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Guide: How to a Style Slip Dress

Although slip dresses have been worn in public since the 90s, there’s always still something a bit daring about them. A satin slip dress adds a cheeky wink to any outfit. It’s a look that says, “Oh, this old thing? That I know, I look fantastic in?” 

There’s a reason why slip dresses have become a wardrobe staple for the modern woman, particularly beloved for their ability to go from day to night (and even to bed, too). But even if you already have the perfect option hanging in your wardrobe, knowing how to style slip dresses for your everyday life is a different task entirely. 

With the right accessories at your disposal, there’s no shortage of ways to transform this silky number into a classy and contemporary look. You’ve got this, babe. 

What Is a Slip Dress? 

Before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what is a slip dress exactly. The satin slip dress is based on a delicate slip, typically meant to be worn beneath other clothing. But our modern iteration of the spaghetti-strap style dress is meant for the world to see. 

The dress is typically lined, and comes in fabrics like:

  • Satin
  • Silk
  • Chiffon
  • Linen

You’ll typically find that these dresses feature a low-cut neckline, but they can come in any length—from the most daring of mini dresses to ankle-grazing maxis. 

For a fit that looks like it was made for you, look for a classic slip dress that is cut “on the bias,” which is a dressmaker’s term for fabric that is cut at a diagonal angle. This tends to give clothing more elasticity while it drapes across your body in an unbelievably flattering way.1 

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7 Ways to Style a Slip Dress

This flirty style is a tried-and-true favorite amongst many a sexy, cool girl. It’s flirty enough to make you feel vivacious while being elegant enough to wear at a fancy event. That’s why the iconic dress style has made high-fashion appearances on the likes of: 

  • Kate Moss
  • Gigi Hadid 
  • Rihanna
  • Hailey Bieber 
  • Zoe Kravitz
  • Emily Ratajkowski 
  • Courtney Love

Moral of the story? The slip dress is an extremely cool look for extremely cool women—and you could be next. Here are seven effortless ways to work it into your wardrobe.

#1 Sweater Weather 

If you want to play some visual trickery on your audience, layer a cozy sweater over your classic slip dress during the cooler months. Everyone who looks at you will think that you’re wearing a skirt and separates, but you’ll know better. This styling trick works for all lengths of slip dresses, including: 

  • Maxi
  • Mini
  • Midi 

Just be sure to be intentional with your layering proportions. If you’re layering a mini-length slip dress, you can throw on a thick, oversized, cozy sweater and still look put together. But if you’re putting that same oversized sweater over a maxi dress, you may want to belt it. Making sure that your frame is visible no matter how many layers you’re sporting is the essential styling trick.  

#2 Turtlenecking

When the temperatures drop, but you don’t want to hide your slip dress under a sweater, reverse your layering. A turtleneck beneath a slip dress is an unexpected layering trick that keeps you toasty without sacrificing any style or sex appeal. 

The key to this look is to wear a turtleneck made from a thin, form-fitting material. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having your shirt bunch up underneath. A thin turtleneck will lay smooth, ensuring that your dress is the starring attraction. 

Look for a turtleneck in a contrasting color from your dress to make a strong visual statement. Or you can keep it neutral with black or white for a more minimal look. 

#3 The Great Outdoors 

Pretend that you’re just getting dressed for a regular day. Throw on all your normal layers and get ready to go outside. Only now, imagine that instead of jeans and a t-shirt, you’re sporting a slip dress. Acceptable layers include:  

  • Puffer jacket – There’s something wildly unexpected and utterly cool about pairing a slinky slip dress with a larger-than-life puffer coat. Although any puffer coat will do, if you can get a cropped kind that ends at your natural waist, it will elevate the dress that much more. 
  • Beanie – A beanie is an unexpected fashion topper that adds a dose of downtown cool to a slip dress outfit. Generally, you’ll probably want a muted color beanie, unless the rest of your outfit is neutral. If that's the case, then a bright color (like a neon green or bright red beanie) could be the perfect cherry on top. 
  • Thick socks and boots – Stay grounded with warm and sturdy workwear. Cable knit camp socks are not only the best choice for keeping your feet warm, but they also look wildly stylish when paired with a slip dress. Lace-up boots in neutrals like brown or black keep the whole look planted with your feet firmly on the ground. 

Anything your jeans can do, your slip dress can do sexier. This mantra adds a little rough-and-tumble vibe to your look. 

#4 Bejeweled 

Next, it’s time to let your jewelry do the talking. This style trick considers the statement as more of a beautiful backdrop than a focal piece. Pair the dress with a neutral-colored shoe and throw on your biggest, boldest, and baddest baubles. Don’t be afraid to go over-the-top with jewelry when the rest of your look is simple and restrained. This could include:

  • Earrings – The bigger, the better. If you have multiple piercings, fill them all. If you’ve got gigantic drop earrings, now’s the time to bust them out. 

  • Necklaces – It’s time to layer. Pair your slip dress with a stack of your favorite necklaces. Just be sure that they’re all different lengths so that each chain is visible. 

  • Bracelets – Stack up the bangles on your wrist and shake your hands. It’s a party look that’s particularly fun when you’ve got stacks of metal bangles and a light-colored slip dress. 

  • Anklets – Step into the latest trends with a statement anklet. While you can match and wear one on each ankle, going for an asymmetric look lends an edgier touch. 

  • Rings – For when style is quite literally at your fingertips, layer up on all the rings you want. 

  • Basically, you want to look like you just splurged at Tiffany’s—and you just happened to be wearing a slip dress while you did it. 

    #5 Work It Out 

    If your aesthetic leans more towards athleisure sensibilities, take your slip dress in tow. Pairing your dress with a pair of classic kicks (exactly like the kind you’d wear to the gym, but perhaps a bit less sweaty) is a modern way of making a slip dress daytime appropriate. When it comes time for additional layers, keep the rest of your accessories on the ladylike side to balance out the chunky sneakers. Opt for: 

    • Polished blazers
    • Pearl necklaces
    • Structured handbags 
    • Cashmere cardigans
    • Lacey peekaboo bras

    #6 Grunge is Great

    You can also style your slip dress with an ode to the queen of the slip herself—Courtney Love. In the 90s, Love was famous for wearing slip dresses to places like the VMAs, the Oscars, and Hollywood movie premieres—well before everyone else was doing it.2 It made her the queen of glam grunge. 

    If you’re trying to emulate her spirit, the styling trick is to keep your eye on boldness. That means: 

  • Makeup — While you don’t have to go for the smudged makeup look, nothing gives a slip dress that grunge nod like an impactful face. Go for lipsticks in either bright reds or dark shades. Bonus points if you wear dark eye makeup, too. 

  • Boots – Pair your dainty slip dress with its opposite in footwear: a clunky boot. The juxtaposition between the two makes a defiant statement. 

  • Flannel – If it’s chilly, throw a plaid flannel button-up over your dress. You may smell more like Chanel No. 5 than teen spirit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pay homage to Seattle grunge. For bonus points, throw an oversized denim jacekt or faux leather jacket on top of it all. 

  • #7 Minimal Chic 

    Listen, the slip dress looks fabulous on you. It’s time to let the world see it. 

    The excellent thing about a slip dress is that the item is so stylish alone, you really don’t need to pile on layers to make it shine. If the silk dress fits you in all the right places, simply slip on a few minimal accessories and let the silk dress do all your talking. For a sophisticated event, pair it with: 

  • Sandal heels – A strappy heel in a neutral color (skin tone, white, or black) will elongate your frame while letting everyone admire the pièce de resistance. (Which is you in your slip dress, naturally.)  

  • Minimal jewelry – The same principles apply up top. Keep any jewelry to a minimum. Maybe layer on one dainty necklace and a pair of thin, dangly earrings. Stop there. The slip dress outfit  is complete. 

  • And you’re ready to stun. 

    Slip Into Something More Comfortable With Gooseberry 

    Now that you know how to style a slip dress, it’s time to try out all the lingerie as outerwear looks. And the first part of that is buying yourself a slip dress that can do it all. 

    Gooseberry has a collection of slip dresses that can take you from the boudoir to the ballroom—and since you already know all the styling tricks, that shouldn’t be a problem.

    Browse our collection of intimates for slip dresses that look good enough to take out on the town. Whether you’re serving looks or just admiring your fab self in your bedroom mirror, Gooseberry will help you slip into something more comfortable. 


    1. Masterclass. How to Style a Slip Dress: 6 Styling Tips for Slip Dresses. 
    2. Nylon. Courtney Love’s Best ‘90s Fashion Moments. 

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