Body Type

What to Wear Over Sleeveless Dresses To Cover Your Arms

There are a lot of beautiful sleeveless dresses, and they’re a great way to look modern and stylish. But I get it – Sometimes, for whatever reason, they can leave you feeling a little too bare.  Here’s what to wear over sleeveless dresses to cover your arms and feel confident.

What to wear over a sleeveless dress in summer - white linen cardigan

What to Wear Over a Sleeveless Dress in Summer

Sleeveless dresses are ideal in summer because they are casual, relaxed, and keep you cool. However, sometimes you may want to cover your shoulders to avoid getting a sunburn, feeling cold in an air-conditioned place, or feeling self-conscious about your upper arms. To look stylish while covering up, you can wear:

  • A Linen cardigan 

This type of cardigan is thin and breathable, making it an excellent choice for hot weather. I bought one last year and got so much wear out of it. It’s especially great for travel since it’s so lightweight. Linen cardigans come in many colors, but I find white looks fresh and goes with most summer dresses and other things in your closet.

I prefer linen cardigans with 3/4 length sleeves because they show off your forearms and look more breezy and youthful. Or, you can push up the sleeves to get a sporty summer look.  A linen cardigan over a sleeveless dress will give your outfit a  classic, conservative, friendly vibe.

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what to wear over a sleeveless dress in summer - animal print denim jacket

  • Demin Jacket 

A cute jean jacket is another stylish way to cover your arm in a sleeveless dress.  A classic blue or white denim jacket goes with everything, but why not reach for something different this year? Colored denim jackets in saturated pastels and earthy neutrals are trending. Or try this woven leopard print jean jacket that turns a classic sleeveless safari dress into a wow summer outfit with a natural, sporty vibe.

I’m also noticing many cute new details on denim jackets, like this feminine ruffle along the bottom here and on this cute off-white denim jacket I wore with cropped jeggings. That kind of detail – classic with a twist- makes you look right on trend. Tip: Want to draw attention up and away from a midlife tummy? Pop the collar to frame your face!

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black ribbed cardigan with red stripe

What to Wear over a Sleeveless Dress in Winter

Sleeveless dresses have become popular in the winter. But let’s face it; they’re not very comfortable or practical when it’s cold out. If you have found the perfect winter dress, but it’s sleeveless (why does that always happen?), try layering one of these over it:

  • Long cardigan: A long knit cardigan adds a cozy, sophisticated touch to a sleeveless winter dress. Layering is feminine and chic, making this outfit perfect for the office or after-hours dinner.
  • Blazer: A classic blazer over a winter dress is a classy way to cover your arms and look professional. This one-button jacket is one of my favorites, comes in many colors, and is affordable. Choose a wool or tweed blazer for added warmth and style.
  • Leather Moto Jacket:  To look edgy and cool, wear a leather moto jacket in black or another color over a pretty floral dress. This combination of masculine/feminine is perfect for a night out.


what to wear with a sleeveless dress in winter - suede jacket

  • Suede or Faux Suede Jacket: A light suede jacket that is moto-style, belted, or has a waterfall front is a stylish way to cover your arms and add texture to your outfit.
  • Sweater Jacket – Structured sweaters that look more like cropped jackets are trending. Wear a tweed or solid-colored sweater jacket with a simple sheath dress to keep warm and look polished.
  • Poncho Cape: Try a poncho cape over your sleeveless dress for a cozy, artsy look. A light cotton/cashmere poncho cape is dressy and classy.



what to wear over a sleeveless dress for work- plaid jacket


What to Wear Over a Sleeveless Dress for Work?

It’s acceptable to wear a sleeveless dress to most workplaces, but if you are stepping into a meeting and want to look extra powerful, add a second piece. A beautiful jacket with strong shoulders and impeccable tailoring will pump up your authority.

You can wear any combination of jacket and dress from a  solid color dress + matching colored jacket or a solid color dress and contrasting jacket (more authoritative).  Or, try a print jacket over a solid-color dress or a solid-color jacket over a print dress. (less authoritative).  They all give you that professional edge.

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what to wear over a sleeveless dress to a wedding


Are you going on a dinner date or to a dressy function after work? You may want to switch your jacket to something less structured and softer, like a pink poncho wrap.



what to wear over a sleeveless black dress

What to Wear over a Black Sleeveless Dress to Look Artsy

For fashionistas who like an artsy look, experiment with a kimono, ruana, or sheer wrap over a sleeveless dress. These are typically bright, colorful, and creative looking, with a boho vibe. They look fabulous with a casual black sleeveless dress since the colors pop against the dark background.

Ruanas and Kimonos are most flattering worn with a minimalist sheath, shift, or column-type dress. Flowy or tiered skirts add too much volume and look frumpy.

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What to wear over a sleeveless wedding guest dress - metallic wrap

What to Wear over a Sleeveless Dress for a Wedding?

If you are attending a wedding as a guest or as the Mother of the Bride or Groom, you might want to wear something over your sleeveless dress to be respectful in church. There are lots of options. For example:

  • Chiffon wrap: A lightweight shawl like a chiffon wrap is an airy choice that is perfect for summer. A hint of metallic shine makes it even more pretty and elegant.
  • Lace Jacket: A gorgeous way to cover your arms and make a plain dress look more elevated.
  • Cashmere Shawl:  Warm, practical, and elegant. Pashminas are a cozy choice for fall weddings.
  • Faux Fur Shrug: If you want full-out glam and a way to cover your arms in winter at a wedding or cocktail party, wear a stunning faux fur shrug.

Here are some more ideas on what to wear over a sleeveless Mother of the Bride dress in summer. 

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