What to Wear with Sleeveless Dresses: Helpful Ideas & Concept
I’ve come up with not only helpful ideas for what to wear with sleeveless dresses but a concept that will have you thinking about your closet with an entirely different outlook.
I liken it to giving a man a fish vs teaching him to fish. And I’m here to teach you to fish (in your wardrobe that is).
Quote of the day: “Happiness is not made by what we own. It is what we share.” Jonathan Sacks
It makes me incredibly happy to share the most important concept of what to wear with sleeveless dresses. This idea will give you helpful ideas for any sleeveless item in your closet, not just sleeveless dresses.
But before I talk about what to wear with sleeveless dresses, let me touch on the subject of why I’m discussing this. It’s not because I think you need to cover your arms once your skin starts changing. You know what I’m referring to…that rule that women over 60 shouldn’t show their arms. That’s just silly because our bodies are beautiful no matter what age and what has changed.
Heck, I feel that I talk about this every summer when the temperatures heat up and we go to the pool.
Insider tip: Don’t let your insecurities have the best of you. One of my favorite thoughts is “You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.” Louise L. Hay
In fact, I’m a firm believer that embracing our bodies makes the whole idea of getting dressed every day much easier.
So the only reason I love giving you ideas of what to wear with sleeveless dresses is to either keep warm or to create a variety of looks.
I’ve written other articles about embracing our bodies as is, and if you struggle with this subject at all, I hope you read those also.
Why Sleeveless Dresses?
As someone who was always cold when I was living in Denver, I disliked the option of sleeveless dresses. I couldn’t understand why finding dresses with sleeves was so hard.
And then I came upon an article explaining how “stores prefer sleeveless dresses because they’re so easy to tailor, and because a sleeveless garment fits a wider range of figure types than the same dress with sleeves. And with few sleeved options available, it’s a seller’s market. Then retailers can merchandise a stole or sweater in addition” as quoted from The Tyranny of the Sleeveless Dress article.
That seemed like an “aha” moment to me as to why it seemed like all of the dresses at the store are sleeveless. The realization then came that just because a dress is sold as sleeveless, that doesn’t mean I have to wear it that way. Yet if you look at most articles about what to wear with sleeveless dresses, they will only suggest different jackets and toppers to wear over the dress.
If you are looking to find dresses that aren’t sleeveless, then customize your dress at eShakti. My link gives you $50 off your first order, so you can get a dress for around $25 with shipping.
Or feel free to browse some sleeveless dresses below.
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The Secret of Layering
If you’ve been reading my blog for any time, then you already know my secret for layering. It’s only two words. Over and under. Okay, okay, that’s three words. But really it’s all about remembering that you can layer both over and under almost anything you own.
Once you start saying that mantra “over and under” when you are putting together outfits, you come up with a ton more looks.
So that’s what I’m going to show you about what to wear with a sleeveless dress. Options of layering both over and under the dress. I tried to limit the photos I’m sharing because there are unlimited options available to you depending on what you have in your closet.
I’ll list a bunch of options but don’t just stick to what I say or what I show. Make sure to go through your closet and find some other ideas.
Wearing a Topper OVER a Sleeveless Dress
The advantage of wearing any kind of topper over your sleeveless dress is the fact you can easily remove it if it gets too warm. But in all reality, most times that we get dressed, we are planning on what the temperatures will be.
Here are 4 types of options of toppers for what to wear with a sleeveless dress
- Jacket-Like the photo above. Any kind of jean jacket, blazer, leather jacket, or cardigan.
- Top-Shown in the first photo below (from the article about wearing a slip dress). Wearing a top that isn’t open in the front is a great trick to make your dress look like a skirt. This could include a sweater for the cooler months.
- Cardigan-This example is the middle photo below. Similar pieces would be kimonos or boleros and include any length of cardigan.
- Wrap top-I’m wearing a wrap top in the last photo below. It’s meant to be a top, but it’s a tad short with most pants. That’s why I love wearing it over a dress.
Layer UNDER for What to Wear with Sleeveless Dresses
The advantage of layering under your sleeveless dress is you get to see the beauty of the entire dress instead of hiding some of the dress with a topper.
There are just as many options to layer under a sleeveless dress as over it. I’m only showing a couple of options, but I included more in the verbiage.
- Shirts. All kinds of shirts fit into this category. In the photo above, I’m showing a button-up blouse, but this applies to t-shirts, turtlenecks, and every kind of shirt in your closet.
- Halftees. The first photo below is showing how Halftees are a great layering top since they are cut off under the girls and don’t add to your midriff. What I always say is Halftees are basically crop tops that come in all kinds of varieties. You can find them with different length sleeves, and all different styles of necklines.
- Cardigans. The second photo below is showing a cardigan buttoned up and layered under a sleeveless dress. This would work with lighter jackets and kimonos too.
Insider discount: I am an ambassador for Halftees and can offer you 20% off with the code Jtouch20.
There’s another option of layering under your sleeveless dress if you want it to look like you’re not wearing anything. The product is called My New Arms and both Charlotte and Nancy are wearing them in the photo above when we wrote about it.
Basically, it’s a sheer halftee that gives some compression to your arms yet looks invisible.
Don’t Forget Your Scarves
One of the reasons scarves are so magical is they can be transformed into many different items with a fold, a twist, a knot, or even a magnet to hold the ends together.
What I love is how you can use scarves to layer either over or under a sleeveless dress. Basically, I am creating sleeves with both versions. One is anchored under the straps of the dress, while the other acts as a kimono over the dress.
I have videos showing how to create both of these scarf variations.
1–Sleeves under a dress
2-Make a wrap that stays in place. Here is the video with a knit scarf and magnets. Here is the video for the blue scarf above.
Layering Two Dresses
Now this option would fall in either category, haha. It is layering one dress over the other, OR one dress under the other. But it fits the query of what to wear with a sleeveless dress by giving you a ton of options in your closet.
It’s no different than when I layered my slip dress under another dress recently.
Layering Both OVER and UNDER
And then there is the option of layering both under and over your sleeveless dress as I did above. I’m wearing a white button-down under the dress and a jacket over the dress.
I hope I’ve shown you helpful ideas for what to wear with a sleeveless dress. You shouldn’t be pigeonholed into just adding a cardigan or jacket over it, but with my “Over and Under” concept, you can create a ton of different looks.
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