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Ditch Boring Cardigans and Pashminas For These Party-Ready Jackets

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For When You're Wearing: A cocktail dress in a bright summery color.


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For When You're Wearing: A little black slipdress.
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For When You're Wearing: A full-skirted, tea-length dress. Together it'll look so feminine and Betty Draper-y.


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For When You're Wearing: A simple black or white dress and you want a jacket that makes it seem like more of a complete look.
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For When You're Wearing: A dress that you don't want to pair with a black jacket—like an orange one, because the combo would be kinda Halloween-ish.
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For When You're Wearing: Something in the nude or white family, so you can go for a '90s Calvin Klein-y look.


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For When You're Wearing: A white dress and you don't want to go for the white-and-black pairing. Instead, go for lighter accessories, like nude heels and this little jacket.


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For When You're Wearing: A knee-length dress in bright pink, because pink and red make such a color color combo.


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For When You're Wearing: A maxi dress, because cropped jackets work really well with those proportions.


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For When You're Wearing: A bright-colored mini dress.


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For When You're Wearing: Soft florals and you want something pretty and feminine.


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For When You're Wearing: A full, pleated skirt and strappy heels, because the notch in the lapel will give it a cool structured contrast.
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For When You're Wearing: A white dress and white shoes. White on white always looks crisp.
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For When You're Wearing: Any dress that you'd almost pair with a black blazer with real lapels if it didn't feel too corporate. The drapey hem gives this the shape of a cardigan with the polish of a blazer.

Digital Fashion Writer

Here's a buzzkill: wearing a brand new, hold-the-phone cocktail dress out, only to wrap it in a matronly pashmina or some dude's blazer within 20 minutes of getting wherever you were going. It happens to me all summer long, because I keep assuming that if it's 81 degrees during the day I'll be totally fine without some sort of layer at night—and I'm always wrong. I get to the wedding/overly-air-conditioned restaurant/breezy rooftop shindig and I'm FREEZING. Or at least covered in goosebumps.

That's when I reach for the frumpy black cardigan I've had as a default layer forever, or my mom's pashmina or my boyfriend's jacket, and it's like resigning myself to an outfit I no longer like. It sucks. But it's also my fault, because I keep forgetting to just plan for some other option. A polished, pretty layer, because I do have summer jackets—denim, thin leather, army ones—but they just don't work at parties when I need to be fancy. These ones below do, though. Click through to see them all and, along with the type of cocktail dress to pair them with. Each one is cool enough that you won't even want to take it off when people start Instagraming party pictures, and isn't that the true quality test?

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