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?