How to Style and Re-style Your Summer Occasion Dresses

The further into adulthood I venture, the more I find that my calendar is becoming increasingly packed with events. This means more socialising – yay! – but also more shopping for occasion outfits – boo! Trust me, serial shopping may sound like a ‘yay’, but it becomes a serious ‘boo’ after about the third bout of pre-pay day panic-fuelled sale shopping (cue the question, ‘what kind of dress can I get for… zero pounds?’). None, the answer is no dresses.

Summer Occasion Styling – Spot the Difference! *Dress by TFNC from House of Fraser

Rather than crawl under my duvet and wait for summer to be over, I’ve mastered the art of working and re-working key pieces in my wardrobe so that they can be (gasp!) repeated (yes I said it) with little to no detection. Read on for a list of the little things that make a big difference.

Okay so, as you’ve clocked from the image above, the number one way to rework a dress (stroke jumpsuit, playsuit, matching separates, you get the picture…) is to pick something simple like this LBD and then accessorise it to match the event. I chose this dress because it’s conservatively cut enough that I can wear it around family but leggy enough that I can style it sexy when I want to. The old idea that you can’t wear black to weddings is well out of the window btw – of course you can, it’s how you style it that matters. 

*Beaded clutch bag here from House of Fraser

When you choose a simple dress it becomes really easy to style it differently and add the ‘wow’ factor according to the type of event you’re attending. Choose a neutral colour and then you can go with completely different accessories each time to give your dress a different look. Heels vs. flats, bare legs v.s tights. Scarf, shawl, leather jacket. Beaded clutch bag or cross body tote. Each of these little touches tells a completely different story. Are you headed to the races or to a nice restaurant? Are you rock chic or Holly GoLightly? Start with a simple piece and then build on it to tell your story and create your look.

This also works a treat for wearing one dress to the same type of events e.g. during wedding season. Swap sexy stilettos for summery sandals and delicate jewellery for bold pieces. It’s all about detracting from the one item you’ve repeated by super styling all of the things you’ve switched up. And hey, on the off-chance that someone does notice, you’ll get extra style points for having made the same piece look stylish in another way. That’s more impressive than just buying a new dress any day.

Gunmetal choker/necklace from my store MADE by Jade
Gunmetal choker/necklace (same as left, styled long) from MADE by Jade

Finally, cement your style story with complimentary hair and makeup. It’s the difference between looking like you just did a quick change between last week’s wedding and this Saturday’s bbq or really looking totally different. Pretty in pink accessories with romantic hair waves and peach lipgloss for one wedding. Sexy and sophisticated with a sleek up do and red lips for another. By the end, no one will remember the dress, they will remember the girl who wore it and the story she told with her accessories.

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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x