Figuring Out How To Wear A Suede Dress (Without Breaking A Sweat)

OK. So this dress. This dress sat in my closet for a month before seeing the light of day. And seeing that it is a vintage 1970s-era suede dress, we can probably clock total time spent as a shut-in at, say, 40 years and one month. Let’s face it – it’s an intimidating garment. The question of “how do I actually wear a suede dress” loomed in my mind the entire time I lugged it around the community yard sale I found it at this past May. After all, this is the kind of dress that bends wire hangers. This is the kind of dress that’s more environmentally sensitive than, like, an unhatched penguin egg. Too much sun and it fades, too much moisture and it stains. And, most intimidating of all, it can oh-so-easily look dated.  I spent some serious time on Pinterest searching for modern takes on this decades-old design. The results? Keep it simple. The looks that stood out most put this piece front and center. Check out my favorite outfit ideas on how to wear a suede dress, below.

Heighten With A Hat

vintage suede dress and hat

I decided to wear my suede dress with my go-to wedge heels and black felt hat. I’m still feeling out this look, so I wanted to go muted and minimalist here. Flats felt weighed down by this heavy fabric, so I went for beige wedges in a coordinating color. Weathered brass jewelry added just the right of shine, while a trusty menswear-inspired hat brought a little less polish to this super-structured silhouette. Below, some sleek inspo from Take Aim.

suede dress with hat
image via Take Aim

Slide On A Scarf

suede with bandana
image via Pop of Style

How to accessorize a suede dress without adding even more weight to the outfit? Scarves, bandanas, random salvaged scraps of pretty material, you name it. Lightweight and effortlessly luxe, a swathe of fabric draped around the neck or cinched on the wrist feels so un-calculated, you can’t go wrong. Plus, you get a perfect pop of color without disrupting the whole beautiful beige vibe.

skinny scarf with dress
image via LA Cool + Chic

Try A Twist On Textures

lace shirt under suede dress
image via Happily Grey

It feels a bit counter-intuitive to top a heavy fabric like suede with more fabric, but a lighter material like cotton or lace lends a little contrast to the outfit. Make it majorly mod with ankle boots and a boxy little handbag. Long sleeve tops pair well for an autumnal version, but I love short sleeve options just as well for summer. Maybe even a little off-shoulder styles for a super ’70s moment?

shirt layered under suede dress
image via Fashion Me Now

I’m feeling a little less overwhelmed at styling this bad boy through the rest of summer. I am, however, already madly pinning away to figure out just how to wear a suede dress in the fall… Anyone have any ideas? <3



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