How to style a slip dress: 6 ways to wear this all-year round frock

Need help with how to style a slip dress? Here’s how to make this ‘90s trend feel modern and chic

Street style - how to style a slip dress
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A super versatile piece, learning how to style a slip dress will help to open up your wardrobe to new possibilities. While you might think the beauty in this look is its throw-on-and-go appeal, a slip dress can be worn and layered in multiple ways to make it one of the hardest-working pieces in your closet. 

No other item of clothing sums up the ‘90s as perfectly as the slip dress. Worn by a host of stylish women including Kate Moss, Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, it has played its part in magical red carpet moments. In the early Noughties, the lingerie as outerwear trend slipped out of fashion, but with '90s nostalgia very much on-trend right now, the slip dress has seen a resurgence in the last year, bringing it back into favor with the fashion crowd. The beauty of a slip dress is that it can be dressed up in a multitude of ways and despite it being a slinky, body-hugging dress - when styled correctly, it's a universally flattering style.

Mosope Ogunjobi, founder of Style Necessity, is a big fan of slip dresses because they can work for everyone.

"A slip dress falls flawlessly on all body types - it should graze the figure, and not be too loose or baggy,” she advises. 

She continues: “Many come with adjustable shoulder straps, so you don't get the gaping front when leaning forward. For those with curves, pay close attention to the cut, searching for styles that go in at the waist and get wider at the bottom. If you're broader across the top bring attention to your waist, so maybe look for a slip dress that twists or gathers at the waist, making it a focal point.”

How to style a slip dress: Inspirational outfits from a fashion editor

While it’s an obvious choice for a summer holiday or more formal event due to its slinky, shimmery material, the slip dress is much more versatile than that. These are the key wardrobe essentials that will help you style a slip dress and transform your look. 

Street style images of slip dresses

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1. How to style a slip dress on its own

Worn alone, the slip dress is the perfect evening dress, whether you're wondering what to wear on a first date or to a wedding, it's an integral silhouette of any capsule wardrobe. Add a killer pair of designer heels - courts or strappy sandals work well - and a swipe of bright lipstick and you’re ready to go! 

For a more casual look, you can team it with one of the big shoe trends 2022 - a sporty sandal, or even a pair of trainers.

A style tip: If you’re going to let the slip dress do the talking, Mosope advises ditching neutral shades for a little bit of dopamine dressing

"This summer, forget brown, neutrals, or classic creams - this season is an eruption of all things bright. Now it's time for us all to raise our mood with strong hues such as oranges, blues, pinks and greens - they're great colors to start with!” she says.

Three woman showing how to style a slip dress with a blazer

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2. How to style a slip dress with a blazer

One of the enduring fashion trends 2022 has brought to the fore is an oversized blazer, which is ideal when learning how to style a slip dress. The androgynous shaping of a blazer contrasts nicely with the feminine silhouette of the dress. While slip dresses are often midi length, a shorter slip dress looks great with a blazer of the same length - giving it an almost overcoat feel. 

If you're still working out how to style a blazer, you can keep your look tonal for a chic look or toughen it up with a black blazer and boots for a directional, pure grunge aesthetic. Utilizing a blazer is an easy way to create a more formal look with a slip dress and is also great if you’re conscious about your arms or bottom. If, however, you want to flaunt your waist and legs, choose a cropped jacket for a modern take on the look.

A style tip: To make this look more feminine, Mosope recommends choosing a slip dress with some lace.

"A lace slip is one of the most sizzling and sexiest dresses this summer - so if you're looking for a smoking night out/date night dress, look for a slip with lace,” she says.

Street style showing how to style a slip dress with a t-shirt

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3. How to style a slip dress with a t-shirt

A style classic, one again referencing fashion's current favorite era, a slip dress over a tee is '90s nostalgia through and through.

This time around however, it’s more glamour and less grunge. The key is to choose a slim-fitting t-shirt that won’t show too much under the slip dress. While you can’t go wrong with a black slip and white t-shirt, mixing and matching colors gives it a modern, fresh feel. Alternatively, a striped Breton top or graphic t-shirt will give an added edge to your ensemble. Just add your best white trainers or best Chelsea boots and you’re good to go!

A style tip: Hourglass body shapes or rectangular body shapes can add a belt to emphasize the waist or create one. Choose a statement-buckle design to give it a modern edge.

Street style - how to style a slip dress with a cardigan or hoodie

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4. How to style a slip dress with a cardigan or hoodie

Need some added warmth? Layer up with chunky knit or hoodie over your slip dress to banish those cold-weather blues. For the transitional months, this is a great way to get more wear out of your slip dress - a great brunch outfit idea. Add some chunky boots with your best sweater or some dad trainers with your best hoodie and you’ve got an outfit made for running errands. A lightweight, retro-waisted knitted cardigan over a pastel slip dress also makes for a pretty outfit if you're looking for an added layer over the best wedding guest dresses.

A style tip: Keep your slip dress going into cooler months with clever layering. Wear your slip dress over a t-shirt, add a cardigan and (if needed) finish with a classic trench coat. This will ensure you keep stylish, without compromising on comfort. 

Street style how to style a slip dress with a shirt

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5. How to style a slip dress with a shirt

Trying to work out how to style a slip dress for the office? Slide your best shirt underneath it, to instantly smarten up your look - just ensure you choose a slim-fitting shirt or a shirt body to ensure there’s no rumpled fabric ruining the line of your dress. 

For a more casual look, you can team your slip dress with an oversized shirt, wearing it over the top of your dress and knotting it at the front. 

If you really want to make a style statement, combine two dresses to create a whole new look. Similar to slip dresses, shirt dresses are wildly versatile, and when it comes to how to wear a shirt dress, the variations are endless. Choose one of your best shirt dresses, and pop it on over a slip dress, leaving it undone like a jacket. You can give it more definition by adding a belt or on-trend belt bag, cinching both layers, or just the slip dress underneath.

A style tip: Mosope says that the figure-skimming style of a slip dress is always improved with the best shapewear.

"Your slip dress will always give a (more contoured) silhouette if you wear good underwear, great underwear is fundamental to building a successful style - I always recommend investing in good underwear that works for you and your shape,” she says.

Street style how to style a slip dress with a sweater

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6. How to style a slip dress with a sweater

When does a slip dress become a skirt? When you team it with a great sweater of course. Choose a chunky knit - roll necks work really well - to contrast with a silky slip dress. This look adds huge amounts of versatility to your slip dress transforming it into a skirt that you can wear over and over with multiple knits.

Feeling hot? Tie it over your shoulders Parisian style or around your waist for a preppy finish. This look also pairs well with a graphic sweatshirt for a more casual feel. 

If you have a thinner jumper or polo neck, try wearing it under the slip dress in the same way you would a t-shirt to maintain the dress's silhouette.

A style tip: To make this look super luxe, keep everything in neutral shades and choose sensual fabrics such as silk for the dress, teaming it with your best cashmere sweater and suede boots.

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

With over 22 years’ experience in journalism, Jayne has written about a variety of subjects. She spent the start of her career within the world of film, interviewing Hollywood stars, attending premieres and lusting after red carpet outfits, and then moved into fashion, launching websites for big magazines such as Look, Woman’s Own and Wedding and working with top fashion brands such as Westfield, LK Bennett and Hunter. 

Career highlights include dressing up as Kylie (in gold hot pants!) for a national newspaper and working on big fashion events alongside Giles Deacon, Henry Holland and Naomi Campbell.