Style

Dresses Over Pants: The Perfect Compromise

street style: dresses over pants

Layering game strong; Image: Imaxtree

Weird, neither-here-nor-there weather can make getting dressed tricky AF. Of course, we all know the secret to surviving any sort of transitional weather — global warming induced or no — is clever layering. This season, we’re championing one swathing method in particular: the ever-popular dress-over-pants look, as seen (most recently) on Selena Gomez, style stars like Pandora Sykes and pretty much every Spring 2018 runway.

dress over pants at Sharon Wauchob Spring 2018, Gucci Spring 2018, Miu Miu Spring 2018

Sharon Wauchob Spring 2018, Gucci Spring 2018, Miu Miu Spring 2018; Images: Imaxtree

For instance, at Sharon Wauchob, diaphanous pastel dresses were accompanied by shocking red trousers. At Gucci, the detail-minded Alessandro Michele let satin minis see the (partial) light of day, juxtaposing them between sheer patterned trousers and layers upon layers of loud knits. At Miu Miu, glamleisure reigned: sheer, drop-waist lace dresses (accented by Peter Pan collars and Adidas-esque stripes) came paired with tailored gray trousers, neon ankle socks and kitten-heel slingbacks (strangely, it worked).

dresses worn over pants at Chloé Spring 2018, Céline Spring 2018, Michael Kors Spring 2018

Chloé Spring 2018, Céline Spring 2018, Michael Kors Spring 2018; Images: Imaxtree

Chloé’s Natacha Ramsay-Levi gave a nod to her predecessor Phoebe Philo, teaming a ruffled, slit-hem prairie dress with tonal trousers and sturdy point-toe boots. Meanwhile, chez Céline, the aforementioned Philo got extra quirky, styling over-the-top fringe and sequin frocks with work-ready trousers, outsize trenches and 90s-style booties with squared-off toes. Even the relatively conservative Michael Kors tried his hand at the trend, sheathing a striped button-down/trouser set (or was it a jumpsuit?) in a minimalist navy midi dress. He finished off the tongue-in-cheek out-of-office look with an outsize white blazer and matching — wait for it — flip flops.

Outside the Spring 2018 shows, street style stars rocked dresses in every length, shape and fabric with all manner of pants (though denim was a clear favorite)

Outside the Spring 2018 shows, street style stars rocked dresses in every length, shape and fabric with all manner of pants (though denim was a clear favorite); Images: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images, Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, there were just as many off-the-runway dress-over-pants sightings as there were in the collections. Faced with unseasonably warm weather, the street style set mostly forwent outerwear, favoring flowy long-sleeved maxis worn over jeans or, in the case of Susie Bubble, a beaded, botanical-heart-embellished Ganni pinafore dress teamed with fringe-accented wide-leg pants, a coordinating striped turtleneck and neutral point-toe flats.

It’s easy to spot why the trend has grown so damn popular. It defies the limits of seasonal dressing, prolonging the life of your summer frocks; it’s (literally) a natural extension of the statement-top-with-jeans trend; it allows you to avoid rip-prone, stomach-cinching leg cages (also known as tights); it doesn’t discriminate between short and tall girls; it makes all your otherwise largely inappropriate sheer dresses work-friendly; it’s chic, comfy and fashion-forward.

As demonstrated above, the key to pulling off the ultimate no-longer-summer-but-not-quite-fall look is balance. Sporting an outsize knit dress? Dress up your outfit with ladylike, leg-lengthening heels. Pair dresses in lighter materials (chiffon, silk) with weightier bottoms (denim, velvet). If your frock is especially flared, reach for pants of a similar silhouette. (In general, you want to avoid skintight bottoms unless they’ve got standout accents like slits, stirrups or a center seam.) Also, don’t forget to size up. Worn over pants, fitted dresses tend to look forced and bulky, whereas smock-like, oversized silhouettes create a more streamlined look.

You get the idea. Probably. If you’re still feeling lost, a matching/tonal dress-trousers set is an especially easy way to dip your toes in the trend. And one last thing: when it comes to outerwear, opt for a structured jacket or a coat with a hemline that matches that of your dress. This’ll keep your ensemble looking chic and neat, rather than thrown together.

Now to try out the solution to all your chilly-but-not-cold weather woes. Click through the slideshow below to shop a few starter dress-over-pants looks.

[ Next: How to Nail the Dress-Over-Pants Look ]