Reader Question: Seven Ways to Style a Basic Grey Sweater Dress


Shana received this email from Melissa:

Hi Shana – I’m one of your long-time readers that followed you over from ANMJ (love the new name, BTW). I just bought a beautiful dress (40% off) at Banana Republic because it’s so comfy and fits unbelievably well.  I know it should go with a ton of things, and I can easily dress it up – but I want to wear it casually. Besides boots and a denim jacket, how would you style this dress? I’d also like to wear it on casual work days, but I have no idea how to dress it down. Please help!



Melissa, I hope you don’t mind, but I LOVED the dress and asked her if I could take this one.  When I was pregnant, I purchased a number of dresses similar to this Banana Republic one.  I didn’t want to keep buying “maternity” clothes that I could only wear when I was pregnant . . . I wanted to invest in things that would last long after G was born.  This particular dress is super flattering and can be worn during the early months of pregnancy and those difficult to dress months after the baby is born.  I came up with a few different ways to style it for work or play and found LOTS of items for my Christmas wish list along the way.  BONUS: Banana is offering 40% off your ENTIRE purchase until 11/11 (tomorrow)!  Use code BRGOOD.

Classic Leather Jacket

Leather jackets are my favorite all-around go-to clothing item that makes practically any outfit look better.  Add a funky necklace and some ankle boots with metal detailing and you’re good to go.  If you’re in a particularly cold climate like I am, you can add fleece lined tights like these Oroblu Brushed Fleece Tights for extra warmth.


Colorful Moto Jacket

Like leather jackets, I have a weakness for moto jackets and this one adds that perfect “pop” of color along with these navy flats from Banana Republic (that will definitely be on my Christmas list this year).  I love the detail around the ankle strap.  The bracelet (the spikes!) and necklace are from Stella & Dot and the necklace is a must-have in your wardrobe because it can be worn 5 different ways.  Seriously, if you buy one necklace this year, this should be it . . . click the link to check out the ways it can be worn.


Dress: Banana Republic Dress 

Jacket: ASOS Biker Jacket 

Flats: Banana Republic Bryany Flat

Necklace: Stella & Dot Sutton Necklace

Bracelet: Stella & Dot Renegade Cluster Bracelet

Plaid Button Up



After I bought a sheer plaid tunic last year, I was surprised by the number of times I reached for it when I was getting dressed.  Sheer button-ups are easy to dress up or down, don’t wrinkle and are super comfortable.  I’d pair it with a chunky scarf and wedge booties . . . and these awesomely unique earrings WILL be in my stocking this Christmas.  (Call me Santa).

Dress: Banana Republic Dress 

Button Up: Halogen Plaid Tunic Shirt (now 40% off!)

Booties: Blowfish Bilocate Wedge Booties

Scarf: ASOS Liquorish Chunky Knit Infinity Scarf (now 50% off!)

Earrings: Nadri Pave Curved Bar Studs 


A Cardigan & Boots

Because of the cold climate I mentioned above, the most typical way I style dresses in the fall and winter are with boots and a cardigan.  Here are four ways I’d do it:

1. Color

I love the yellow cardigan with the purple scarf and earrings.  (Both the scarf and earrings come in a number of different colors).  Grey boots keep the look soft and the ring would look awesome on my hand with the cardigan.



Dress: Banana Republic Dress 

Boots: Mia Jeri Western Booties

Cardigan: ASOS Collection Cardigan

Scarf: Halogen Dot Stitch Wrap Scarf 

Earrings: Kate Spade Stud Earrings 

Ring: Alexis Bittar Gold Ring (33% off!)


2. Moto Detail

I love a good cardigan (as Shana would tell you), but they don’t have to look stuffy.  Add some moto boots, a leather bracelet, and an awesome ear cuff and no one will accuse you of looking too conservative.


Dress: Banana Republic Dress 

Cardigan: Painted Threads Oversized Knit Cardigan 

Boots: Jessica Simpson Goldi Moto Buckle Booties (on sale til 12/1 plus an extra 15% off with code “VETS”)

Ear Cuff: BaubleBar Curb Links Ear Cuff 

Bracelet: Stella & Dot Cady Wrap Bracelet


 3. Neutrals

I love the way lighter neutrals look with the grey dress like these boots and blanket cardigan.  Stacking rings are my new favorite accessory because they’re so easy and don’t interfere with me holding or changing Greenlea.


Dress: Banana Republic Dress

Cardigan: ASOS Blanket Cardigan

Boots: Calvin Klein Moto Booties (now 40% off plus an extra 15% off with code “VETS”)

Necklace: BaubleBar Tassel Pendant Necklace

Rings: Ariella Collection Stackable Rings 

 4. Tall Comfy Boot

Although this cardigan sold out way too fast, I loved the color and the fact that it was a bit longer in the back (always good for leggings!).  This cardigan by Splendid is similar and currently 40% off – I’d get it in “cranberry.”  I’m also drooling over these grey boots . . . and they are 40% off right now . . . soooo, I can justify getting them . . .  plus they’re comfortable, right??



Dress: Banana Republic Dress

Cardigan: Tildon Cardigan (sold out),  Splendid Cardigan (similar)

Boots: Banana Republic Ciarra Tall Boots 

Necklace: BaubleBar Iced Lariat Pendant Necklace

Yes, I am a bit cardigan crazy.  Aren’t all teachers?  (I think that’s some sort of prerequisite).  I’ll blame it on the fact that my classroom was always freezing and I’m always cold.   OR, the fact that we live in the UP . . . as I type this the snow is falling like CRAZY outside . . . maybe I should order more fleece-lined tights . . . or boots.  Definitely more boots.

Thanks for writing in, Melissa!  I hope this helped!



PS – Working on a brow tutorial – coming soon!

PPS – The Nordstrom Clearance sale ends tomorrow (check out our picks here), as does the 40% off at Banana Republic (use code BRGOOD)….


  1. Boo, the 40% doesn’t apply to the dress because it’s a “BR Pick” — will have to wait for the (inevitable) next 30-40% off . . .

      • Thanks for your insights!!! I think I’ve shied away from it as my chest is a 32A- super small- so I don’t have something up top to balance out the smaller belly…I’m going to try it out! Thank you!

  2. Would you please write more about what to wear in the early months of pregnancy….when it is unclear whether you are pregnant or just having a bad day? 🙂

  3. Any tips on sweater dresses (or similar with fitted/clingy style) for those without curves? Even when in tip-top shape, I still have little-to-no waste and definitely no hips, overbalanced by broad shoulders. Dresses like this tend to emphasize the “carrot”!! 😉 But they just look so comfy and versatile!

  4. Love it – thanks for showing this! I especially love the color long cardigan [I rarely do long cardigans] with the bold purple scarf. Oh, and to those who haven’t tried the dress – I think I wear it once a week. It is my FAV and it looks awesome all of the time. And is super comfy, has long sleeves, and is washable!

    So many different ideas – I’ve got to figure out which one to try first. I really like the idea about an over-shirt too. I’m not quite as funky as the other suggestions [no ear cuff for me] but I get the gist.

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