No matter the season, it goes without saying that my dresses are some of the simplest and most convenient pieces in my wardrobe. In the summer, I throw one on and run out the door with barely a thought because they’re the most practical item one can wear while summer temps blaze. In winter, the added thought is only to slip into a pair of tights and maybe layer a turtleneck underneath. No matter the season, however, dresses are always complicated by one thing: coats. In the summer, temperatures can swing from 90ºF midday to 65ºF at night in the blink of an eye, which means it’s essential to have a coat to combat the evening chill. In fall and winter, a coat practically becomes part of your outfit as you need one to even step out the door.
The challenge lies in the fact that, as a coat immediately becomes the most visible part of your ensemble, it can easily make or break an outfit. Styling coats with dresses can be particularly tricky, as the final layer can make the entire dress seem shapeless or even cover it in its entirety. But it’s necessary, and there are, in fact, ways that a coat can upgrade—and even highlight—the dress underneath. If you don’t believe me, read on to learn how to pair jackets with dresses.