One-and-done dresses are fantastic work items to have on hand for those busy days when you need to get out the door quickly.  Their nature makes it so all you have to do is zip them up and head out.  There is no figuring out which top goes with which bottoms or how to finish a look.  On the other hand, however, it can get cold at work, putting it mildly, downright freezing actually, which is why it’s often referred to as Women’s Winter.  Even though layers negate the ease of wearing one-and-done dressses, chilly icebox conditions at work make layering pieces a critical component to these looks.


To make one-and-done work dresses layerable they must be, well, layerable, meaning that if they have sleeves they have to be styles that can be layered under a cardigan or a jacket.  This makes bell, very blousy, or novelty sleeves tricky.  In addition, it’s important to get the proportion right of the cardigan or jacket so that whatever you choose to layer over your dresses doesn’t look like a chilly solution afterthought, like some back of the chair “whatever” layer.

I have put five looks below with summer one-and-done dresses for work that have been layered with cardigans to give you some look ideas.


For the past few seasons, I haven’t been a huge fan of the prints that MM. Lafluer released so I was pleasantly surprised by this recent hummingbird print that is soft and pretty. While the dress could easily stand alone, for a frigid office temp, I added this muted pink cardigan from L.K. Bennett. I finished the look with dusty blue flats from M.Gemi and aquamarine pearl drop earrings.


A dress like this from Argent would definitely require a layer in a chilly workplace but at the same time stands alone well on its own. I styled the dress with a striped cardigan from J.Crew and finished the look casually with a pair of white sneakers from Everlane and hoop earrings from Machete in poppy.


one-and-done dresses

Picking up the mint green in the print of this shirtdress from Boden, I added this cardigan from Reformation. I finished the look with cerulean ballet flats from Margaux and silver dome earrings from Merjuri.


one-and-done dresses

I styled this easy-to-wear jersey dress from Reiss with a jacket/cardigan hybrid jardigan from MM. Lafleur in navy and finished the look with orange platform sandals from M.Gemi and square drop earrings from J.Crew.


one-and-done dresses

In this last look, I styled an orange and blue printed dress from Diane Von Furstenberg with a cornflower blue cardigan from Hobbs, slate blue heeled sandals with orange accents from Sarah Flint, and drop earrings from Lele Sadoughi.


You can have the ease of one-and-done dresses for work this summer while at the same time keeping warm when the thermostat is set to freezing cold temperatures at work. Think ahead when planning your outfits to make sure you have the right layering piece on hand.