Many women have a love/hate relationship with dresses. While we may like the way a dress looks, we’re not exactly into spending a ton of money on a dress that’s so formal it can only be worn once a month. We’re also not into hearing comments like “Isn’t it too cold to be wearing that outfit?” or “Aren’t you uncomfortable in that?”
We can’t always avoid nosy people, but the good news is that there are a few steps we can take that’ll make us look and feel great in a dress. Here are three ways to do just that.
Focus on What Works for Your Body
Trends shouldn’t frustrate you. If T-shirt dresses are hot in your city but make you feel like a shapeless lump, then stop trying them on, and definitely stop buying them. You need to find something that works for your body type. The racks may be full of dresses designed for petite women who wear a size two, but there’s no need to beat yourself up if that description doesn’t apply to you. The average clothing size in America is somewhere around a 16, so it doesn’t apply to most women. Luckily, online shopping gives you way more options. Plus, most online retailers offer free or low-cost returns if a piece arrives and doesn’t look the way you thought it would.
What are some more universally flattering styles? A fit-and-flare style works for a lot of different body types, and so do maxi dresses. Maxi dresses in particular have a lot of different variations. You can get a three-quarter sleeve maxi dress in a subdued color if you work at an office, or you can get a strappy maxi dress with a daring slit for those nights when you want to go out for drinks with your squad. If you feel good in your outfit, you’re going to radiate a confidence that will make other people stand up and take notice.
Don’t Overspend (or Underspend)
If you flip through a fashion magazine in the checkout line, it’s easy to think that everyone and their mother is paying thousands of dollars for a pair of ankle socks. Fashion magazines like Vogue are often more aspirational than anything. One fashion blogger even admitted to magazines fabricating reality by writing, “this dream world that magazines create.” There are few women who are going to pay a list price of $5,000 for a blouse, yes. The rest of us will see words like “Gucci dress, price on request” and take it to mean, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”
What about fast fashion? Is it the answer? It can be, but be careful there, as well. There is such a thing as too cheap. Too often “fast” means “disposable.” Nations like the United States are struggling to deal with textile waste generated from $5 shirts and $10 jeans. Opt for a price point that will let you buy pieces that last several seasons rather than just a few weeks.
Behold the Power of Accesories
Are you all dressed up but still feel like something’s missing? If so, don’t underestimate the power of a relatively cheap accessory or two. Trade in that beige purse that you think goes with everything for a bright blue or jewel green handbag that makes you feel like a star. Practical is good, but even the most practical accessory has its limits. There are times when you need to go out in a cute little dress with canary yellow pumps or a multi-colored necklace that you would never try to get away with at work. If the accessory doesn’t work, you can always ditch it, but give it a shot first. Brightly colored accessories are generally a low-risk, high-reward proposition.