Dresses are one of the best wardrobe pieces to have in your closet because there are so many different lengths, patterns, and styles to choose from and style. Slip dresses, in particular, are popular for their versatility and layering appeal, even through the winter months. But what is a slip dress exactly?
A slip dress is defined as a dress made of thin, sometimes sheer fabric that skims the body. As the name suggests, you slip it over your body and it can be worn as an undergarment or a layering outerwear piece. Originally, a slip dress was meant to be worn underneath a dress or skirt to prevent static cling and keep skirts from bunching up at the hem. It was a silky, thin-strapped undergarment meant to maintain smooth lines.
However, the simplicity of the slip dress became popular as a standalone staple, particularly in the 1990s, among the rise of minimalistic fashion. There are slip dresses solely meant to be worn as undergarments as well as ones that can be worn on their own or with a layering piece. Since you can style a slip dress for any occasion, however you decide to wear it is up to you.
How to Wear a Slip Dress
New to the slip dress trend or wondering what is a slip clothing piece that’s appropriate to wear on its own? We have a few styling options to share and plenty of ways to mix it up. It can be worn as a standalone option, layered underneath a jacket or sweater for when the temperatures grow chilly, or styled as a nostalgic throwback. Try all styles and see which version fits you best.
Standalone Slip Dress Styling
A standalone slip dress is the ultimate look for the summer months and tropical destinations as a way to keep cool and look polished at the same time. When opting to wear a slip dress on its own, choose one in a cool pattern or a bright, bold color. Pair it with pretty resort sandals or low block heels and you’ll look effortlessly chic every time.
Slip dresses made out of slightly thicker materials make suitable slip dresses to wear on their own because they won’t appear too transparent. Stick with fabrics that feel good against the skin like silk or satin, but make sure you can’t see through them (unless it’s only near the hem) to avoid a potential wardrobe malfunction.
Also, keep jewelry to a minimum to avoid overwhelming this sultry style. Looks we love include the Zoe Slip Dress in the Bandhani Red or Devi print options.
Bandhani Red Zoe Slip Dress
The Bandhani Red Zoe Slip Dress’s Indian-inspired design is a beautiful mix of red lotus flowers against a warm golden background. The fit drapes against the body with an elegant neckline and front slit for a tastefully sexy appeal. With a material blend of 80% rayon and 20% silk, it feels soft and lightweight against the skin.
One thing to love about wearing a slip dress is the effortless appeal when styling it. A few accessories go a long way. Play up the warm color palette of this print with gold hoop earrings and a simple gold chain. Then, keep footwear neutral to let the slip dress pattern stand out on its own. When you have an interesting pattern to start with, it’s easy to build around and create a fashionable look.
Devi Zoe Slip Dress
For a fun and flirty option, the Devi pattern offers a new look on the same slip dress cut. A classic animal print is playful yet sophisticated, a must-pack option for your next exotic vacation. The rich browns and classic tiger print look stunning against sun-kissed skin and are bold standout choices for any occasion.
Stick with neutral tones or amp up the black highlights of the pattern with a strappy pair of black heels or slides. Then, add several delicate silver chains to accessories or opt for a solid cuff or bangle to pull together the entire look. An animal print deserves to be noticed, and there’s no better way to make it stand out than in the ever-alluring slip dress style.
Layered Up for Cooler Months
Another way to style a slip dress is to layer it underneath other pieces. When the temperatures begin to drop, you’ll want some extra fabric to keep the cooler breezes at bay. You can choose to expose as much or as little as you want. However, unless the dress is completely sheer, feel free to let the color and pattern shine, even if there are more see-through areas than others.
Accessories-wise, reach for chunky jewelry and closed-toe footwear. Also, consider adding a jacket, hat, or scarf to complete the aesthetic and make your wardrobe cool weather ready. Don’t worry, slip dresses may typically be considered spring and summer attire only, but there are plenty of ways to make them work year-round.
Though not technically labeled a slip dress, the Cher rust red stunner hits all the design elements that describe a slip dress. The metallic gold thread woven throughout makes this maxi dress a perfect fit to wear on its own, but it can be changed with a few layers.
For a dressier affair, pair the Cher Dress with a faux fur stole or a short coat and strappy heels. Keep the jewelry minimal with solid gold studs or small hoop earrings. Another style option is to layer on a multi-hued long jacket and anchor the look with black Mary Jane’s. It adds a retro vibe to the outfit and makes it ideal for a special occasion.
Firenze Corsage Midi Dress
Emulating the classic slip dress style, the Firenze Corsage Midi Dress is a staple everyone should have in their closet. Whether worn on its own or a layering piece, the unique micro-crinkle fabric and mid-length slit add modern elements to a timeless dress.
When it comes to layering the dresses for a cold weather look, there are endless ways to mix-and-match jackets, jewelry, and shoes. Want a rustic chic outfit? Add a suede fringed jacket and matching ankle booties. Add the ViX Ball Necklace in black for extra flair without being too overdone. Check out our blog to get more ideas on how to wear dresses in the winter.
Want to keep things pretty and polished? Pair with black heeled booties and a bold-hued oversized blazer for a night out. These are two examples of all the ways you can style the same dress. There are no fashion limits when you’re working with such a classic wardrobe staple.
In addition to the two main ways to style a slip dress, there’s the added option of taking it back to the fashion of the 1990s when minimalistic looks were a mainstay and playful touches were all the rage. After all, what is a slip dress if you’re not having fun styling it?
One of the key standout trends of the ‘90s was wearing a baby white tee underneath a slip dress. This simple addition changes the look instantly and gives it personality that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the slip dress itself. Take inspiration from the era of the high fashion model and opt for adding a layer underneath.
Agra Zoe Slip Dress
The sweet and feminine color of the rich violet Agra Zoe Slip Dress, which is adorned by blue exotic details, is the perfect pattern to try the white tee styling trick. Make sure the tee skims the torso, so it doesn’t bulk beneath the slip dress.
Pair with chunky boots and/or a choker necklace to take the throwback to another level. Or simply pair it with white resort sandals for a breezy look that still looks pulled together and polished.
Another take on a ‘90’s look is to layer on a cropped jean jacket and wear a pair of white Converse sneakers. The casual look dresses down the slip dress and makes it wearable to the farmers market, brunch with friends, or any other occasion. The great thing about slip dresses is you can wear them in several ways and take the styling season through season.
Slip dresses have evolved over the decades and changed from being worn solely to smooth out the top layer of the dress to being a staple piece that can completely transform a look. It can be worn in many different ways and is appropriate for all seasons, when layered up in the right way. All it takes is a few other pieces to create multiple looks. Need more inspiration? Check out our latest guide on How to Style a Slip Dress.
Plus, the style looks great on all body types and fashion preferences. Whether you want to go grunge or glam, casual or lean a little more formal, there’s no limit to when and how to wear a slip dress. Experiment with different styles and see how many outfits you can make when you work a slip dress into the rotation. If you’re interested in exploring other dress styles, check out our blog on What is a Caftan Dress?.