Dresses come in all shapes, lengths, prints and colors, but one of the most effortlessly chic styles you’ll ever find is a classic sheath dress. Sheath dresses are characterized by their simple shape, usually featuring a high neckline and a relatively close-fitting body that sometimes cinches slightly at the natural waistline. The cut, which typically falls to the knees or just above, is classically stylish (just ask Michelle Obama or Kate Middleton, two ladies known for wearing the style often). If you aren’t sure why or how to wear this wardrobe staple, though, we’ve got you covered. Take a look:

Why wear a sheath dress?

This dress style has tons of merits, not the least of which is that it’s both comfortable and professional, which makes it easy to wear for long hours in the office. But sheath dresses are also timeless, versatile and universally flattering. The simple cut makes for a garment that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion and layered under or over when the weather starts cooling off. Plus, because sheath dresses fit close to the body without being too tight, they accentuate curves without highlighting any lumps or bumps.

Stuck in the Middle Dress

Stuck in the Middle Dress

 

Find your fabric

Sheath dresses are naturally flattering, but when you’re considering buying one, it’s a good idea to find the right fabric for you. If the fabric is too thin and clingy, it could draw unwanted attention to some parts of your body, while thicker fabric can look a bit shapeless. Opt for polyester or a spandex blend for a dress that will follow your curves but won’t cling to them.

Photo Real Spliced Dress

Photo Real Spliced Dress

Be free with accessories

One of the reasons sheath dresses are considered wardrobe staples is that they’re so simple. They serve as the perfect foundation to an outfit, allowing women to dress them up with layers and accessories. Because the design is so understated, feel free to wear a statement necklace or chunky earrings to add some pizzazz.

Sexy Tropics Dress

Sexy Tropics Dress

Consider the occasion

Not sure how to accessorize your sheath dress? Consider where you’re going. If you’re heading to work, for instance, try pairing the dress with a structured blazer and pumps. A casual day of errands may call for comfortable flats, a denim jacket and a hat. The versatile clothing piece can be worn almost anywhere.

My Sexy Garden Dress

My Sexy Garden Dress

Add some shape

Many sheaths already nip in slightly at the waist, but if you’re looking to create an even more pronounced hourglass shape, there are a few ways you can do so. Adding a skinny to medium-sized belt to your dress will give you a bit more shape, making your waist appear slightly thinner. The same is true for a blazer that cinches in at the waist.

Layer it up

One of our favorite aspects of this classic dress style is that it can be worn year-round. Wear tights and boots along with a button-up shirt layered underneath or a cardigan over the dress to make it winter-ready, or pair it with ankle boots and a light jacket in the spring or fall.