the choir here.
Longline leather and faux-leather coats are having a real moment this year, which is fabulous for all of us wardrobe archivists as there are plenty kicking about from days gone by.
For dresses which demand a bit more leg-action, An oversize, short faux-fur jacket is a fun choice which is always easy to pick up in a charity or vintage shop as a sustainable steal!