Shawls for Dresses

Fashionable accessories like shawls for dresses add a fresh pop of color without busting your budget. Shawls are an inexpensive way to update an existing outfit or even create a new outfit.

Use them as a trendy substitute for belts and necklaces or as a cover up for an outfit that might be a little too revealing. Wear them open and draped like a cardigan or sweater to chase away a little chill or wrap them snugly around your body like a poncho to stay warm.

Cover your shoulders while dancing with shawls for dresses

Shawl Types and Fabrics

Shawls come in two styles: triangles or stoles. Stoles are long, wide rectangles of fabric, while triangular shawls can be tiny pieces of fabric just big enough to wrap around the shoulders to gigantic pieces that can wrap around the entire body.

Shawls can also be referred to as pashminas or pareos. A pashmina is any shawl made from a finely woven textile manufactured from cashmere. Pareos are triangular or oblong shaped shawls worn around the hips as skirts. Typically, they are tie dyed or made from textiles with brilliant colors, patterns or designs.

Textile choices for shawls are only limited by the designer’s imagination. Here are some of the common fabrics used to make shawls:

  • Lace
  • Cotton
  • Wools
  • Fur
  • Satin
  • Viscose
  • Polyester
  • Blended fabrics

How to Wear Shawls for Dresses

Use shawls as attractive head coversWrap style: The easiest way to wear shawls with a dress is to drape the shawl from the back of the body over the shoulders and secure in front with a loose knot. Add some drama to your outfit by draping one end of the shawl over the shoulder after wrapping it around the body and secure with a brooch or stick pin.

Boleros or Shrugs: To create the illusion of a shrug or bolero with a shawl, drape the shawl around the shoulders and bring the ends over the arms and to the back of the body. Tie securely. You may need to adjust the knot to make sure you can move the arms freely, but don’t tie it too loosely or the shawl may fall off.

Overskirts: To create the appearance of an overskirt, wrap a shawl made from a sheer or lacy fabric around the body working from the back of the body at the waist to the front. If you want to accent your waist, tie the ends in a knot at the waistline. If you need to camouflage a tummy, wear it low slung across the hips. As a bonus, this makes the torso look slimmer, longer and lean but does not add any extra bulk to the hipline.

Headcovering: While any shawl can be used to cover the hair and frame the face, lacy shawls are especially feminine and exotic looking. Drape the shawl over the head and wrap the ends loosely around the neck.

Use shawls as colorful skirts or overskirtsOther Ways to Use Shawls for Dresses

Just because you bought your shawls to wear with dresses does not mean you are limited to just that one use. Let your shawls earn their keep in your wardrobe and do double duty as:

  • Sarongs
  • One shoulder top
  • Halter-top
  • Blouse or shell
  • Wrap dress
  • Beach cover up
  • Skirt
  • Accessorize a little black dress with a glitzy shawl for instant fashion bling

Whether you want to keep warm but still look fashionable or you need to jazz up a plain outfit, shawls for dresses are a quick, easy fix to many wardrobe issues.

Donna Cosmato is a Certified Image Consultant and former Mary Kay Beauty Director who writes based on her experience in the beauty and fashion industry. Join her in earning money for your writing talents! Signing up as a writer for Seeky is free, easy and fun.

Image credits:

‘Shawl duet’ by John Benson under CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

‘Ethnic woman with head scarf,’ Stuart Miles /
‘Sexy Woman,’ photostock /