How to Style a Shirt Over a Dress Like a Pro in 2023

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how to style a shirt over a dress

1. Trendy Ways to Style a Shirt Over a Dress

Experiment with Different Styles

When it comes to styling a shirt over a dress, there are endless possibilities. One trendy way to do this is by layering a button-down shirt over a slip dress. This creates a chic and effortless look that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Another stylish option is to pair a graphic t-shirt with a maxi dress for an edgier vibe. You can also try layering a cropped sweater over a midi dress for a cozy and fashionable outfit.

Play with Proportions

Playing with proportions is key when styling a shirt over a dress. If you have a flowy or oversized dress, try pairing it with a fitted shirt to create balance and structure. On the other hand, if your dress is more form-fitting, opt for an oversized or loose-fitting shirt to add dimension and create visual interest.

Add Layers and Accessories

To elevate your look even further, consider adding layers and accessories when styling a shirt over a dress. Throw on a denim jacket or leather moto jacket for an added cool factor. Complete the outfit with statement jewelry, such as layered necklaces or chunky bracelets, to add some sparkle and personality.

2. Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Style a Shirt Over a Dress

Select the Right Combination of Shirt and Dress

The first step in styling a shirt over a dress is selecting the right combination of pieces. Choose complementary colors and patterns that work well together. For example, pair neutral-colored shirts with patterned dresses or vice versa.


  • Opt for contrasting textures, such as a silky shirt over a cotton dress or a chunky knit sweater over a flowy dress.
  • Consider the length of both the shirt and dress to ensure they create a visually pleasing silhouette.

Layer the Shirt Over the Dress

To layer the shirt over the dress, start by unbuttoning or unzipping the shirt. Slip it on over the dress, making sure to align the shoulder seams of both pieces. Button or zip up the shirt partially or fully, depending on your desired look. You can leave some buttons undone for a more relaxed and casual vibe.


  • Experiment with different ways of layering, such as tying the ends of an oversized shirt in a knot at your waist or tucking in just one side for asymmetry.
  • Adjust and arrange the collar of the shirt to frame your face and neck in a flattering way.

Add Finishing Touches

To complete your outfit, add any additional layers or accessories you desire. This could include jackets, cardigans, belts, scarves, or statement jewelry. Play around with different combinations until you achieve your desired look.


  • Choose accessories that complement both the shirt and dress, such as a belt that matches the color of your shoes or a scarf that incorporates similar patterns.
  • If you’re wearing a statement necklace or earrings, keep other accessories minimal to avoid overwhelming the outfit.

3. Best Types of Shirts for Layering Over Dresses

3.1 Button-Up Shirts

Button-up shirts are a versatile option for layering over dresses. They can be worn open as a lightweight jacket or buttoned up for a more polished look. Opt for shirts in breathable fabrics like cotton or linen, as they will provide comfort and allow the dress to drape nicely underneath. Choose neutral colors like white or chambray for a classic and timeless style, or experiment with bold prints and patterns to add interest to your outfit.

3.2 Oversized Sweaters

Oversized sweaters are another great choice for layering over dresses, especially during colder months. The loose fit of the sweater adds a cozy and relaxed vibe to your outfit while keeping you warm. Look for chunky knits or cable-knit sweaters in neutral tones like gray or beige, as they can easily be paired with different dress styles and colors. For a more stylish look, try tucking the front of the sweater into the waistband of the dress to create definition.

List of Best Types of Shirts:

  • Button-up shirts
  • Oversized sweaters
  • Turtlenecks
  • Cropped tops
  • Denim jackets

4. Tucked In or Untucked: What’s the Right Way to Style a Shirt Over a Dress?

The decision to tuck in or leave untucked when styling a shirt over a dress depends on the desired aesthetic and the specific dress and shirt combination. Tucking in the shirt can create a more polished and put-together look, especially when paired with a fitted dress. This style works well for formal occasions or when you want to accentuate your waistline. On the other hand, leaving the shirt untucked can give a more relaxed and effortless vibe, perfect for casual outings or bohemian-inspired dresses.

Consider the length and fit of both the shirt and dress when deciding whether to tuck in or leave untucked. If the dress is flowy or has a loose silhouette, it may be better to leave the shirt untucked to maintain a balanced look. Experiment with different combinations and try half-tucking the shirt for a trendy and modern twist on this styling technique.

5. Tips for Complementing Colors and Patterns When Layering a Shirt over a Dress

When layering a shirt over a dress, it’s important to consider color and pattern coordination to create a cohesive and visually appealing outfit.

5.1 Color Coordination

To achieve a harmonious look, choose colors that complement each other. One approach is to select colors from the same color family or opt for monochromatic outfits. For example, pair a navy blue button-up shirt with a light blue floral dress for an elegant and coordinated ensemble. Alternatively, you can experiment with contrasting colors by pairing complementary hues together, such as a yellow shirt with a purple dress.

5.2 Pattern Mixing

If you’re feeling adventurous, try mixing patterns when layering a shirt over a dress. The key is to balance bold patterns with more subtle ones or use patterns that share similar colors or motifs. For instance, pair a striped shirt with a floral dress by choosing one common color between them. This creates visual interest without overwhelming the overall look.

List of Tips:

  • Choose colors from the same color family
  • Opt for monochromatic outfits
  • Experiment with contrasting colors
  • Balance bold patterns with subtle ones
  • Select patterns that share similar colors or motifs

6. Choosing the Right Length and Fit of the Shirt for Layering over a Dress

Consider the Length of the Dress

When choosing a shirt to layer over a dress, it’s important to consider the length of the dress itself. If you have a shorter dress, opt for a longer shirt that falls below the hemline of the dress. This creates a stylish layered look while also providing coverage. On the other hand, if you have a longer dress, you can choose a shirt that is either cropped or hits at your natural waistline for a more balanced silhouette.

Find the Right Fit

The fit of both the shirt and dress is crucial when layering them together. If your dress is more form-fitting, choose a looser-fitting shirt to create contrast and avoid any unwanted clinginess. Conversely, if your dress is flowy or has an A-line shape, you can opt for either a fitted or oversized shirt depending on your personal style preference.


  • Experiment with different lengths and fits to find what works best for your body type.
  • Consider trying different styles such as button-down shirts, oversized t-shirts, or even chambray shirts for added versatility.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix patterns or textures between your shirt and dress for an interesting layered look.

7. Enhancing the Look: Accessories and Additional Layers for Styling a Shirt over a Dress

Add Belts for Definition

One way to enhance the look when styling a shirt over a dress is by adding belts to create definition at the waist. This helps to break up the layers and accentuate your figure. Opt for thin belts in neutral colors for a more subtle look or choose wider statement belts to add a bold touch to your outfit.

Layer with Jackets or Cardigans

To add another layer of style and warmth, consider layering your shirt and dress combination with jackets or cardigans. A denim jacket can give a casual and effortless vibe, while a tailored blazer can elevate the overall look for more formal occasions. Cardigans in different lengths and materials are also great options for adding texture and coziness to your outfit.


  • Experiment with different belt styles such as leather, fabric, or even chain belts for added visual interest.
  • Choose jackets or cardigans that complement the colors and patterns of your shirt and dress.
  • Consider adding statement accessories like scarves, hats, or statement jewelry to further enhance your layered look.

8. Appropriate Occasions and Settings for Styling a Shirt over a Dress

Casual Daytime Outfits

Styling a shirt over a dress is perfect for creating casual daytime outfits. It’s an ideal choice for running errands, meeting friends for brunch, or simply enjoying a relaxed day out. Opt for comfortable fabrics like cotton or linen for both the shirt and dress to ensure breathability throughout the day.

Semi-Formal Events

While it may seem unconventional, you can also style a shirt over a dress for semi-formal events. Choose a more structured shirt made from silk or satin paired with an elegant dress to create an unexpected yet sophisticated ensemble. This unique styling choice will make you stand out from the crowd while still maintaining an appropriate level of formality.


  • Consider the dress code of the occasion or setting when deciding to style a shirt over a dress.
  • Play with different fabrics, colors, and patterns to suit the formality of the event.
  • Accessorize accordingly to elevate your outfit for more formal settings.

9. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Styling a Shirt over a Dress

Avoid Clashing Colors and Patterns

One common mistake when styling a shirt over a dress is choosing clashing colors or patterns. It’s important to ensure that the colors and patterns of both the shirt and dress complement each other rather than compete for attention. Stick to a cohesive color palette or opt for neutral tones if you’re unsure.

Avoid Unflattering Proportions

Another mistake to avoid is creating unflattering proportions by choosing ill-fitting shirts or dresses. Make sure that both pieces fit well individually and work together harmoniously. Avoid oversized shirts that overwhelm your frame or dresses that are too tight when layered with a shirt.


  • Take time to plan your outfit in advance and try different combinations before settling on one.
  • Consider using color theory principles to create visually pleasing combinations.
  • Prioritize comfort and confidence when choosing the right fit for both the shirt and dress.

10. Outfit Ideas and Inspiration: Incorporating the Trend of Shirts over Dresses into Everyday Wear

Casual Chic Look

For an effortlessly chic everyday look, pair a white button-down shirt with a floral sundress. Leave the buttons partially undone and tie the ends of the shirt at your waist for a relaxed vibe. Complete the outfit with sneakers or sandals for added comfort.

Office-Ready Ensemble

To incorporate the trend into your workwear, layer a tailored blazer over a solid-colored sheath dress. Add a collared shirt underneath the dress for a sophisticated touch. Finish off the look with pumps or loafers and minimal accessories.


  • Experiment with different shirt styles, such as off-the-shoulder or ruffled shirts, to add variety to your outfits.
  • Mix and match different dress silhouettes, from fit-and-flare to maxi dresses, for versatile styling options.
  • Look for outfit inspiration from fashion bloggers or magazines to discover new ways to incorporate this trend into your everyday wear.

In conclusion, styling a shirt over a dress is a simple and versatile way to create unique and fashionable outfits. By following a few key tips, such as choosing complementary colors and experimenting with different lengths and textures, anyone can effortlessly elevate their wardrobe and showcase their personal style.

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