The Outfit Maker Challenge - 9 ways to wear a summer dress

Posted by Victoria Lochhead on

We love a style challenge in our free Facebook group Wear It Well, and recently it was the Outfit Maker Challenge;  take one item from your wardrobe and see how many different ways you can wear it.  For me, I chose a summer dress which was relatively new (well, new to me anyway!) and I hadn't really explored how to wear it.  I got as far as nine different outfits (photos and thoughts below) but realised I could make many many more.  Please excuse my rather frowny expressions - trying to work the camera and smile was a big challenge!!

Victoria wearing a preloved floral dress for the style challenge

This is how I would normally wear this dress, and my first instinct was to dress it down by pairing it with converse - feels more my style that way.

Victoria wearing a preloved floral dress for the style challenge

I might ordinarily add a denim jacket again to give things a more casual 'natural' feel. The addition of the belt I like and I think it works on me as it suggests a waist without showing my lack of curve in my silhouette.

Victoria wearing a preloved floral dress for the style challenge

I LOVE this look! The dark green blazer and wedges smartens it up just enough for me - would definitely wear this outfit to meet a client in.

Victoria wearing a preloved floral dress for the style challenge

I don't know what you think but for me this one doesn't quite work. The length of the cardigan throws the proportions out and the visible belt although great on other people just looks wrong on me here.

Victoria wearing a preloved floral dress for the style challenge

I wondered if I could wear this dress in winter, and I think it would work. I like it with the boots and the layering on the top half, and I could add a thin roll neck top under the dress if I needed another layer. 

Victoria wearing a preloved floral dress and jumper

I put on a belt and then tucked the jumper in to the belt, which I quite like, but I will try it with other darker jumpers so there is less colour contrast.

Victoria wearing a preloved dress and jacket

I like this outfit although it does feel more wintery to me with the cardigan and jacket combo, so I would change the shoes for boots.

Victoria wearing a long floral preloved dress

Some of my shirt dresses I like to wear open like a long jacket, but it doesn't work with this dress - it's too long and looks more like a dressing gown!

Victoria wearing a floral dress and salmon cardigan

This was a surprise as there is a bit of this colour in the dress, but I really like the combination and the belt underneath again. Definitely one I'd wear!

Personally I love this exercise as it forces you to be creative and come up with new ideas or put things together that haven't been tried before.  It's also a great use of time, because successful outfit combinations can be stored on your phone and re-used multiple times (I always recommend having a bank of outfit ideas for days when you are short on time or stuck for inspiration).  It also encouraged me to think differently about the dress I used for the challenge; by visually seeing all the different ways i could wear it, I was reminded that we don't need as many clothes as maybe we think we do, and that one dress can create so many different looks and styles.  By buying versatile pieces that work hard, I can work from a much smaller wardrobe and still have endless numbers of outfits.

Another important factor in my own challenge was colour.  Because I know and use my Autumn colour palette, the colours I had to play with not only suit me, but all go together, meaning I had an endless number of colours I could mix and match with my dress.  To find out more about colour, read our blog on colour analysis.

I really enjoyed playing about with different styles and could feel instantly which felt like 'me' and which didn't, but I was also very happy to discover that this lovely dress will work just as well when we get to autumn/ winter, making it a great crossover item in my wardrobe.

Can you have a go at the outfit maker challenge?  How many outfits do you come up with?  Let us know in the comments below, or come and join in the fun in our free Facebook group.

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