4 Ways You Can Master The Tricky 'Dress Over Pants' Trend

Fashion is a strange, strange beast — we doubt even Newt Scamander has the patience to tame it because, surprise, it’s incredibly fickle too, considering all that it has put us through. So you’ve heard there are certain faux pas we’re supposed to avoid right? The “unforgivable” “sins” we’ve heard preached to us; basic stuff, like no VPLs, wear a shirt as a shirt, no over-piling of accessories, no brown belts with black shoes or socks over sandals, no dresses over pants… uh, hold on, we’re pretty sure Vetements alone broke like 9/10 out of those rules. As for that last one, if you’ve been religiously following style stars and the fashion outside Fashion Week tents, you know that wearing dresses over pants is now a trending thing.
Yes, we’re serious, how on earth did we get here?! While fashion gave it a good run in the 90s, it subsequently decided to stomp all over the trend like your dog does over your favourite sweater/homework, and vehemently denied its existence. With vengeance, we soon declared, never again! Dresses over pants make you look bulky, they’re overly fussy, and just overall bad decisions because they’re just passé. Well, not anymore it seems. There are still many gripes about this tricky trend — it’s a fine line between ugly and fabulous — but if you do pull it off, suddenly, you’re the haute-est person walking down the street. It’s tough. We know. So we’ve compiled a few fool-proof looks for you.
Wrap Dresses

net a porter ATTICO Gabriela embroidered silk-satin wrap dress$1,555 topshop Asymmetric Wrap Dress SGD 96.90 zara mini dress with pring $89.90
Attico Gabriela Silk-Satin Wrap Dress, $1,555 ; Topshop Asymmetric Wrap Dress, $96.90 ; Zara Mini Dress, $89.90

Hey, look! Something you probably have lying in your wardrobe. The versatile piece can gain new life when paired with jeans or flared pants, and make the slightly-boring OL silhouette suddenly more daring. Obviously, it’s all about the balance; the low v-neck here already shows some skin so it’s fine to have pants covering up your legs. Keep it to loose, flowy fabrics against the stiffness of a pair of jeans, or play around with the material. Satin’s sheen shines atop more flat-looking denim, while printed chiffon is a girly layer to have over boy-ish pants.
Button-Down Dresses
mango Printed bow dress REF. 83067614 - RAYA S$89.90 zara striped shirt-style tunic $89.90 mango Printed shirt dress REF. 83059017 - SNAKE S$55.90
Mango Printed Bow Dress, $89.90 ;  Zara Striped Shirt-Style Tunic, $89.90 ; Mango Printed Shirt Dress, $55.90

It’s totally the dress for goody-two-shoes, you might think, but we’ll have you know that having a good one on can make you instantly edgy. First, let’s talk about length. To pull off this trend, we have to know it’s a dress and not a long top, so having hemlines that extend beyond your knees would be fine options; it helps that midi lengths are on trend, even worn on their own. The beauty of these button-down pieces though is that you can unbutton them; wear it as an overlay or style them over pants — leave the bottom part of your dress loose and falling freely, so when you move, they can float gracefully behind you as well. Don’t be afraid to try bright prints or stripes too, it’s less overwhelming than you think.
bershka Floral print off-the-shoulder asymmetric dress REF 0440:190 $39.90 zara asymmetric top $69.90 zara embroidered oxford tunic $69.90
Bershka Floral Print Off-The-Shoulder Asymmetric Dress, $39.90 ; Zara Asymmetric Top, $69.90 ; Zara Embroidered Oxford Tunic, $69.90

Here, the trend falls in line with another spring/summer favourite, asymmetric pieces, so that means the dress you just bought can be worn differently without your friends ever figuring out. A high-low hem makes the ‘dress over pants’ style less like a stuffy mess of fabric, if you’re still apprehensive, or, go for one that cascades over the side. Okay, the Zara piece here isn’t actually a dress, but what we can learn is that tone-on-tone colour combination that makes your look more seamless and presentable. The fast fashion brand also sells wrap tunics in poplin that give you a cape-like feel, even if you’re just heading to the mall.
Sheer Dresses
bershka Ruffled crossover plumetis dress REF 0481:966 $89.90 topshop PETITE Mesh Overlay Midi Dress SGD 66.90 bershka Lace dress REF 0426:494 $89.90
Bershka Ruffled Crossover Plumetis Dress, $89.90 ; Topshop Mesh Overlay Midi Dress, $66.90 ; Bershka Lace Dress, $89.90

Um, have you bought a dress only to realise it’s way too see-through? And now you have to find an inner tunic! Problem solved. Style it over jeans and it’s finally wearable again, whether it’s a short, flirty number or a floor-length gown. This mix works even better when you can see the rather opaque bottoms (they’d better be) through the sheer fabric of your dress, which makes the overall look more layered and interesting on the eye. Opt for chiffon, mesh, or lace in various dress styles, and keep it casual with sneakers.
Banner images from @manrepeller, @lisa.aiken, and @annieeechiu.