If you hate the thought of pushing your favorite crochet dress to the back of your closet, I’ve got great news! Knit and crochet dresses are ideal for the summer-to-fall transition. In fact, because of their sweater-like qualities, crochet pieces can actually work year round. This post explains how to wear crochet dresses in the fall, plus offers a few tips on choosing a quality crochet or knit style you’ll love long term.
But first, we need to talk about what’s generating the buzz in the first place.
Is crochet in style for 2023?
Yes, yes… and yes! 70s-inspired pieces are having a major moment. Consequently, we are seeing crochet and knit dresses everywhere. This is for two reasons. First, crochet is inherently easy-breezy. Not only does it inject texture and interest to your outfits, but it also literally keeps you cool. We all know summer 2023 has been a bit of a scorcher, right? With crochet, the form fits function.
Secondly, crochet is popping up in modern news ways. Once relegated to the beach, crochet is ditching its prior “coverup” label to reach a new levels of sophistication. You can now scoop up elegantly elevated pieces for all types of occasions. There’s office-appropriate crochet, crochet accessories, crochet you’d rock on date night, you name it! This intricately detailed knitwear is even appearing on basics like tank tops, pants, and skirt sets. Here are a few options to explore…
The other key shift for 2023 involves color. Wondering how to wear crochet dresses stylishly this season? Fall has us backing away from bright, boho, and festival-inspired crochet to embrace more nuanced neutrals. Think cream, taupe, brown, black and ivory… or a combination of neutrals, like my striped knit dress pictured below. These hues transition easily into fall and winter. Moreover, they’re a breeze to style, pairing gracefully with key layering pieces like blazers, sweaters and jackets.
Before we dive into how to wear crochet dresses in fall, it’s helpful to talk about what to look for. While knits and crochet styles look similar (and we regularly use the terms interchangeably), there are key differences. Namely, that crochet is handmade.
Although retailers can manufacture many forms of knitwear, no one has yet created a machine capable of duplicating the complex needlework and interlocking loops of yarn we see in crochet fashions. Knitting uses two needles, while crochet pieces are completed on a single hook. It can take several hours to produce a single garment, making crochet a real art form!
Consequently, true crochet dresses are an investment piece, something to cherish for years to come. When shopping for real crochet, it is best to turn to brands with a focus on ethical production so you can ensure the artisans involved are fairly compensated (there’s a helpful discussion of the labor concerns regarding crochet in this Observer article). You could also buy second hand.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty common to see garments mislabeled as crochet in stores. I was confused too! In reality, most of what you see is knitwear, which retailers can manufacture easily. Therefore, shoppers on a budget can still achieve a crochet-inspired look without ethical concerns. Just be cautious of how a dress is described and take a clear look at the fabrication.
My Chicwish dress is a good example of that. The hollow out knit offers crochet vibes, but it is clearly labeled a knit dress for a reason. If you zoom in closely on the fabric, you can spot the tell-tale V-shaped knit pattern.
Crochet and knit dresses tend to fit snuggly, skimming (even clinging to the body). Consequently, it’s a smart decision to size up if the dress appears form-fitting on the model.
Likewise, you need to consider your undergarments. They matter! Quality shapewear will ensure the most flattering silhouette. It can also help with modesty should your crochet or knit dress not have a lining. Here’s a great shapewear dress that can function as a slip. You could also try shapewear shorts paired with a nude camisole. PSA for my short friends, Spanx just launched a shapewear line for petites! I can’t tell you how often I’ve purchased traditional shapewear shorts only to have them go down to my knees.
Finally, you want to keep your jewelry and accessories simple. The texture of your crochet dress is already adding a lot of interest. To maintain an elegant look, it’s best to stick with the classics.
Now, let’s dive into how to wear crochet dresses in cooler weather. What can we do to extend their wear? The good news is… You have a plethora of options at your disposal. Seriously, the styling choices are endless with crochet and knit dresses! This is particularly the case with type of crochet dresses that a trending right now – those in a neutral palette.
The first (and perhaps easiest option) is to layer up. Pull a cozy sweater over your knit dress [like I’ve done with M.M. LaFleur’s Arbus Sweater], add a matching bag – and you instantly have a fall-friendly look. If you crave color, this type of sweater styling is a fun way to add punch to your outfit. For the most flattering look, choose a cropped or more tailored sweater so you you still have definition around your waistline.
Another fun option for those wondering how to wear crochet dresses in the fall – is to skirt the issue! Yes, take that knit or crochet dress and make it look like a skirt. In contrast to the sweater styling above, this option calls for a more slim fitting high-neck top and belt to define your waistline.
I’m wearing the Beebe Belt from M.M. LaFleur. It looks like the brand only carries the belt in black now, so here’s a similar option (and a more affordable Amazon alternative if you’re not looking for real leather). My top is old, but I found a near identical ruffle-neck piece that’s still available via Dillards. Finish your look with sleek nude pumps to elongate your leg line.
Third on our list? Layered and casual! You can strike a more relaxed look, by starting with a mockneck bodysuit (this one from Amazon is the softest thing in my closet). You can read my full review post about the best bodysuits here. For this look, I chose to complement the bodysuit with a block heeled ankle boot. The Perfect Zip Bootie from Sarah Flint is a great option. The gold zipper detail ands some interest to the look. Finish with some gold earrings and a cute neutral bag.
The final styling idea on our list is arguable the most traditional. Why reinvent the wheel, when you can look elegantly polished with a trusty jacket you likely already have in your closet? The suede moto jacket I’m wearing has been my favorite for years and pairs beautifully with the tones in this dress. You can also layer up with a denim jacket.
I recommend rolling the cuffs or pushing up the sleeves for a more relaxed vibe. Pushing up your sleeves also helps avoid an “overly boxy” look, as it draws attention to one narrowest points of your body – your wrists. Complete the look with neutral accessories, like these sleek block heel slides from VIVAIA and a nude clutch.
I am all about getting the most wear possible out of the clothing I buy. Consequently, I hope this post has dished up a dose of inspiration to help you do the same. Crochet and knit dresses (event tank dresses) are power players in your closet. With the right layering techniques – and a bit of imagination – you can wear them long post summer. Happy styling!