Dress Layering Is Your New Spring Style Hack

Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
We're living in a time where, style-wise, more is more. Thanks to pioneers of piling-it-on like Comme Des Garçons, and the newer guard of layering fanatics like Balenciaga, fashion has decided that the more clothing you’re wearing, the better, the cooler, and the more relevant you look.
With temperatures rising in New York fast, it may seem counterintuitive to want to layer our way through spring and summer. But layering doesn't always mean oversized and bulky. And there is a fun way to take the more-is-more approach while still giving your thighs enough ventilation — one that involves wearing two dresses at once.
Advertisement
Before images of sweating through your clothes come to mind, it's important to note that this particular concept is more for visual interest than warmth. Layering dresses is all about mixing silhouettes, colors, patterns, and textures and is meant to highlight the versatility of your pieces, as well as your own creative potential. And it’s as easy as taking a scan through your closet and experimenting until you find the combinations that work (hint: most pairings do).
Don't know where to start? We've got you covered.
1 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Amp Up The Volume
By now, you probably have one of these button-up tank dresses in your closet. Having taken over Reformation and just about every other fast-fashion and contemporary brand, this style has been a spring and summer staple for the past couple of years. But, where's the drama? Where's the interest? By layering it on top of a more voluminous piece (ideally in an on-trend, contrasting color), that sleeveless number suddenly feels brand new, instead of seasons old.

Ajaie Alaie She's A Soloist Dress, $180, available at Ajaie Alaie; Reformation Persimmon Dress, $198, available at Reformation.
2 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
When taken up a notch with a fuller skirt, this easy dress silhouette is transformed.

Ajaie Alaie She's A Soloist Dress, $180, available at Ajaie Alaie; Reformation Persimmon Dress, $198, available at Reformation.
Advertisement
3 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Bring On The Bodycon
Let's get this out of the way: Whether short, tight dresses are your lifeblood or the bane of your existence, they're not going away. But with effortless midi dresses of longer lengths becoming a staple of the moment, why not combine the two for an artful combination that tricks the eye just so?

PH5 Iris Wide Border Asymmetric Dress, $485, available at PH5; Mr. Larkin dress.
4 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
You'll probably live in cotton shirtdresses like this one all summer, but to dress it up for an evening out, throwing a tighter statement piece on top really gives this look something to talk 'gram about. Consider this the best of both worlds.

PH5 Iris Wide Border Asymmetric Dress, $485, available at PH5; Mr. Larkin dress.
5 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Update The LBD
The one thing you reach for when you don't want to think about getting dressed? That favorite black dress. But with a sleeveless version like the one seen here, you can add a punch of print and color by simply layering it over a contrasting (but just as flowy) number.

Nikki Chasin Baroness Dress, $450, available at Nikki Chasin; Rixo Emma Dress, $432.97, available at Rixo.
6 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Minimalism no more! Not only are you adding some color to an otherwise simple piece, but you're also adding some sleeve interest. The key is to make sure both fabrics are light and breezy enough to move together so you're not dripping sweat by 4 p.m.

Nikki Chasin Baroness Dress, $450, available at Nikki Chasin; Rixo Emma Dress, $432.97, available at Rixo.
7 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Layer On The Linen
This season is about leaning into to all things linen. As one of the lightest, most classic, and breathable fabrics in the game, a linen dress is the perfect candidate for a little two-in-one action.

Sleeper Baked Milk Loungewear Dress, $250, available at Sleeper; Hunter The Label Sun Dress, $174, available at Hunter The Label.
8 of 8
Photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Start with a short slip-style dress with a bold pattern, then layer on a robe-like linen moment; leave it all the way unbuttoned so it acts as a light duster. This is a pairing we'll be living in straight through to fall.

Sleeper Baked Milk Loungewear Dress, $250, available at Sleeper; Hunter The Label Sun Dress, $174, available at Hunter The Label.
Advertisement

More from Styling Tips

Watch

R29 Original Series