Whether you are looking for a cover-up because you don’t want to show your upper arms, or because you know you may get chilly at a winter event, here are some perfect shrugs and boleros for evening dresses to get you party ready.

It may be that you’ve already combed stores looking for dresses with sleeves. Or perhaps you already have a gown in your closet that you want to wear, but you need to find a cover-up to go with it.

Holidays and formal parties can be a tough challenge if you do want to cover your upper arms because so many beautiful gowns are either sleeveless or strapless.

The key is to find a stylish bolero, shrug or jacket which definitely doesn’t look like daywear or outerwear – otherwise, you will spend the evening with your host trying to coerce you into giving them your coat.

How to find a cover-up online

It can also be hard if you’re shopping online to find exactly what you are looking for, because different brands and designers call their evening cover-ups different things.

So if at first what you’re looking for doesn’t pop up, try a different search term. Try searching for boleros, capes, capelets, shrugs and wraps. If you want something a little longer, you could also look at kimonos and ruanas. They should all provide a stylish way to cover-up your evening dresses.

Here are 10 of my favorite cover-ups in stores now. How about you? What do you use as a cover-up? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments.

The best shrugs and boleros for evening dresses in stores now

Satin bolero

Satin is always a luxe look for evening. This Eliza J bolero is a classic shape which would pair well with most evening dresses. It will stylishly cover upper arms while providing a little extra warmth for winter events.

Stylish boleros for evening dresses | 40plusstyle.com

Ted Baker cape

Ted Baker may have started life as a menswear specialist, but it has certainly come into its own when it comes to knowing how women want to dress.

I love this beautiful dark botanical print. You could definitely wear this over a simple dress or jeans and a silky shirt and it would give any outfit an immediate wow factor.

Dark botanical printed cover-ups | 40plusstyle.com

Faux fur bolero

Fake fur always adds a touch of glamor to an outfit. You could wear this over jeans too so you would get lots of wear out of it during the holiday season.

Embellished capelet

If you have a fairly plain dress in your closet, you could always add interest, as well as warmth through the use of a bolero or capelet. This embellished capelet will draw the eye up to your face.

Ideas on how to use capelets | 40plusstyle.com

Faux fur stole

Evoke the glamor of days gone by with a faux fur stole. You could wear this with your evening wear, but it would also look stunning with daywear. You could layer it over a winter coat you already have in your closet, or even wear with a leather biker jacket.

Faux fur stole for you winter outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Cape jacket

The arm cut out detailing on this jacket is very on-trend. Even if you do want to cover up your upper arms, this Vince Camuto cape jacket could still be a flattering option because the split seam arm means you only show part of your arms, creating a slimming effect.

Timeless cover ups for women | 40plusstyle.com

Tartan wrap

While tartan and plaid is often worn as a daywear option, the foil detailing on this Michael Kors wrap elevates it for evening by adding a little sparkle.

Chic tartan wraps for your layering looks this winter | 40plusstyle.com


I thought I’d also include a longer option here, as I’ve just discovered the New Friends Colony brand, which has lots of kimono options. You could wear one of these over a LBD and let the kimono do the talking, or over cigarette-leg pants or smart black jeans and instantly take your outfit from daywear to evening.

I’d wear with a pair of tassel earrings to go with the slightly boho vibe of the kimono style.

Dark kimono pieces for women over 40 | 40plusstyle.com

Blue shimmer wrap

Of course, you don’t have to stick to a bolero or shrug to cover up your evening gowns. You could opt for a beautiful wrap. This shimmer wrap from Nordstrom comes in four different colors, so you should find one to pair with your party dress.

Classic blue wrap for your winter party looks | 40plusstyle.com

Lace dress and jacket

If you do have a formal event to attend, you could also look at dresses which have matching jackets like this one from Alex Evenings. You could also wear the pieces as separates. The lace jacket would look lovely worn more casually with jeans and heels for dinner.

Lace dress and jacket set for a coordinated look | 40plusstyle.com

Do you cover up with shrugs and boleros for evening dresses? What is your favorite way to cover up your arms and stay warm during the holiday season?


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Shrugs and boleros for evening dresses: 10 stylish party cover up ideas | 40plusstyle.com

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