April 28, 2017
The assumption is that when you wear a dress, you have to be going for a dressy look. But in fact, you can make your dress look more casual for the day time or because it’s just your style with these few simple tricks.
PHOTOGRAPHY // Christopher Jamar Payne for Mattie James
I’m a sucker for dresses. It’s the girly girl in me. I like them in all different shapes and sizes, colors, prints and lengths. Do I believe they always have to be dressy? Not at all. So how do you make a dress look casual without looking too lax or undone? It’s the little things like accessories, fabric, length and more. Here are 5 ways to make a dress look casual when you don’t want to deal with all the fuss.
OPT FOR COTTON
Cotton is casual. You’ll rarely see it being used for a gown or mini dress that is meant to be dressy or formal. The great thing about cotton though is that it’s relaxed, breathable and affordable. A lot of my go to casual dresses are 100% cotton and I got them from Target or a fast fashion chain for under $40. It’s the way to go to.
Naturally, when you think of casual in terms of shoes, your mind usually goes to flats or even sneakers. And yes, those are great options – flats like these and sneakers like this make dresses look casual yet together. But I will say that you can still make a dress look casual with heels. If you’re petite like me and heels are a must, opt for a blocked heel. They don’t tend to be as high and the blockiness (is that a word?) isn’t serious as a stiletto.
LESS IS MORE
When it comes to accessorizing your dress, less is more. While statement necklaces and chandelier earrings are ideal for a wedding or formal occasion, keeping your jewelry delicate is appropriate for a more laid back look. Now, it doesn’t just have to be one and done (one necklace, one bracelet, etc.), you can layer necklaces or bracelets and even stack delicate midi rings to give your look character. When it comes to other accessories – think sunnies and watches – keep them sleek and/or minimal.
Midi dresses are great and work for any season and just about any body shape. Because it’s not as short as a cocktail mini dress or long as a formal maxi, midi dresses can easily work for more casual scenarios. Opt for more A-line or wrap dress options in relaxed fabrics like cotton, linen or polyester blends. Be sure that the hem of the dress hits you past your knee but stays above the middle of your calf to keep things noticeably casual.
BELT IT UP
If you can’t hit the mark with the first four tips, just add a belt to your dress. The obvious pick would be a rope or fabric belt, but don’t feel like those are your only options. You can choose a leather belt or one with a buckle, but keep it more on the thin side (1/2″ to 2″ inches). Anything thicker than that makes a statement which is the opposite of what you’re going for: casual.
Making dresses casual work especially in the spring and summer seasons. Whether it’s to run errands or go to low key event in the afternoon (brunch, a family BBQ, kids’ birthday party), getting full use out of your dresses doesn’t only have to be something dressy. You can keep it laid back, chill and still look amazing.
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