From Chelsea boots to trench coats, there are a handful of tried-and-true fashion staples that we find ourselves reaching for any time the temperature drops. And for dressier occasions, a sweater dress is one of those go-tos.
Cozy, fashionable and easy to style, sweater-style fall dresses are the ultimate cold weather wardrobe essential, even if many people don't immediately think of them that way. "Most people don't think of a dress when they think of fall and winter, because it's more revealing or doesn't provide as much coverage," fashion stylist Gianna Nucci said. "But that's what I love about a sweater dress, it helps to add a little bit of variety to your cold-weather wardrobe."
Here, we asked Nucci to share her tips on how to wear the staple piece for every occasion this season, whether you're heading to a party or meeting up with friends for a casual get-together.
How to style a sweater dress
Sweater dresses tend to fall into two main categories: form-fitting or more relaxed, oversized styles. The tighter options, which are typically made from a lighter, ribbed knit material are more suitable for evening outings, Nucci said. Think holiday parties, date nights or drinks with friends. When wearing one of these, consider completing the look with stockings, high boots and some festive jewelry.
The more casual styles, on the other hand, are perfect for workdays, lunches with friends and so much more. These can be worn on their own or layered under a jacket or a faux fur vest, Nucci said. If you're worried about the dress looking too bulky, you can also throw on a belt to accentuate your waist.
Both short and longer styles of boots pair well with these dresses, but Nucci said that you want to be conscious of your boot height, so it doesn't make you look shorter. Opt for taller options with shorter dresses and booties with longer ones.
With that in mind, we asked Nucci for her sweater dress recommendations and found some top-rated and bestselling options to consider as well.
Sweater dresses for women to shop
Old Navy Fitted Rib-Knit Mock-Neck Mini Dress
Available in six colors that are a perfect fit for fall or cool colors to ring in wintertime, this dress sits right above the kneecaps so you can pair with your favorite knee-high boots. This is a "great fitted dress that transitions well for fall and winter," one reviewer said.
H&M Cable-Knit Turtleneck Dress
Channel your inner "Knives Out" character with this turtleneck dress from H&M. Reviewers recommend sizing up in order to wear as a dress, otherwise stay true to size when wanting to wear as a longer sweater with leggings or jeans. "I love it for layering," said one reviewer. If that's the case, pair with a denim jacket or puffer vest to still feel warm and cozy without skimping on style.
Free People Picnic Sweater Dress
A breezy, lightweight, don't-have-to-try-to-hard option on those mornings when rolling out of bed is an accomplishment, this sweater dress from Free People has got your back. With "exaggerated" side pockets according to the description, keep your essentials by your side while wearing this "flattering, comfortable and unique" dress, according to reviewers.
Athleta Cozy Karma Asym Sweater Dress
Size-inclusive, stylish and a great athleisure option for sweater dresses, the cozy dress from Athleta "fits great" and is "very flattering," according to reviewers. Fold the collar down or wear as a turtleneck with the adjustable zipper that falls near the collarbone. Plus, keep essentials on hand with two pockets large enough to hold phone or keys.
Quince Mongolian Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater Dress
Available in four colors, Nucci likes this classic sweater dress, which features a relaxed, yet slim fit. It's practically a steal for a cashmere dress with its price point, too.
Wayf Lombard Mockneck Sweater Dress
This option features unique shoulder details, which Nucci said adds some interest to the dress. “This also hugs the body nicely without being too snug or baggy,” she said.
ZESICA Batwing Sleeve Knit Pullover Sweater Dress with Belt
Stand out at your next party in this Amazon dress. Between the tie at the front and the cutout at the back, it has so many stylish details that are bound to get you compliments.
Express Ribbed Turtleneck Midi Sweater Dress
Reviewers say that this is the “perfect” sweater dress for the season, and it’s easy to see why. It has a chic turtleneck collar, a figure-hugging fit and is made with a soft fabric that will keep you cozy all night long.
Nina Leonard V-Neck Balloon Sleeve Sweater Dress
Make a statement in this dramatic balloon-sleeve sweater dress. It’s available in six bold colors — we think that the red option is a great choice for the upcoming holiday season.
Pink Queen Loose Turtleneck Oversize Pullover Sweater Dress
We bet this turtleneck dress feels just as cozy as it looks. The style comes in 30+ colors and patterns, including trendy beige and cheetah print. Grab just one or stock up on a few, so you'll have one to wear for every occasion.
Lulus The Best Yet Ribbed Bodycon Sweater Dress
"This dress is so warm and luxurious," wrote one reviewer. "Looks like I spent a lot more money on it than I did. Paired with cute booties or heels — [I] can't wait to wear it to an event, holiday party or anywhere!"