Visible Monday: One dress, seven outfits

I’m not sure when or why I stopped wearing dresses, but it probably had something to do with my belief that they’re less versatile than separates. While people are much more likely to notice repeat wearings of the same dress, the same skirt or pair of trousers can be worn practically every day (trust me on this one).

But as I’ve explored the world of style blogs, I’ve noticed that a great dress, in a versatile pattern and a classic style, can give you an array of diverse outfits — simply because it can be styled in so many different ways.  (Have I mentioned, lately, that I didn’t know “style” was a verb until I started blogging?)

Soon I was thinking, “Dang, I gotta get me a dress!” (I revert into Southern Ohio speak when talking to myself).  Well, as luck would have it, this was about the time that Patti at Not Dead Yet Style had a Karina Dress giveaway!  And as God is my witness, I was the winner.

Now, if you know Patti’s blog, you know a little bit about Karina Dresses. This woman-owned business, based in Brooklyn, NY, creates beautiful, flattering dresses in versatile patterns and classic cuts. They were also recently honored by Travel & Leisure for creating the perfect travel dress, because — seriously — you can roll these puppies up into little balls and they will not wrinkle.

When my dress arrived in the mail, I was pleased to see that the pattern mixes very well with my earthtone-based color scheme:

I’m not sure why colors never show well in my photos (I’m a writer, first, you realize), but this lovely print contains shades of olive green and brown. (Unless it’s purple. Hmmm… maybe my perception of colors is the problem, not my camera!)

Anyway, there are many different styles of Karina dresses, but I chose the Megan. This is a wrap-style dress with a flattering v-neck, high waistline, and flared skirt.

I chose this model because I love wrap styles and V-necks. After getting it, though, I realized with some surprise that I never — ever — wear full, A-line skirts. I’ve always had the sense that super-straight or tapered skirts flatter me more, though I don’t know why. (I’ve been giving this some thought, though, and I may or may not explore this scintillating topic in a future post).

My point is: this dress is perfect for me because it’s encouraging me to try a new silhouette! So enough yammering on. Let’s get to the dress! Here it is in its simplest form:


Now, for the classic, dressy dress look, I think Megan wants a somewhat delicate shoe. I, naturally, own none of these. This was the closest I could get:

And while I thought this was OK, I found myself reaching for my trusty boots:

For me, the issue with boots and a more feminine skirt (or dress) is always this: do the boots overwhelm the look, making it too chunky or clunky or otherwise indelicate? I thought I was OK here, but maybe just barely. As I started adding more pieces to the look, though, I became increasingly comfortable with the boots.

First, I added a belt:

I liked this look a lot, but I couldn’t stop the belt from sliding down, riding lower than the high, fitted waistline of the dress. If any readers have a cure for that — preferably one that will still permit me to eat and breathe — be sure to let me know!

Next, I tried a couple of different jackets:

The jacket on the left is one that I almost never wear, just because I find it a little too stiff, a little too boxy, a little too masculine, a little too…. something! I like it better with the dress than with anything else I’ve tried, but I’m still pretty sure I prefer the second jacket.

Next I tried a different jacket, belted:

Hosiery connoisseurs may note that the plum-colored jacket simply begged for matching tights.  And so I obliged. I liked this look a whole lot, actually, which is slightly sad because this jacket is one of those heavy, confining ones that I always find  myself taking off. With the belt, this could be awkward. (But I really like it with the belt!)

Finally, just to shake things up a little bit more, I tried this:

Even though it seemed a shame to cover up the lovely neckline and bodice with this vest, I wanted to stretch the boundaries of what you can do with a dress. I’ve seen many great looks that involve covering the top half completely, so I wanted to try it. I kind of liked it, too!

I’m pretty thrilled, actually, to have gotten so many different outfits. I think this dress will integrate with and expand my wardrobe nicely.  So I’m happy to link up to the “Visible Monday” blog event at Not Dead Yet Style. Be sure to hop on over there and see what the other ladies are wearing!  (I just took a look, myself, and wouldn’t you know it? Patti and I are both sporting our Karinas!)

When it comes to styling dresses, what’s your story? Do you have any favorite techniques? How many looks can you get from one dress? Do you have any more ideas that I should try?

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About Anne @ The Frump Factor

Reflections on beauty and style, for women who weren't born yesterday. Bring your sense of humor and "Fight the Frump" with me!
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34 Responses to Visible Monday: One dress, seven outfits

  1. I am so tickled to see you in your Karina, (on the same day as myself, of course : >) you look wonderful! I think the belt-over-jacket may be my favorite look, although I do understand the dilemma of removing the jacket several times a day. I really like the sweater over the dress too, and will have to give that a go! Thanks so much for linking your twin-brain, er, I mean post, up to Visible Monday : >

  2. Sue says:

    To keep the belt in place, try a roll of fashion tape (no kidding). Kohl’s stores have it, in the lingerie section; you can also buy it on eBay. Some Targets may have it, too. I got that suggestion from Sal at Already Pretty, and boy, does it work. I use it to keep no-closure cardigans draping properly, flattening lapels, keeping necklines in place, closing up droopy pockets on jackets or sweaters–you name it.

  3. Serene says:

    Personally Anne, I think you nailed it in all the looks! But I’m especially fond of the belted ones! I just have an affinity for belts and it creates a more balanced silhouette. You look FABULOUS and you picked a great dress! Hugs! ~Serene

  4. This is one of the Karena styles I liked as well, Anne!! You look fabulous in it…so flattering and I really like all of the different ways that you styled it! One of my goals is to get more dresses for summer…I think they are versatile and you certainly proved that here!!

  5. Terri says:

    The dress fits you so beautifully. I like all of these stylings, though I think my favorite involves the plum tights.

  6. Louise says:

    I love how you changed up your necklaces for these looks, too. Very versatile and flattering looks, all around!

  7. Melanie says:

    I love how you have styled your dress is so many different ways! The cut is incredibly flattering. Great way to kick off the week.

  8. Great post and so fun to see how one dress can have so many incarnations!

  9. Gail says:

    You look really lovely in that dress. I like dresses but somehow they always feel too…..dressy…..so I only wear them if I’m going somewhere “posh”.

    • I know exactly what you mean — I struggle with that, too. We’ll have to see if I feel comfortable in this one! To me it reads fairly casual, though…. (but that may just be after I “dress it down” with lots of clunky pieces!)

  10. tamerakitten says:

    Wow I LOVE it!! I’m not a dress person (I admit to owning ONE) and I’m gonna have to dig it out and try some of your ideas!! Plus I think I NEED a Karina dress!!

  11. Katrina says:

    OMG, you picked the perfect dress! It is neutral but flattering, and you’ve done so much with it. I think the boots look excellent. Have you thought about contrasting colors for jackets or scarves? I think the dress would look lovely with red, light blue, or bright green. This is just a GREAT use of your imagination, your closet, and a very pretty dress.

    • Great ideas, Katrina. While I don’t have jackets in any of those colors, I expect a bright green one may be in my future (I’ve been eyeing them for quite some time). I didn’t think to try scarves with this dress for some reason, but now I think you may be right. I’m going to have to spend another day playing!

  12. You did a great job of styling here. I had a thought that an obi style belt would look really good with this as well. My favorite is the last look. The dress is beautiful and you look fab in it.

  13. Beryl says:

    I think you look like you could be in a Jane Austen film in the first photos with those curls of yours. You would be the scandalous one with the too short skirt. Belt loops would be keep that belt in place. You could safety pin them on (from the inside) if you only wanted a belt temporarily. If you wanted to make them out of matching fabric, I would trim 1/2 inch off the cuff and use that for the loops.

  14. pastcaring says:

    As a committed dress wearer, I think they are very versatile items. This one is really pretty and the shape and fit are great. Boots and the tan belt make it more casual, brighter accessories would make it more dressy. It’s always good to play around with new looks, I love it! xxxxx

  15. Hi! I love your blog! The dress looked beautiful and I really like all the outfits you came up with (belt and boots with necklace was my favorite). I’ve already signed up to subscribe! Off to check out the Karina dresses website. Who knew? Thanks for finding me on WordPress. So glad you did! :)

  16. gracefully50 says:

    Oh Anne, you’ve made me smile!
    This is a very lovely and flattering dress! You did a wonderful job of creating different looks. I really like them all. Is the material light enough for Spring? I think it look look wonderful with a pair of sandals and a scarf. Just my humble thought… :)

    • The material is definitely light enough, but the long sleeves might be an issue. I know exactly what you mean, though — I was thinking sandals, too! (I tried my wedge sandals with tights, but I didn’t like the look). Thanks for the ideas!

  17. This is a wonderful post. It really shows what you can do with a single dress. You styled it wonderfully – especially the belted looks.

  18. Rae says:

    Fabulous dress – I want one!

    You look great in it, I love all the different styles you got from it

  19. This was an exciting post! I’m really motivated now! I’ve done this with one dress but not with as many options as you used and I can’t wait to go try stuff on!

  20. yearstricken says:

    You now have so many outfits from that one dress. Very stylish!

  21. stylecrone says:

    I am impressed that you could get so many unique lovely ‘looks’ with your beautiful Karina dress. I especially love photo #3, playful side view with heels.

  22. gingerR says:

    Nice looking dress! It goes very well with your style.

  23. jofrances40 says:

    You created some great looks! Now I’m inspired to see what I can do with the dresses in my closet. :-)

  24. Lisa says:

    Wow, you really did an amazing job of putting together several outfits with a single dress! Love the boots with it too.

  25. Lorena says:

    This is one pretty dress.
    I use to stay away from dresses and then realized it was the easy way to get dressed.
    I think its a great idea as soon as you bring a new item into your home, to style it as many ways as possible – like you have done.
    Maybe if I did the same, things would not hang in my closet for months before i wore them.

  26. Congrats on winning the Karina dress. Your post reminded me before I started reading style blogs, I thought dresses only did one thing. Now I know one dress has infinite possibilities! They’ve always been a wardrobe staple for me due to what I like to call the “nightgown factor.” Soooo comfortable!

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