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How to Wear a Pullover Sweater Over a Dress + DIY Paper Bracelet Page to Bead Examples

As we are entering the coldest time of year in Minnesota, the layers start building up more and more in my outfits. It's not unheard of for me to wear an underlayer top + top + sweater + quilted vest in late January to early February.

So I thought this was a good time to share a couple of simpler two-layer outfits I wore this month using the dress + pullover sweater outfit formula for winterizing a summer dress (or dress built for warmer weather anyway). I am something of a newbie when it comes to this outfit formula since I typically layer a cardigan or jacket over a dress for warmth in winter, but I enjoyed giving this layering technique a try. I settled on this outfit formula: Dress + pullover sweater + warm scarf + tights + boots.

Here are the two dresses I decided to winterize with a sweater (I only have 5 dresses total so not a lot of difficulty choosing these two). The navy floral has a 3/4 length sleeve, is made from a lightweight drapey fabric, and is fully lined except for the sleeves. The olive floral is made from a thicker fabric and has cap sleeves.

Option #1: Wear a sweater that is short (or short-ish) least in front

For my first outfit, I selected this thick, fleecy top that I mentally categorize as a sweater due to its heft and fabrication. Because it is shorter in front due to the crossover construction, I thought it might layer easily over the dress without overwhelming it despite it having some volume. I chose ankle boots to help offset the midi length of the dress.

While my outfit doesn't have the magical 1/3 to 2/3 vertical proportions that a truly cropped sweater would create (and which is something I pretty much never manage to do in my outfits!), I thought the balance of the dress and sweater were still pretty good here. I achieved my objective of not overwhelming the dress with this choice.

Plus size winter outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 1/12/23

Adding a blue scarf/pashmina in a different version of blue was a bit outside my comfort zone because I wasn't sure how the purer blue color would look with the greyed-out blue. I'm still not sure if I like it or not! But I didn't hate it, and it was good to push myself to try it.

Plus size winter outfit idea for women over 40

My daily bracelet stack has a purchased navy/silver bracelet and DIY soft blue/silver and all silver bead bracelets supplementing the two paper bead bracelets I made to coordinate with the "soft indigo" color of my top (which is a color that I have a good amount of in my wardrobe so this set will be quite useful).

Plus size winter outfit idea for women over 40

The top bracelet with the shorter (0.5" long) bicone paper beads was made from this watch advertisement from the back cover of a magazine.

I cut the strips from the left-hand side of the image (the part without the watch) and colored the edges with silver metallic marker. I love how that added striations to the finished beads.

Even though the beads vary in their length because I cut some of the strips a little above and some a little below 0.5" at the wide edge of the triangle, once they are strung, you really don't notice these differences. I like to lean into the organic, irregular beauty of hand-crafted paper beads.

The bottom bracelet was made from 1" bicone beads made from this page from an alumni magazine (I like these magazines because the pages have a nice heft; they don't cheap out on the paper). I covered the text at the borders of the strips and colored the edges once again with silver metallic marker to match the other bracelet. Some beads had more silver and some had less based on whether I had colored over text or not, which is a cool random effect.

I kept the earrings simple with these thick silver-tone hoops that were part of a Boss's Bead Bag from Fire Mountain Gems (which I'm wearing plain, just as they came out of the bag).

Plus size winter outfit idea for women over 40

I really enjoy this particular dress + tights + boots combination.

Other examples of this option: Jodie shows a version with a short sweater and a sheath dress, and Amy demonstrates how this works with a short sweater and a maxi dress.

Option #2: Create a diagonal hemline on a longer, looser sweater

For my second outfit, I selected a textured sweater in a shade of aloe/sage green that coordinates but doesn't match the olive in the dress. This dress has a shorter hemline so I wore tall black riding boots with it.

This sweater is a bit long and loose, and the high value contrast between the lighter sweater and darker dress creates a harsh horizontal line where the sweater meets the dress. So I used one of the Maggie's Snaps to shorten the sweater on one side, creating an asymmetric hemline. It's a subtle effect, but it definitely made a difference to how much I liked this combination. I could have done something to take in some of the volume of the sweater as well, but I thought it was "just flattering enough" this way.

Plus size winter outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 1/18/23

This olive pashmina is woven with a very dark olive thread that coordinates very well with black. You'll notice another of my DIY scarf rings from a shank button in play.

Plus size winter outfit idea for women over 40

My daily bracelet stack consists of 2 DIY black glass bead bracelets, a purchased olive/black bead bracelet, and 2 DIY paper bead bracelets in a black/maroon/olive color palette. I made the paper bracelets to go with a floral skirt that has these colors. Though there isn't any red in this outfit otherwise, I liked how these bracelets worked here.

My earrings are a dark green/olive and black faux tortoiseshell print, adding another subtle pattern to the look.

Like Mireille, I've been enjoying texture recently...specifically combining different textures in an outfit. Mixing prints and textures is a great way to add interest to neutral-based outfits like this one.

If your sweater comes with an asymmetric hemline, it's all the easier, as Imogen demonstrates in this post with a print dress and an asymmetric pink "jumper" (sweater) for a warm-weather version of this option.

Some other sweater layering options include:

#3: Wear a belt around the sweater, as Mireille shows with a sweater tucked into a belt worn with a colorful sleeveless summer dress.

#4: Tie a ponytail on the sweater and tuck it under.

#5: Wear a bra over the dress and tuck the sweater under it.

#6: Wear a boxy sweater with a fitted skirt, as Liz shows in this copycat post with a print mix.

#7: Wear an oversized sweater and don't overthink it, as Shelbee demonstrates with a cozy pink sweater and flowy polka dot dress.

Do you wear dresses with pullover sweaters over them? How do you like to style them? Do you use any of the options listed above? Do you have any options to add to the list?

Other posts in this series:

DIY Paper Bicone Bead Tutorial

DIY Paper Tube Bead Tutorial

DIY Magazine & Catalog Bicone Bead Examples - Part 1

DIY Magazine & Catalog Paper Bicone Bead Examples - Part 2

DIY Magazine & Catalog Paper Tube Bead Examples - Part 1

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a Scarf (Summer) - Part 1

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a Scarf (Summer) - Part 2

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start with a White Floral Shirt (Summer)

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start with a Pink Outfit (Spring)

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start with a Colorful Striped Top

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a Butterfly Scarf

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a Two Color Summer Outfit (Navy + Green)

Dark Blue Casual Summer Outfits with DIY Paper Bracelet Page to Bead Examples

Light Blue Casual Summer Outfits with DIY Paper Bracelet Page to Bead Examples

3 Summer Pants Outfits with DIY Paper Bracelet Page to Bead Examples

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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