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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.
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:
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
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Anything your jeans can do, your slip dress can do sexier. This mantra adds a little rough-and-tumble vibe to your look.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
And you’re ready to stun.
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.