Ten Reasons to Love Dresses

We’re celebrating the dress on this warm and sunny Memorial Day in Seattle. I’m a trouser gal at heart, but dresses hold a special place in my heart because I’m drawn to their elegant vibe. If I lived in a warmer climate, I would wear dresses more frequently. 

Here are ten reasons to make dresses part of your style:

  1. They are an easy “pull-on-and-go” item. One-piece dressing at its best.
  2. They are the breeziest item to wear on a very hot day. 
  3. Their elegant and sharp integrity is sublime. 
  4. They showcase your legs, which might be a favourite part of your body. Milk it. 
  5. They can look equally fab with flats, sneakers and bare legs, as they do with heels and hosiery. 
  6. They’re hip, creative and modern when worn over cropped jeans and pants
  7. They often look more traditionally flattering than a pair of trousers or jeans. 
  8. The right dress can be enormously comfortable, and more so than separates. 
  9. They were made for curvy figures. I LOVE the way a curvier figure can fill out a frock. 
  10. Finally, compared to previous fashion eras, we see far fewer people wearing dresses these days, which makes them quite unique. You can make a statement wearing a frock. 

 Go Team Dress!

If you’re in the US, we hope that you’re having a peaceful Memorial Day. Of course, I’m wearing a dress!

Fashion News Roundup: May 2017

J.Crew’s new strategy, an Anna Sui retrospective, plus-size clothing from MM.LaFleur and more news from the fashion trenches in May.

Fashion Quote

This month I wanted to share an inspiring quote from writer, editor and speaker Ashley Ford in the Week of Outfits series on Cup of Jo:

“I’ve spent a lot of time having this mental list of things that I was too fat for, too black for, too poor for. But it got boring. You can’t live your life like that. If you try hard to avoid disappointment, you also avoid excitement. In Italy, we’ll be staying in Cinque Terre. I have a one-piece swimsuit, but I’m in this phase of my life where I’m trying to embody myself and look the way I feel. I had been looking at bikinis for a while but felt really, really scared to pull the trigger. Then I saw blogger Gabi Fresh launched her line Swimsuits For All. There was one bikini with a ruffle top and faux-denim bottom. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s me!’ Now that I’ve stopped trying to control everything, I’ve ended up living a life where I get to feel excited, almost all of the time.”

Ensemble: White, Blue, Sea Foam & Citron

This ensemble was inspired by one of the outfits I wore last week. I combined my Rag & Bone wide cropped jeans with a white cropped lantern sleeve pullover, white loafers, Spring citron scarf, citron bag and sea foam jacket. The effect was crisp, fresh and insulating for a chilly Spring day. 

Here are the exact items from my wardrobe.

Combine these colours in any way at all. Note that denim works well as the shade of blue. Mint can be used instead of sea foam, and metallics look fab thrown into the mix.

Here are some ideas to get you started. The ensemble on the left approximates what I wore. It worked as well without the jacket, so feel free to leave out the sea foam if that’s more to your taste. Or leave out the citron and have a slice of lemon loaf instead.

Blue Jeans, White Top, Sea Foam Jacket & Citron Accents

Combine a pair of blue jeans with a white top that works with the style of the jeans. Add white or metallic shoes. Finish off the look with citron scarf, a bag to match and sea foam topper. Alternatively, layer a white jacket over a sea foam top. 

Mint Dress & Denim Jacket

Combine a mint dress with a blue or white denim jacket. Add a citron bag, and finish off the look with white, silver or light blue footwear that works with the style of the dress. Adding a scarf in the colours of the palette is optional. 

White Chinos, Sea Foam Top & Denim Jacket  

Combine white chinos or jeans with a sea foam or mint top. Add a light blue blazer or denim jacket, and finish off the look with white or silver footwear. A citron bag and scarf would be nice. But if citron isn’t your colour, sport mint with light blue and sip on a tall glass of fresh lemonade instead. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

Ensemble: White, Blue, Seafoam & Citron




Assorted Items

Fun stuff to add to your wardrobe for Spring and Summer.

Read More

Casual Dresses

An assortment of easy casual dresses for Summer, some of which can be dressed up.

Read More

Weekly Roundup: COS Picks

An arty and glam list of top picks from Scandinavian COS.

Read More

Replenishing my Basics

I’ve been replenishing wardrobe basics recently, and these are the items that work well for me.

Read More

Spring Jackets

Swap out your Winter coat for a jacket as we move into a lovely mild Spring.

Read More

Affordable Tops

An assortment of tops that won’t break the bank.

Read More

Link Love: Shopping Challenges

I have been reading the Personal Essays section on the Racked website, and these three accounts of specific shopping challenges gave me much food for thought:

Alaina Leary, who was born with inherited congenital anosmia, tells us what it’s like to pick a perfume when you have no sense of smell.

With her atopic dermatitis (eczema), Olga Mecking has to avoid ruffles, lace, artificial fabrics, cinched tops, tight skirts etcetera, which can take a lot of the fun out of shopping.

Peneliope Richards describes how being in a wheelchair makes shopping for clothes so much harder than it should be.

Fab Links from Our Members

Lisa thought that Pippa Middleton’s wedding dress with all the lace detailing was very pretty.

Joy lets us know that Eileen Fisher is now recycling their clothes and selling them online in their ongoing commitment to “build a circular design system and create a future without waste.” Joy is looking for some specific items and plans to try this service. She also plans to send them some of her older items.

Angie wanted to share these excellent DIY clothing storage tips. Really clever!

Greyscale really liked this interview with Stacy London of What Not to Wear, and her Man Repeller makeover. She adds: “I appreciate reading about how her style has changed in this ‘no fashion rule goes unchallenged’ era.”

How to Wear Dresses Over Pants and Jeans

About eight years ago I went through a stage of often wearing A-line dresses or fitted shirtdresses over skinnies and clamdiggers. After a long break from the combination I started wearing it again last year, both for casual and dressy occasions, and am back to enjoying it enormously. I’ve updated the vibe by pairing my frocks with cropped straight or flared jeans, or cropped trousers to showcase the ankle. 

Visually, I ADORE the pairing of these silhouettes. A little avant-garde, modern retro, dramatic, elegant, and thoroughly modern. Practically, I find the pairing extremely comfortable because I can get more use out my dresses by extending them into cooler weather. Also, I prefer wearing structured jeans and trousers to leggings or hosiery. 

The combination works best with dresses that are fluid or oversized on the waist, and slightly roomy in the hip area to prevent bunching, clinging and gaping. High-waisted bottoms work well because they girdle the midsection and allow the dress to lay flat. Empire cut dresses generally work well because they’re roomy from cut line to hem.  

Here are five easy ways to pair dresses with trousers and jeans with an accompanying visual. Use the photos as inspiration to create combinations from your closet, or to shop from the retailers where you prefer to spend your fashion dollars. 

1. Dressy Shirtdress & Cropped Straights

Combine a silky shirtdress or shift dress with dressy black cropped straight or flared trousers. Adding a self-tie or belt on the natural waist of a roomy shirtdress works well over high-waisted bottoms because the waistlines are in the same place. Add dressy footwear that works with the length of the trousers. There is no need to wear high heels.

ANN DEMEULEMEESTER Striped Stretch-silk Satin Tunic

2. Dressy Sack Dress & Cropped Straights

The sack dress here is very long and voluminous, but that’s not essential. Feel free to sport a much shorter dress that’s not quite as roomy. High heels temper the volume, as does wearing cropped pants with narrower hems.

BIYAN Arachne Embellished Embroidered Tulle Tunic

3. Casual Draped Jersey Dress & Skinnies

Casual draped dresses need to be roomy to wear over jeans or trousers so that they don’t cling. Here, the high-low hemline adds visual interest, and the scrunched skinnies are a nice blast from the past.  I love that comfortable flat slip-on sneakers were the choice of footwear. Pop a denim jacket over the top for warmth, and Bob’s your uncle.

RICK OWENS DRKSHDW Gathered Detail Tunic

4. Casual Shirtdress & Cropped Jeans 

Combine a casual linen or cotton shirtdress with cropped skinny, straight or flared jeans. Finish off the look with sneakers, casual flats, or sandals. Or combine a blue denim shirtdress with white or black jeans. Scrunch the sleeves and pop the collar if you like. Unbutton a few of the buttons at the bottom of the dress so that you can stride at a fast pace.

DONDUP Gingham Tunic Shirt

5. Tunic & Cropped Staggered Bottoms 

Long side slits make this a tunic and not a dress. Pop a long tunic over cropped jeans with staggered hems and add block heel sandals. Dressy cropped trousers are just as fab. Create a column of colour under the tunic with a tank top or camisole if it’s see-through.

ZARA Checked Shirt Tunic

I haven’t included a visual, but full-length bell-bottoms or bootcuts with a bit of a heel can work well with a dress or long tunic. It’s a very elegant look, so give that a go if you’re game. 

You don’t need to be tall to wear this combination. Petites simply need to adjust proportions so that the lengths of the dresses and tunics aren’t too long. 

I wear #1 and #4 frequently. Here are the exact dresses and cropped jeans and trousers from my wardrobe that I pair together to create my versions of the vibe. I finish things off with a dressy low heel, loafer, or flat pair of sandals.