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Every summer I love to wear dresses.

In summer, it’s usually warm enough just to wear a dress with sandals, a bag, and sunglasses to complete a cute look.

That’s the “one and done” of a dress.

BUT. What to wear over a dress?

Sometimes a dress is really cute.

You love the print.

And the fabric.

And the price ($49!!!).

It even has pockets!


You hate your arms. Take a peek at this post for arm tricks.

Or, you get cold easily in air conditioning.

Or, you want a different way to wear that summer dress so it gets more wear.


The way needs to be easy.

And of course, cute.

Look no further.

Here are several ways to wear the same sleeveless summer dress from J Crew Factory.

In this post...

What to Wear Over a Dress

Women often wonder what to wear over a dress, especially in the summer. Many women are uncomfortable showing their arms and I get that. This post will show you some ideas to handle this problem. But, I thought it would be helpful to show you the dress uncovered to begin the piece.

Let’s See the Dress:

Here is what to wear over a dress.  I am wearing a chambray shirt tied at my waist over the sleeveless red, white and blue J Crew Factory dress.  My bag is wicker and leather by J McLaughlin.  My sandals are nude.
dress/ sandals / purse/ necklace

I spotted this dress at J Crew Factory last weekend. I frequently shop there when I am looking for cute outfits for my sons and grandsons (see right below). They have lots of cute things, well-displayed, excellent, helpful staff, and the store is pretty. When I’m in the store, I always browse the women’s section and am rarely disappointed.

Here is Mr. G.Q. and two of my grandsons wearing red, white, and blue tee shirts!

The dress I found is so cute! It has a red, white, and blue floral print and I featured it in my recent post, here. But, the print is subtle, so you could wear it all summer long. The dress has side pockets and a very minimal ruffle at the bottom. The waistline is a bit short-waisted, and it’s very comfortable. It comes with a self-tie, but I switched that up in some of the photos below. In the early photos, I am showing you the dress unbelted and not accessorized so you can see it unadorned. Scroll further to see how cute it is all zhuzhed up!

Here is me wearing the red, white, and blue soft floral sleeveless dress with a pair of nude sandals and a pave heart necklace. The dress has pockets.
Here is a close-up of me wearing the dress with the pave heart necklace.
Here I have both hands shoved deep inside both pockets outside near my front door.  There is a pot of red geraniums and ivy.

What to Wear Over a Dress to Cover Your Arms

With a sleeveless dress, it’s important to come up with a third piece that is cute, but not too warm to wear. That’s why I LOVE a chambray shirt!

Outfit #1 The Dress with a Chambray Shirt

Here is the darling dress with a chambray shirt tied over it. I love this look! It’s sassy and easy to do. Rolling the cuffs is a great touch that adds some relaxed coolness to the outfit

In this full-length view, you can see I am wearing nude sandals as well as a summer bag by J McLaughlin. I LOVE the bags and belts (and Hubby belts) from J McLaughlin. They are high-quality, classic, and classy. This is from last year, but I have linked another similar one.

What to Wear Over a Dress for Work in the Summer

For work, I think it is best to go with a bit more structured piece. That’s where this darling J Crew Factory blazer comes in. I wear this all the time. And it’s a great price ($98.50!! You need this piece!

Outfit #2 The Dress with a White Linen Blazer for Work

Here I am wearing the sleeveless dress for work with a white linen blazer, a red skinny belt, and a white Coach bag.
dress/ sandals/ belt/ purse/ blazer

In this work look, I removed the self-belt and instead added a red patent leather skinny belt. Doesn’t that make a big difference in the feel of the dress? I think it looks dressier and would work for work or for a shower. I added a white satchel from Coach.

Here I am wearing the sleeveless dress for work with a white linen blazer, a red skinny belt, and a white Coach bag.
Here is a close-up of me in the white blazer, the dress and the pave necklace.

Here is a close-up of the white linen J Crew Factory blazer and the dress neckline. I added a small silver pave heart necklace to fill in the neckline a bit. It, too, is a classic style of necklace that works with casual and dressy looks. I am also wearing diamond stud earrings that I believe work with ANY look. Pro-tip: I think it looks sharp to roll the sleeves of my blazer as opposed to leaving them down at my wrist. I used to tailor all my jackets to my wrist, but now I just roll them as I like the look.

What to Wear Over a Dress in the Summer

I get that many of us retired women don’t really want to wear a blazer any more. Or we want a bit more of a casual look to cover our arms with this dress. Then the answer could be a white or blue denim jacket. It’s effortlessly cool looking.

The Dress with a White Jean Jacket

I am wearing the dress with a white jean jacket and the same wicker bag as above.
dress/ jean jacket/ purse/ necklace/ sandals

In this last look, I wore the dress with a white jean jacket. It would work just as easily with a blue denim one if that is your preference.

This is a closeup of the wicker and leather bag as well as the dress neckline and white jean jacket.

I again chose the wicker and leather summer J Mclaughlin bag as it is so perfect in its lines and size. It looks cute on the table if you’re out to lunch. In this close-up, you can see the diamond pave heart and the silver buttons on the jean jacket. They didn’t have to match, but since they did, I think it looks sharp.

Shop My Looks on LTK!

Conclusion of What to Wear Over a Dress

Have I persuaded you to try a summer (?sleeveless) dress by wearing one of these looks? Would YOU wear any of these outfits? Which one is your favorite? I like that the dress is versatile enough to go to work as well as out to a summer picnic or even a luncheon or shower. It’s a great deal ($49!!!) and I think you might enjoy adding it to your summer wardrobe.

Happy Summer!


Dr. Julie

PS One more thing. Lots of women ask me what kind of bra I wear under this type of spaghetti-sleeve dress. My current favorite is either this strapless bra or these adhesive Nippies.

PPS Here are a few more posts for you to enjoy:

Casual Mom Outfits

Long Sleeve Mother of the Groom Dresses and Lots of Wedding Tips…

How to Wear a White Blazer Six Ways

Black Blazer Outfit, Six Different Looks

How to Wear a Linen Shirt this Summer (4 Ways)

4 Fun Ways to Style Blue Gingham Pants for Women

Pink Gingham Shirt Five Different Ways!

4th of July Outfits

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