The form-fitting sheath dress is a wardrobe staple for women around the world. Its simple silhouette is a flattering choice for special occasions like weddings as well as a high-power meeting at the office. Adding jewelry to your sheath dress changes the feel of the ensemble to fit any day or nighttime occasion. Base your jewelry and sheath pairings on the sleeve length, neckline and print of the dress.
The Classic Look
A classic sheath dress is sleeveless, with wide shoulder coverage, a high round or squared neckline and a knee-length hemline. In black, this style is versatile and a blank canvas for any style of jewelry. Elegant pearls are the traditional complement to a sheath dress. Pearl stud earrings and a short matching necklace create a timeless ensemble that suits just about any occasion. Be sure not to go overboard with matching sets of jewelry — two matching pieces are plenty. If you already have a pearl necklace and earrings, forgo a matching bracelet for a sleek gold watch.
Jewelry for Sleeve Length
Just about any bracelet can pair with a classic sleeveless sheath. Keep styles more understated for the office and colorful or chunky for parties and lunches. Regardless of sleeve length, be careful not to pile on too many bracelets. The longer your sleeves, the fewer bracelets you need. Opt for a sparkling stud or drop earring with a long-sleeved sheath. A watch adds a professional look to a sheath at work. Don a jeweled statement necklace when wearing a short- or three-quarter-sleeved sheath to a cocktail party.
Jewelry for Necklines
Sheath dresses are often styled with a crew, boat, sweetheart or V-neckline. Whichever style you choose, make sure your necklace either follows the shape of your neckline or extends past it. For a high neckline, choose a short, chunky jeweled necklace that sits right above the neckline or a long, beaded style. Boat necklines work with an elongated, almost waist-length neckline to bring balance. Necklaces don’t sit as nicely around V-necklines, so go for a hoop earrings or a collection of bangle bracelets instead.
Jewelry for Prints
If you go with an allover print, keep jewelry more subtle so as not to take away from the sheath dress. Accent monochromatic prints with a bold pop of color like ruby stud earrings with a black-and-gray striped sheath. Take one shade from a colorful graphic or floral print for your statement piece of jewelry. Bright red bangle bracelets add a romantic look to floral prints. An emerald green jeweled necklace adds an evening look to a colorful graphic print. Solid silver or gold jewelry is a fail-safe choice for printed dresses to add shine without extra color.
References and ResourcesWashington Post: Style Vocab- Shift vs. Sheath and More
Redbook: These Sheath Dresses Give You the Perfect Hourglass Shape
Vogue: Transitional Dressing Done Right -- Celebrity Style Kate Bosworth's Sleek Sheath Dress
Wardrobe Oxygen: How to Accessorize a Sheath Dress