How to Wear A Dress in the Winter

7 years ago by


Erik Melvin


Brie Welch

No really, how does one wear a dress in winter? This is a question which not only perplexed Garance, but the whole team. We spend months gleefully sashaying through the days of summer, bearing our legs and enjoying the breeze from our feminine frocks. But can that same girlish charm be accomplished in winter or are we stuck with jeans and a sweater for 4 long months?

Below, a few ideas to apply and try in your own wardrobe:

how to wear a dress in the winter garance dore photo

1. I strongly believe in wearing as many layers as possible as long as you are comfortable and have full range of motion for all limbs. This idea comes naturally with the shirtdress – adding a fitted sweater / warm vest that hits around the same length as the dress, before adding the final layer of coat at a length of your discretion.

2. Additionally, don’t be afraid to wear pants under a dress! I know, I KNOW, it seems too fashion. But when you have the option to wear heat tech leggings under a pair of loosely fit trousers wouldn’t you like to take that option? The trick is, wear a pant that has the same drape as your dress, i.e. silky dress paired with fluid pant.

On Coco: White Coat, Tory Burch ; Blue vest, Creatures of the Wind ; Top, Tibi ; Pants, Sea ; Shoes, By Far ; Earrings, Ariel Gordon / On Rebecca: Jacket, Helmut Lang; White Top, Sea ; Sweater Dress, Sea ; Pants, Dion Lee ; Earrings, Ilana Ariel ; Shoes, Tibi

how to wear a dress in the winter garance dore photo

how to wear a dress in the winter garance dore photo

3. A spring summer dress CAN be worn in winter. Simple suggestions to making this work: a good pair of tights for the mini versions and a ridiculously cozy oversized sweater. Done and done.

4. Over the knee boots are the perfect leg warmer for those of us not inclined to a wardrobe more similar to that of a ballerina. They work especially well under an otherwise evening appropriate lace embroidered dress!

5. Oh, do you also love a slip dress? Welcome to the club! I wear mine all year long, with athletic leggings (via Céline fall 2016), with a slim sweater over, and just to mix it up – yes, even with a skinny jean (a very rare appearance indeed). No real way to explain, but these things just work!

On Rebecca: Coat, Ganni ; Dress, Protagonist ; Sweater, Protagonist ; Fur, Helmut Lang ; Shoes, The Row ; Earrings, Iliana Ariel / On Coco: Coat, The Row ; Skirt & Top, Gabriela Hearst ; Boots, 3.1 Phillip Lim ; Earrings, Ariel Gordon ; Bag, Edie Parker

How to Wear A Dress in the Winter
How to Wear A Dress in the Winter

So there you have it, a few tips and tricks to help navigate your dress woes into dress wows on the delightful Rebecca and Coco.

On Rebecca: Sweater, Gabriela Hearst ; Dress, Maison Mayle ; Scarf, Theory ; Hat, Hesperios ; Earrings, Baker & Black ; Boots, The Row / On Coco: Coat, Thakoon ; Dress, Ganni ; Bag, Maison Mayle ; Shoes, Ulla Johnson ; Turtleneck, Misha Nonoo ; Earrings, Ariel Gordon


Add yours
  • a lot of the clothes are too big/too long for them… but cute, sure

  • What I do not understand at all is how anyone can survive in jeans in winter. They are just soooo cold! Once the temperature drops below 5°C (hello from Europe!), I just NEVER wear jeans or trousers! Winter is only survivable in dresses/skirts, 100+den tights and cute boots! Don’t be afraid to embrace the warm tights :)

  • Couldn’t agree more!!! :-) Love from Norway

  • Literally wearing a draped dress over a turtle neck and black skinny jeans today. And a sweater!

  • i love look of a slim fitting turtleneck under a loose fitting dress. and my favorite in winter is to wear a midi length dress with thick tights or leggings and high boots so no one can actually see what’s going on underneath. i like the pants under a dress look but i’m older so i like to keep it simple.

  • So in my case (-10°C today, hello from Poland) – thermo tights worn under jeans are the best option :D But I also wear thermo tights with mini dresses and cute boots, just like Leia said. But also I have to say that amazing sharp winter sun always gives me so much energy that I get too warm in regular parka and wool jumper kind of combo. Whenever I go out of the house with my kids we immediately start jumping in any heap of fresh snow and by that point technical wear is necessary :)

  • Hello Brie,

    I love these style stories from you! I have been wondering what you do with the clothes after the shoot, so you keep and wear them and have alterior motives when you style them you may have them in your closet? distribute them amongst staff as write off, etc? What happens to these clothes you buy for the shoot? Most stylists return them, I hope you all don’t do that sort of thing! But what….where do they go??????

  • Hi Annie,

    I’m Tori, the fashion assistant to Brie here at the studio! And that is a really great question. To put your mind at ease, we do not buy and return the clothes! But, we also do not get to keep them :/ We work with various in-house designer contacts and PR agencies to simply borrow the clothes for the day and they are known as “press samples.” :)

    Tori x

  • It was -20 where I woke up this morning and the snow banks are past my knees. These models look like they are dressed for a nice fall day!

    Garance, I’d love a fashion story or tips for looking chic and staying warm in a serious winter! We northern gals like to look nice too. :)

  • Please provide information on grey fur vest in “how to wear dress in the winter” article.

    Best Regards,

  • Hi Mi Jung,

    The vest is from the brand Creatures Of The Wind!

    Tori x

  • What a nice post! Thank you for sharing. I also wear jeans under dresses very often. It looks absolutely fine, just depends on what style of dress and jeans to choose. :)


  • Nice post! Thanks for sharing with us. I also like wearing jeans and other pants under dresses. It looks fine, just depends on what style of dress and pant to choose.

  • Cute ideas but I’m a bit confused why one would need to wear a summer dress in winter…no budget for an actual winter dress? Or want to…isn’t it wonderful to be able to wear a snug cashmere or merino dress from neck to knee? a tailored wool cashmere dress over a skinny turtle neck. I live in Asia and don’t have cold weather, I’d love to be able to wear those warm winter dresses with boots, summer dresses are over rated!

  • Both outfits are gorgeous x

    Jessica — NinetyCo 

  • Erm…just tights and boots, and a long coat? I don’t think you need to make it more complicated than that! :) I especially love sweater dresses in the winter; I have this adorable maxi wool dress from Zara that I pair with long brown leather boots..and the dress goes over the boots! Perfect! For reference, I’m in Estonia, we had -13C last week.

  • Hello de Paris ! et oui le mieux comme l’a dit Leia est vraiment le combo boots ou cuissardes + collants épais + robe ou jupe avec teeshirt dessous et pull/gilet puis manteau ou parka (voir une veste entre deux si vraiment très froid) et c’est bien plus chaud, confortable et facile pour tous les jours. Je passe mon hiver ainsi et même quand ça tombe en dessous de zero : dans ce cas des boots fourrées type Knowles de chez Isabel Marant font parfaitement l’affaire, bises !

  • I absolutely love all outfits ! But as a Muslim woman, this is something we often do to get a bit “modest” and still wear cool dresses. Add a long coat or an abaya and you’re ready to go ! Anyway, I really enjoyed seeing fresh new ideas here !
    xo, Meryl

  • Stéphanie January, 11 2017, 8:10 / Reply

    magnifique ! J’adore vraiment vos séries mode qui présentent des looks à la fois pointus et faciles à reproduire. Merci ! !

  • Hi! Who makes the mint green bag?


  • Not a huge fan of this but some good tips for layering!

  • I love the inspiration here; thanks for a great article. I wear dresses all year ling and am always looking for ways to layer them while staying warm. One tip to share: Oak & Fort has some amazing sweater dresses in stores right now! I wore one the other day with thermal tights and was toasty warm, even in -20C weather. Cheers from northern Alberta!

  • I love the inspiration here; thanks for a great article. I wear dresses all year long and am always looking for ways to layer them while staying warm. One tip to share: Oak & Fort has some amazing sweater dresses in stores right now! I wore one the other day with thermal tights and was toasty warm, even in -20C weather. Cheers from northern Alberta!

  • I agree with Leia. I don’t wear any jeans or pants at all during the winter, (I don’t even remember where there are), its just too cold, I dont know how you guys do this.
    I always wear some mini-skirt or dress because I’m not really tall like a model, I just put some thermic tights and low boots. The thing is : you have to be really warm on the top, and it’s going to balance with the bottom, so I have a collection of oversize pullover that you can wear with a thermic t-shirt underneath, and for the coat, I have a fake fur jacket which is the warmest thing ever.
    And I live in Switzerland where it’s -10 right now, and I’m not cold.

  • Hello Tori, could you kindly tell me where the dress in the header picture on the right girl is from? Many cold kisses and hugs and a big thank you from Berlin!

  • Sign of looking in winter season is actually the right thing for a Superb look.
    To maintain A stunning look and along with that to maintain yourself warm you can just get a Heated Jacket which will be best use in now a days. Use of Electronic Technique used in Jacket.

  • Error: you are “baring” your legs in summer, not “bearing”

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