Style + Career Style

Style Sheet: Tips for Styling a Navy Sheath

On this episode of the Style Sheet, we talk about ways to breathe new life into your basic navy sheath dress.  We all have one, and if yours is feeling a little flat, it might be time to up your game.  Because while a classic never goes out of style, everyone needs new ideas.

Navy Sheath.  The basic dress in the set is the J.Crew Resume dress (also in petite and tall).  While the J.Crew quality will never be what it once was, if you grab this dress on sale, it’s a good deal for the money.  It tailors well and has a chic, classic look.

If you want a more luxe option, this Hobbs London is so Audrey Hepburn in its simplicity.  Need a v-neck? Try this Reiss dress.  For something under-$125, this Talbot’s dress is very well made and stylish.  It also comes in petite and plus-size.

Printed or Colorful Blouses. So many women in D.C. try to pull of the button-up blouse under the crewneck sheath.  The truth is that the look rarely works.  It’s like a Freaky Friday look that ages some women and makes others look too young.  And more often than not, the blouse’s buttons are visible through the dress’s material.  Not a good look.

To layer a dress over a blouse in a more modern way, try a brightly colored blouse or a printed one.  This Rixo London blouse is a beautiful piece with a lot of flare.  This Rebecca Taylor blouse with a floral print gives you a feminine look.  For something under-$75, try this teal tie neck blouse with a bell sleeve.

Bright Scarves.  If you just need a quick fix on the accessory side, a bright, colorful scarf is your best option.  Because some times you don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, you just need something new to enliven your dress and cardi or dress and blazer combo.

This Ratti print J.Crew scarf has a wonderful mix of colors.  You could pair it with a pale blue or greencardigan to tie a look together or wear it on its own.  For a more subtle look, this Vince Camuto scarf has a mix of blue hues.  I also think this Brooks Brothers navy and pink scarf has just the right amount of Caddyshack meets Grace Kelly.

Long Jackets. These have become a staple of my wardrobe.  I wear long jackets over dresses, over jeans, and over trousers.  If I’ve gained a little weight or I’m feeling bloated, they conceal a shift in body shape.  They’re a chic and unexpected alternative to a simple blazer or long cardigan for the woman who wants to change it up a bit.

This red jacket is sold out in most sizes, but I found a similar one at Macy’s.  I also found this fun seafoam green Calvin Klein.  I also love this affordable coral Karl Lagerfeld option.  Plus-size?  The Calvin Klein jacket also comes in your size.

{image found here; this post contains affiliate links that generate commission for the author}




  1. Eileen says:

    Zara has a nice selection of long jackets, including a red one like the one you posted. The trick is to search “frock coat” on their web site.

    April 5, 2018/Reply
    • subtlensublime says:

      Yes they have a great collection of these long slim jackets, called “frock coat” I was exploring it as well.

      April 6, 2018/Reply
  2. Neens says:

    Love the idea of adding a topper as an alternative to a blazer!

    P.S. Seafood green made me giggle 😉

    April 5, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Oh, fricking autocorrect.

      April 5, 2018/Reply
      • Anna says:

        Is that the color you turn when you eat a bad piece of shrimp?

        April 6, 2018/Reply
  3. ~M says:

    Dear Belle,
    I’ve been intrigued by the long jackets you’ve been posting for a while now. So much so that I saw this at Nordstrom’s and bought it immediately: I would love some ideas on what to pair it with (I’m open to skirts, but more of a pants kind of gal), or just a general post on long jackets.
    Do you wear them year-round or mostly Fall/Spring? What do you usually pair them with?

    April 5, 2018/Reply
  4. SC says:

    Etsy is the best place to look for silk scarves — the vintage ones with hand-rolled edges are just gorgeous. My favorites are by Vera Neumann (often listed as just “Vera”).

    April 6, 2018/Reply
  5. Sally says:

    The long jackets are giving me a definite Hillary vibe (not in a bad way). The scarf in the picture is very very cute.

    April 6, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:


      April 6, 2018/Reply
  6. Rachel says:

    You touch on it a little bit here, but wondering if you could do a whole post with rules about and examples of how to style the blouse-under-sheath look. In addition to selecting a bright color, are there specific dos and don’ts which could help prevent me from a faux pas?

    April 6, 2018/Reply
    • Jo says:

      I second this request! I like the idea but have no clue how to pair them well.

      April 7, 2018/Reply