Friday, January 21, 2011

Mail Bag: Hiding the Top of a Dress

Hi Kasmira!

Love your blog, your writing, your style tips and your sense of humor! Can you help me out with something? I need advice on how to turn a dress into a skirt? I have a strapless white and red eyelit dress that I'd like to wear a top over the dress so it looks like a skirt and a top, but I have no idea what kind of top to cover up with. I see you be very creative with dresses and am hoping you can give me some tips!

Thanks, Jennie


When is a dress not a dress? When you cover the top and call it a skirt. This little trick can get you twice the life out of your dresses. It’s especially helpful if the top of the dress is inappropriate for a more conservative venue (like the office or church).

The easiest dresses to layer over are sleeveless/strapless and of a lightweight fabric. You'll see, below, that I have worn and reworn a strapless, khaki sheath as a skirt. Sleeved dress work, as long as the material is thin. Bulky sleeves don't layer well.

I’ve tried a number of different style tops over my dresses.

1. Cardigan (buttoned) or sweater

I recommend a fitted cardigan/sweater if the dress’ skirt is full. If the dress has a straight or tapered skirt, a looser top will work.


2. Buttoned Shirt

The same rules apply for a shirt as a cardigan/sweater; look for a fitted shape. Shirts with seaming and darts are ideal. Add a belt for more waist definition.


3. Tee

Well, I’ve only tried this once, but I liked it! It works best with a fitted and/or knotted t-shirt.

4. Vest

A vest (or waistcoat) over a sleeveless dress gives you the look of a separates outfit, but keeps you cool.


5. Multiple Toppers

Layer two or more toppers over the dress for dozens of different looks. Try a tank and a shrug. A blouse and a vest. A jacket and a scarf.



P.S. Cover the bottom (with another skirt) and you can triple the potential of a dress.

6 comments:

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I have never done this...but all of these looks are so cute..I think i will give it a try! Thanks for the motivation and great ideas!

Jules said...

I love the retrospective of all the ways you've turned a dress into a skirt. I wish I had your creativity. BTW, has the top of the brown strapless Newport dress ever seen the light of day?

angie said...

Great post and very explicit! No more questions!

Sheila said...

I also love strapless dresses worn OVER a button-down shirt (you can add a jacket and a belt to keep it more conservative). This works really well if your strapless is a heavy fabric (I have a grey wool strapless that works wonderfully).

Awesome illustration of your tutorial!

fashionoverfifty said...

I never think to wear a dress as a skirt~and if I do--the textures are always fighting each other! Very ingenious in all your looks~Paula

Jennie Backus said...

Awesome!! Thank you!