There are a few tried-and-true tricks of the trade that make average, everyday pieces feel like straight-up street style bait, and the dress-over-pants combo is certainly one of them. A fave of the red carpet and the fashionable femmes dominating your Insta feed, the layering tactic is a go-to when it comes to transitioning summery pieces into the new season and taking fall essentials to the next level. On a cool fall day when bare legs are out of the question, or when you have a dress that’s just a little too short for the office, layering a dress over a pair of pants can be a show-stopping alternative to tights. Pulling it off, however, isn’t always easy and, if not done just right, can end up looking sloppy. To help you pull off this Instababe-approved fall look, we’ve curated 10 effortless outfits for you to try this season. From ethereal free-wheelin’ frocks to elegant asymmetric styles, you’ll find it all right here.
1. Zara Floral Midi Devoré Dress ($169) + Trousers With Golden Side Buttons ($100): Boho meets athleisure chic in this free-spirited ensemble that is straight-up lazy-girl goals. Slip into a pair of button-down track pants, then toss on a floaty midi dress on top. Turn up the polished factor for an after-hours or on-the-job-ready feel with burgundy suede pumps and sleek gold baubles that balance modern elegance with cutting-edge cool.
2. Pixie Market Belted Off-the-Shoulder Dress ($60) + Marni Printed Crepe Straight-Leg Pants ($340): Be it GNO or an industry networking event, do the dress-over-pants thing to earn major style cred with your crew. Team a flirty off-the-shoulder frock with printed straight-leg bottoms for a ’70s-inspired vibe that would look downright DDG with velvet kicks and statement drop earrings.
3. French Connection Mozart Mix High Neck Jumper Dress ($128) + Mango Slim-Fit Biker Trousers ($50): Snuggling up in a sweater dress is about to get a whole lot chicer thanks to luxe leather-look trousers with a touch of badass biker edge. Play it cool on a lazy afternoon with high-top sneakers and a bright beanie, or glam it up for easy day-to-night dressing with ankle boots and a slew of stacking rings.
4. Zara Zipped Denim Dress ($50) + Topshop Pleated Trouser ($60): What could possibly make a denim shirt dress any better? A shimmery pair of pleated trousers, that’s what. A welcome alternative to your average after-hours attire, this getup is dance floor-ready with its enviable mix of disco diva edge and pared-down appeal. Just add statement block heels and an Insta-worthy box clutch for an #OOTD that will go down in history.
5. ASOS Warehouse Pleated Hem Shift Dress ($73) + Zara Cropped Printed Trousers ($40): The next best thing to rocking your PJs out on the town? This playful pairing right here. Keep things streamlined with understated silhouettes to create a sleek, seamless look. Vibrant color, pleated details and a whimsical floral print deliver big time in terms of visual intrigue while grounding this wear-anywhere ensemble in polished territory — especially when loafers and a metal choker are involved.
6. Zara Asymmetric Dress ($50) + Madewell Flea Market Flare Jeans: Sailor Edition in Lucy Wash ($135): Enter the off-duty outfit that has best dressed written all over it. The throwback flares and asymmetric dress strike the ultimate balance of contemporary cool, taking you from flea market excursions to rooftop cocktails with ease. DO add an OMG-worthy bib necklace into the mix, then round out the artsy ensemble with pointed-toe ankle boots and mismatched drop earrings.
7. Mango Spaghetti Strap Dress ($60) + French Connection Resin Biker Lace Up Skinny Jeans ($188): Long live the slip dress! You don’t have to part ways with your slinkiest of pieces just because the glorious days of summer have come and gone. All you need is a pair of envelope-pushing leggings to usher this Kate Moss-approved number into the new season. Team the combo with a fashion-forward button-down (think: bell sleeves or amped-up embroidery) and loafers for an office-ready ensemble that’s anything but average.
8. Mango Side Slit Dress ($50) + New Revival Denim Fringe Hem Jeans ($114): Say sayonara to that snoozy tee-and-jeans routine — layering a sleeveless midi dress over of-the-moment denim is about to become your new signature move. For extra snuggly vibes, toss on a longline cardigan, an oversized scarf and snakeskin-style booties.
9. Zara Striped Dress With Frill ($30) + H&M Slim-Fit Pants ($20): Whether you’re headed to class or the latest gallery opening, you simply can’t go wrong with these swoon-inducing separates on standby. Ace your daytime look with white high-top sneakers and a boyfriend blazer (adorned with show-stopping brooches, no less), then amp it up after hours with lace-up peep toe booties, an embellished biker jacket and a saucy red pout.
10. Babaton Carleton Dress ($135) + Theory Mitrana Printed Silk-Georgette Wide-Leg Pants ($178): You can’t be put in a box, and neither can your nine-to-five style. Do on-duty your way by thinking outside the lines, ditching the standard suit or shift dress for a longline tunic and printed wide-leg trousers in a playful shade of peach. Metallic Oxfords and a sleeveless blazer bring an extra on-the-clock edge to the ensemble, but it’s that girlboss ‘tude that will send your style into overdrive.
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