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Manolo Blahnik leopard print pony hair boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own)

Knit dresses are perennial trend and among winter style favorites in cold climate regions. Unfortunately, they are tricky to wear with natural menopausal body changes. This guide covers multiple ideas and tips on how to wear knit dresses over 40, what to look for in a knit dress as well as what to avoid when jumping the bandwagon on this trend.

Contents
  1. Knit Dresses are Having a Moment
  2. What to Look for When Buying a Knit-dress
  3. Shapewear Is a Must
  4. Tips How to Style a Knit dress
  5. Accessories and Matching with Other Attire
  6. Knit-dress Outfit Ideas
  7. How to Wear a Knit Dress in Frigid Cold Weather
    • Insulation Is Key
  8. How to Get more Wear out of a Knitdress
    • Wear It as a Long, oversized Sweater
    • Style it as a maxi dress
    • Give the Illusion of a Mixed Fabrics Attire
    • Other Ideas on How to Wear Knit Dresses
  9. When to Kiss the Knit-dress Trend Off
  10. Wrapping Up How to Wear a Knit dress

Updated: 9/2021

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no extra costs for you.

 

Knit Dresses are Having a Moment

Are you in love with that knit dress in the window for 60% off and torn whether or not to get it? Your little angel tells you “knit dresses are a classic, go for it, beauty.” However, the little devil in your head tells you “a knit dress can be tricky even when you are slim.” Your angel reminds you that your criterion to buy is to come up with three looks with the knit dress. The little devil may go on and on. Like not every trend is for everybody. Or that 50% off is not a good deal.

When you are a regular reader, you may have seen how I wear my knit dress over 50. In the following, there are five tips. When youpay attention to them you can wear it right. These tips may also be helpful to make a decision and peace between the angel and devil in your head and you and the knit dress.

 

post banner of the how to wear knit dresses over 40 guide

What to Look for When Buying a Knit-dress

To find the perfect knit dress make sure to keep the following tips in mind before you hand over your credit card.

  1. It is very important that the knit dress has enough ease to not look like a sausage on two legs. You should be able to gather half an inch (1.3 cm) of fabric without that the knit stretches. Since the fabric is doubled when you do this, it means you need at least an inch of ease. The ease allows the knit dress to flow over your body. This means it hugs your body rather than being bodyconcious. Any more would look bulky and you would look heavier than you actually are. Nobody wants this. Period.
  2. The length should be long enough that it is clear that you did not forget to put your jeans on. It should be short enough that you don’t look like an Old Lady. This means the hem should hit anywhere above or around the the knee, but not higher than two hands width above your knee. The one in the photo is the absolute shortest I would go. As you see it is 2 inch (5 cm) longer than the tip of my hands.
  3. Go for a classic slightly tailored at the waist cut.
  4. Buy the highest quality you can afford. Merino wool, cashmere or blends thereof look polished and sophisticated.
  5. When you go for a knit (read not fine jersey), a solid color is a Must unless it’s intended for the weekend only.

fashion blogger in white dress with brown accessories

stilist in winterwhite rib kinit midi dress with beret
Gucci G belt, GNW tights, Fendi booties, smokyquartz pendent necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Söfft shearling buckle booties, LeatherCoatsEtc beret (all own) and rib dress c/o Femme Luxe

Shapewear Is a Must

This may be the bad news. When the dress is body concious, wearing shapewear is inevitable. A loose version like the teal dress can work without. My arsenal of shapewear has grown over the last decade or so. And I love the feeling of pressure and being in control. However, I know, many women just plain hate that feeling. If so, go for a more relaxed style.

Tips How to Style a Knit dress

To look stylish and polished try the following styling tricks.

  1. Go for a vertical ribbed pattern to avoid adding weight and/or to create a slimming effect. Recall: Vertical lines lead the eyes up-and-down giving the illusion of height.
  2. Try a monochromatic outfit for looking taller than you are.
  3. The dark colors of your palette have a slimming effect. Thus, avoid pastels, light colors or red when you can’t afford the visual extra weight these colors add.
  4. Yes, there are underwear issues to consider. No VPL (visible panty line). Like with thin jeans or leggings, thongs avoid this. Laser cut briefs with gel line instead of rubber bands work well too if you don’t mind them.
  5. Wear the right shapewear underneath. Even I do (and shapewear is hard to get in my size). Go for a shapewear slip. The ones with gel on the hem are perfect. They do not ride up. The shapewear slip has the advantage that you avoid creating awkward lines where shapewear separates would meet.  The ones with built-in cups are best, but do not come in plus and small sizes. When you can’t get a shapewear slip with built-in bra, go for a bra with a wide band and straps to avoid cut-in. It is the bra equivalent of avoiding VPL.

 

influencer in teal dress with pendant belt
Judith Leiber gemstone pendant belt, DIP teal sweater dress, GNW leopard print tights, Fendi booties

 

Accessories and Matching with Other Attire

  1. Accessorize wisely. A little heel is fine, too high heels enter Pretty Woman territory, too flat heels come across too young/girly (read sweet little 16). Add professional looking jewelry like, for instance, pearls. This means stay away from glam, flashy, and too sparkly. Try accessorzing with a belt for shape.
    Kieselstein Cord belt and Collier de Chien bracelet
    Barbour cable knit dress accessorized with a Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Hermes collier de chien leather band bracelet and bangle and Festina watch

     

  2. A long cardigan, tailored leather motorcycle jacket, denim jacket or blazer and/or belt are nice grownup stylish additions too (see photos later in this post).
  3. Add a brooch or statement belt instead of a necklace. More on accessorizing with brooches.
  4. Wear shorter than 4 inch (10 cm) above the knee knit-dresses with leggings on the weekend (see striped dress later in this post).
  5. Try a straight skirt underneath for sophisticated work look (see the photo with the pink sweater dress and burgundy skirt, boots later in this post). The dress over skirt look is a chic layering trick to maintain style in painful cold weather while staying comfortable when you have to wait for a bus.

 

fashion blogger in below the knee sweater, gemstone belt, leopard print boots, black tights
Rebecca Collins gemstone belt, DIP sweater dress, HIPSTK opaque tights, Manolo Blahnik leopard print pony hair boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle

 

Knit-dress Outfit Ideas

The photos below give some inspirations how an over 40 years old can wear the trend without looking like trying too hard or not trying at all. Full disclosure, I am way over 50 years old. When I can do it, you can do it too. Of course, if you want too.

Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.

 

Nicole of High Latitude Style featuring Femme Luxe's Penelope sweater midi knit dress
GNW purple tight,Söfft shearling buckle booties, unbranded belt, Heide Ara buckle, amethyst earrings (all own) and Penelope sweater dress c/o Femme Luxe

 

fashion blogger demonstrating how to wear knit dress over a sheath
Vince Camuto suede tall boots with golden chains, GNW tights, GNW scarf knotted in a European loop, gemstone statement necklace, Calvin Klein sheath, Hermes collier de chien bangle, DIY bangle with quartz crystal (all own) and knitdress c/o Femme Luxe (review of this knitdress)

 

How to Wear a Knit Dress in Frigid Cold Weather

The outfit in the photo below shows what I wore was -49F (-45oC) at night! To stay warm I wore underwear (bra, cami, long sleeve T-shirt, slip, undies), two pairs of tights, and socks in the boots. Oh, yes, the boots have an insulation insole. It’s important to learn how to avoid cold feet at frigid temperatures.

stylist in in ribbed knit dress outfit inspiration
Outfit details: Silk neckerchief, suede statement belt, Modalo Pippa bag, Vince Camuto suede boots (all own), tight c/o No nonsense, and gray ribbed knit dress c/o AMICLUBWEAR

 

Insulation Is Key

The ribs of this gray sweater dress nicely hold air. Thin air layers or air pockets are a great insulation. Together the layering of clothes and the thin air pockets of the ribbed dress provide good insulation. This insulation permitted us taking the outfit photos without me catching a cold or feeling uncomfortable. 😉 You can find more on how to look great in the bitter cold of Alaska in the January lookbook.

Fun fact about taking the above photo: My photographer wore thermo-pants over jeans (unvisible) and a down coat over several layers of shirts. He got cold fingers holding the camera. He also tried to finish the shoots in short time. I was outside in this outfit for less than three minutes. Taking outfit photos challenging in the Arctic in the deepest of winter for various reasons. See the post at the link to find out more.

While you can create (invisible) insulation by multiple pieces of underwear (like in the look above), you also can maintain great style in painful, cold weather by chic layering as well.

 

How to Get more Wear out of a Knit Dress

Today’s post belongs to the series on how to get more wear from your wardrobe. It addresses how to wear a dress multiple ways. To get their price worth of wear from any wardrobe additions, think about which new outfits the “potential” piece will bring to your wardrobe.

Think of them as a potential top or bottom. It’s so yesterdecade to wear your dress just one way and only as a dress. In this post, I use  (see the link for a review), to illustrate the concept for you and hopefully inspire you to embrace the idea.

Who does want to repeat the same look again and again?

Here three tips of more possibilities how to switch thinks up with a knitdress.

 

Wear It as a Long, Oversized Sweater

The following idea shows an example of styling the knit sweaterdress as an oversized long sweater over a mesh dress and leggings. Any seethru skirt or dress may work. Just make sure the leggings pick up the color of the see-thru piece to not look shorter than you actually are. Add a belt that works for your body type for shape. See this post to learn which belt is best for your body shape.

 

details of labradorite and pearls belt, mesh slip, sweaterdress

style book author in casual leggings sweater pink and black look
Labradorite and pearls belt, unbranded mesh slip, GNW tights, Salamander shearling booties and sweaterdress c/o Femme Luxe

 

Style It as a Maxi Dress

The following look is inspired by the dropwaist style of last century’s Roaring Twenties. Try a tulle or lace skirt underneath your knitdress. Stay with the color theme for best results. Avoid a too large contrast.

over 50 years old fashion blogger in knit dress over tulle skirt with tall boots

stylist in tulle skirt with knitted top, knee-high boots, belt

Nicole of High Latitude Style in dropped waist skirt, top, belt, tall embelished heels boots
Outfit details: Rebecca Collins belt, DIY brooch, Festina watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Taylor’s Gold’n Stone ice cube quartz earrings, upcycled tall boots, tulle skirt c/o Lookbook Store and knit dress c/o Femme Luxe

 

Give the Illusion of a Mixed Fabrics Attire

Try a slightly longer sheath under the knitdress in a matching color. Choose the color in such a way that it’s believable that they belong to the same piece. Going for a  monochromatic look is the easiest way to create the illusion of a mixed fabrics piece. Another way is to go with the same color family, one piece in a pastel version of the other like in the example below.

 

style book author in burgundy muted pink mixed fabrics dress look

Alaskan blogger in dress over dress outfit with tall boots, tights, scarf
Outfit details: Vince Camuto suede tall boots with golden chains, GNW tights, GNW scarf knotted in a European loop, gemstone statement necklace, Calvin Klein sheath, Hermes collier de chien bangle, DIY bangle with quartz crystal (all own) and knitdress c/o Femme Luxe

 

Other Ideas to Wear a Sweater Dress

Try it with skinnies, leggings or as a mini dress with opaque tights for the weekend. You can find a style guide on how to look ageless in knits in general at the link.

Add a scarf and patterned tights

fashion blogger over 50 in sweater dress with booties dress
Anne Klein scarf, statement belt, polka dot tight (all own), knit dress c/o Amiclubwear and Musse & Cloud booties c/o Coolway

 

What about styling a monochromatic look?

stylist wearing a blue dress, boots, belt, statement necklace and floral scarf holding MessyWeekend sunglasses
Sunnies c/o Messyweekend with own unbranded silk scarf, Diane von Fürstenberg knitdress, Gucci scarf, statement necklace, topas earrings, L.K. Bennett tall boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Festina watch and Prada bag

 

Wear a striped sleeveless jumper with items in the color of the stripes

fashion blogger showing how to wear a sleeveless striped knit dress with layering top, tights and pink pumps
Missoni dress, statement dagwood flower beaded necklace, DIY cuff, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own), tights c/o Hipstik Legwear, layering top c/o Cami Confidential, and Ivanka Trump pink suede pumps c/o Wikibuy

 

Wear a short dress with leggings instead as a mini

older influencer in black red green white striped dress
Zaful black, red, green, white striped mini dress, black leggings, red with white dots Keds, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Notations white and black striped cardigan, Hermes red Constance bag, statement necklace (all own), and bracelet c/o Lizzy James

 

Go for a desaturated look

gray knit dress over 50 with pink belt
Silk neckerchief, suede statement belt, Modalu Pippa bag, Vince Camuto suede boots, tight c/o No nonsense, and gray ripped knit dress c/o AMICLUBWEAR. See my review of this AMICLUBWEAR ribbed sweater-dress at the link.

 

stylist illustrating how to wear a knit dress in a blush as a desaturated color look
Pink knit jumper dress c/o Femme Luxe with own silver belt, GNW tight, Max Mara boots, unbranded scarf, DIY bangle with quartz

 

Layer a T-shirt under a V-neck dress

style blogger showing how to wear a knit dress in red layering top
Vince Camuto slouchy suede boots, statement belt, DIY earrings, layering top, J. Peterman knit dress and tights c/o Hipstik

 

Stylist’s tip: Try analogous colors or color blocking.

Wrapping up

Knits are tricky to wear in midlife. Looking great in a knit dress over 40 requires good choices on all levels. When you want to save money on and/or slow your fashion consumption down, buy a workhorse. Also have at least three looks in mind before handing over your credit card to the cashier or hitting the buy button.

Interested in more dressing tips? Then my style book “how to Dress for Success in Midlife” is perfect for you. Buy the book now.

A great post on slowing down fashion without scarifying style. #slowfashion Click To Tweet

Don’t forget to hit subscribe to receive the bi-weekly free High Latitude Style newsletter about Fashion, Life and Science at the Last Frontier.

 

When to Kiss the Knit-dress Trend Off

If you are not willing to commit to the above points, kiss this trend off. This means just don’t buy a knit dress. It will just take up real estate in your closet. You will not get enough wear for your money when you feel uncomfortable in the piece. If you are willing to commit, I bet you will be sad when the trend is over. But then you still can wear it under a skirt or with skinnies. Thus, you will get you money worth in wear even when the trend ins’t a trend anymore next fall. There is a lot of other cozy warm knitwear. See this guide for tips how to look ageless in knits.

Are you temped by the knit-dress trend? In your opinion, are they a Yay or Nay in fashion over 40? When you are in the market for a sweater dress and are worried about the illusion of more weight black could be an option for you. Black namely has a slimming effect. Check my review of a Femme Luxe black jumper dress for more information.

 

Top of the World Style linkup No. 294

banner of the weekly Top of the World Style linkup party on Thursdays

Welcome to the Top of the World Style linkup party.

Rena with sorted out old clothes on hangers
Rena from Fine Whatever Blog became the Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. Photo from her post

 

Laura in mini tweed skirt, leather jacket, otk boots,tee
Laura from I Do deClaire became the Top of the World OOTD My Fav. Photo from her post

 

Carrie in new sweater, jacket, legging, sneakers
Carrie from Curly Crafty Mom became Top of the World Style Winner. Photo from her post

 

Congrats Ladies!

 

Join the party

 

See these awesome looks at the Top of the World Style #linkup party. #timelessstyle Click To Tweet

Photos of me: G. Kramm

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