As you may remember, my summer uniform is a sleeveless dress and nude sandals. Since the morning have been cold lately, I've been reaching for jeans more often than I like. I have nothing against them. In fact, I love researching and finding the perfect pair of jeans for myself and my clients. Yet, I never feel as comfortable in jeans as I do in a dress. So, I decided to start fall by hunting for the best sweater dresses. I'm determined to make sweater dresses with ankle boots my fall uniform. Tights or leggings can be worn on the chilliest days here in San Diego. I'm also planning on throwing on a cropped jacket when it gets very cold here--you know below 60. As a bonus, several of these are currently on sale. Happy shopping!
CeCe Swiss Dot Knit Dress
CeCe Knit Dress, $119, available at Nordstrom and Macy's
Our first dress is this LBD from CeCe. It's a bit dressier than typical sweater dresses, making it perfect for work or evening. If you're feeling cold and bold, throw on a pair of colored tights. The fit is true to size.
Eliza J Mock Neck Sweater Dress
Eliza J Mock Neck Fit and Flare Sweater Dress, $76.80
Our second sweater dress is currently on sale and under $80. You may be wondering what the point of a sleeveless sweater dress is. The point is possibilities! You can layer a neutral turtleneck underneath and pair it with hoop earrings for a nod to the 90's trend. Or, you could pair it with a cropped, tan leather jacket. You could also throw on a trench coat. The key is proportion. Cropped jackets or coats that hit below the bottom of the hip work best. This dress does run a bit short, so if you don't like skirts above the knee, skip it.
DVF Wrap Sweater Dress
Diane von Furstenberg Wrap Sweater Dress, $256.80
Our next number is also on sale! For the woman with more professional wardrobe needs, this classic wrap dress from DVF can't be beat. The knit is luxurious and the dress is stunning in person. It may be too low for those with full chests. Of course, you can also throw a cami under this, if needed. This dress runs true to size and a little short.
Vince Camuto Sweater Dress
Vince Camuto Striped Sweater Dress, $76.80
When I first came across this striped dress, I thought it would only look good on a select few. However, it is surprisingly flattering on curvy women as well as those with straighter silhouettes. Can't you just imagine this with a cropped jacket and suede booties? What a cute, chic way to welcome fall (if it ever comes).
French Connection Body-Con Sweater Dress
FCUK Body-Con Sweater Dress, $98
In my college days, I spent a lot of time wearing French Connection. All of my favorite work and party dresses were from this line. I no longer own any French Connection pieces, mostly because they are no longer suitable to my lifestyle or shape. However, if you are young and/or fit, it is a great brand. The quality is there. It's evident in this gorgeous green sweater dress. I find French Connection runs small, more like junior sizing. This dress is also slightly sheer, so wear with tights or leggings. Enjoy, my flat-tummied friends!
J. Crew Striped Sweater Dress
For those looking for a looser fitting, casual option, this striped sweater dress from J. Crew is perfect. I love this one because it looks great on a variety of ages, body types, and works for nearly all lifestyles. The fit is true to size.
Free People Winter Sweater Dress
Free People Winter Break Sweater Dress, $148
This cute, mod inspired dress from Free People is as charming as it is cute. For those of you with more retro or bohemian tastes, this is a winner. Add red tights and a corduroy beret if you really want to lean in to the look. This one runs a little small, and short.
Free People On a Boat Sweater Dress
Yes, here is another great sweater dress from Free People. They truly excel at all things sweater-related. This is really more of an over sized sweatshirt than it is a dress, and that is why I love it. It's so slouchy and soft. You'll want to live in it. Leggings or tights are pretty much required with this one. It runs large. I still suggest ordering your regular size because that is how it looks best.
Ann Taylor Wide V-Neck Dress
Ann Taylor Wide V-Neck Sweater Dress, $129
Our final dress is from Ann Taylor. This is a great little number that can be worn for work or weekend. It is on the shorter side, so prepare to wear tights if you don't like skirts above the knee. Other than that, it's true to size.
With a busy fall on the horizon, this August I am taking a blogging break. I encourage you to take an end-of-summer break too, if you can. Take a few days, even a few hours, for yourself to rest up and recharge before fall madness begins. If you're craving some style advice in the meantime, I've rounded up my six most popular blog posts below.
My Top 6 Style Blog Posts
I am currently booking personal styling appointments from September 10 onward. I work with clients in person on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with limited availability on weekends. Please email me directly (email@example.com) to book, or visit the Work with Me page to learn more. Thank you!
Just as there are one million ways to make a sandwich, there are one million ways to make an outfit. This contributes to what I call "outfit overwhelm". It's that feeling of dread some women experience when looking at their closet full of clothes and finding nothing to wear. Fortunately, outfit formulas can make life easier. An outfit formula is similar to a recipe. We all know sandwiches usually contain two slices of bread and something in the middle. An outfit formula requires a top, bottom, and shoes. Take this concept a step further and prepare your outfits for the whole week ahead. I recommend doing this on Sundays. This level of wardrobe preparation will save you so much time, energy, and frustration. Over time, successfully implementing outfit formulas will help you craft a signature style.
Outfit Formula #1
Sleeveless Dress + Nude Shoes + Bold Earrings
Without even trying, you probably already have several "outfit formulas" in the mix. Look back through photos to see what you've been wearing recently. One of my go-to looks is a sleeveless dress, nude shoes, and bold earrings. You can make it as basic as "sleeveless dress" or as specific as "jewel-toned, solid color sleeveless dress".
Outfit Formula #2
Peplum Top + Skinny Jeans + Heels
Another one of my personal favorites, especially for photos and/or not shaving your legs is a peplum top + skinny jeans + heels. Again you can make this as specific as "light wash skinny jeans and patterned peplum top" or as broad as "skinny jeans and peplum top".
Outfit Formula #3
Button Down Shirt + Jeans + Heels
For my personal styling clients who have casual work environments, this is one of my favorite outfit formulas. I also recommend keeping a pair of sneakers in your car or tote bag. That way, if you need to take the kids to the park, a friend wants to go for a walk, or you must stop by the grocery store on your way home, you can be more comfortable. Wear a pair of stud or simple hoop earrings to keep it professional.
Outfit Formula #4
Blazer + Tank + Printed Shorts + Heels
For those of you with killer legs, this outfit formula is a surefire win. You can remove the blazer if you're making this a casual summer day or keep it on if you want to be dressy with your girls for a lunch date. Of course, the heels can also be swapped for sandals.
Outfit Formula #5
Blazer + Tank + Ankle Pants + Statement Necklace + Pointy Toe Shoes
Though I personally feel naked without them, not everyone can or wants to wear earrings. Statement necklaces are a great way to add personality to an otherwise boring, corporate work look. Of course, if you're in a creative environment you can make this look even more fun by wearing a printed blazer or a brightly colored heel.
Outfit Formula #6
Scarf + T-Shirt + Boyfriend Jeans
For weekend wardrobes and transitional weather, try adding a cute little scarf to basic jeans and tee ensemble. This accessory always gives personality and "put-togetherness". As a bonus, you will be warm if you walk into an overly air-conditioned environment.
Outfit Formula #7
Utility Jacket + Basic Top + Jeans + Sneakers
Wearing a utility jacket completes your outfit and helps prevent sunburn. I am basically a vampire living near the beach, so I get a sunburn if my shoulders are exposed for more than 10 minutes. If you don't have a utility jacket, this outfit formula also works well with chambray button-downs.
Outfit Formula #8
Pencil Skirt + Pumps + Shell + Tweed Jacket
Work separates can be so versatile. I love pairing tweed jackets with pencil skirts and skinny jeans. A tweed jacket typically has a boxy shape, so it is important to pair it with something more streamlined on the bottom.
Do you have any favorite outfit formulas? Let me know here in the comments, or over on Instagram.
Note: all images credit via Jaquelyn Wahidi's personal collection and/or Google Image Search.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My style blog features practical style advice for women everywhere. I've been addicted to blazers since 2004.