Be still, my heart. This dress is THE best! Its pattern, as you can see in these pictures, is vibrant as are the colors. There are slits on the sides plus an opening below the buttons in the front so, even though the dress is long, it is airy and even a little sexy. PLUS I will also wear it as a long jacket/duster and maybe even over skinny jeans.
It is a perfect example of the beautiful and inexpensive interpretations of high end fashion that H&M can do so well. I buy maybe 3-4 things a year at H&M and I’ve learned over the years not to “leap” at something ordinary and cheap. I wait for beauties like this!
I am not normally a fan of multiple layer loose tunic-y outfits like this. I’ve always been so conscious of the need to create a visible waistline – usually worried that otherwise I’ll look bigger than I am. But it felt pretty good to wear this tunic and vest over flowy trousers.
This dress/tunic was part of the Adam Lippes x Target line that came out last fall. It is beautifully made with knotted fabric buttons – and the “hand” of the fabric is very high quality. I cannot wait to now wear it as a dress!
Midi length tunics are definitely a trend this year and I decided to use my various button up dresses to test out the look. Readers, this is lots of fun! I already have way too many midi sweater coats and I love them all. But this is a way to extend an existing wardrobe – and it works especially well between seasons. Try it out if you dare!
Believe it or not, this is a hi low dress from last year – I guess this look has become more dramatic in the past year! In any case, this simple shirtwaist dress design is incredibly versatile. I could wear this unbuttoned with a tee and white jeans and instantly have the duster look.
My obi is also incredibly useful – I’ve worn it with the pink side out and it looks great that way as well. You can also use a scarf to achieve the sash effect. I am all about clothes that can be worn many different ways. This is a large part of the fun of fashion to me!
We’re starting a new series called “What We Want Wednesday“, to share with you guys the items we’ve got our eye on and the thought process behind whether to press the “BUY” button!
Kate says: What I’ve been thinking about buying lately is a suede skirt. The first challenge will be finding one that looks decent but is affordable. Here are some options I’m looking at:
The other challenge? How to style it without looking straight out of the 70s. 70s style may be in this spring… but it’s really not for me. So I think I’d keep it simple with solid, modern tops like seen here:
So the verdict? I think I’ll wait. I haven’t quite found a skirt long enough for work (like the pencil version above) — and honestly, it just doesn’t make sense for me to invest in something I can’t wear to work. So I’ll keep my eye out for a longer A-line or pencil skirt.
Jeanne says: Ah, a little suede skirt; I had one in a peach color in college (sigh). What I want today is a white shirtdress. In fact, I bought one at Gap at the end of last summer and I couldn’t convince myself to keep it. So now my desire is even more intense. The trick is to find one that is chic AND long enough AND doesn’t cost too much. Here are a few that meet my criteria:
No doubt there will be more of these appearing as we get closer to summer, but my verdict is to buy now! I’m voting for the ASOS dress (in white!) which I can belt, dress up or down and even wear as a long duster. Here are some cute styling ideas for my future dress!
Kate says: This outfit is so ME. Two colorful pieces in fairly simple cuts, added personality points for polka dots and the lace trim on this skirt (which you can’t see here). I love the cut of this skirt — perfectly A-line and not too short. A flattering option for any body. And this color combo works so perfectly, as you can see in our very different takes!
I DO love seeing Mom in these slightly retro looks every now and then. She keeps it from going overboard with interesting pieces and her sassy haircut. I’m not sure her dress and cardigan could be more perfectly matched — in addition to color, they are both embroidered! She looks bright and happy here. On Kate: GAP Outlet tee (similar), J.Crew skirt (similar), J.Crew Factory necklace (similar), Anthropologie flats (similar)
Jeanne says: I always get lots of compliments when I wear this dress and sweater combo. It’s just a little vintage for what I see as my style, but then it’s always good to mix things up, right? I bought the dress solely because of its color and easy-to-wear design, but it has been harder than I thought to wear the dress with different combinations — because it has such a singular identity? In any case, it’s another fashion lesson — know your style and stick with it!
Kate and I were together when she bought this darling yellow skirt — and it is just over the top with that wonderful polka dot top. Her yellow skirt proves my point above. Yes, the skirt is bright yellow, but its design is simple and it will go with almost any top or any other color as opposed to my detailed and slightly fussy dress. Anyway, she looks darling and summery and I like her outfit much better than mine! On Jeanne: Anthropologie dress (similar), Anthropologie sweater (similar), Banana Republic belt (similar), Dolce Vita shoes (similar)
Jeanne says: I’m probably crazy to like this dress so much, but I think it has the potential to be very versatile. I can wear it belted or not and I even see it working as a long vest or flowy coat. And doesn’t everyone need to have a great black dress? Anyway this is my idea of the perfect spring dress for yours truly!
Kate’s dress is darling and maybe a little more traditionally spring-like. But not really since it is tweedy and a very structured look — no bright colors or bright spring flowers. She brings in bright colors with her fabulous turquoise shoes. Her dress is very versatile too — it could work as a jumper and would look very different with a belt and a belt or little booties. Nicely done, Kate!
Kate says: This dress was a great on-sale score from Banana Republic. I like it because it’s feminine with this light pink tweed material, but the black piping gives it a little edge. And this A-line shape is flattering on everyone. Earlier in spring (when it was still cold), I wore this with a black turtleneck underneath; but I love it paired with bright heels!
Mom’s twist on a shirtdress is very her — asymmetrical midi length, cap sleeves. She sasses it up, of course, with the most statement-y of necklaces and adorable red sandals. A shirtdress is super versatile — on it’s own during warmer weather, or layered over or under a sweater/button-up/turtleneck during colder weather.
Jeanne says: I love this wonderful ethnic belt from Anthropologie and it went very well with my slightly ethnic embroidered yellow dress. I had to have this picture taken in my “secret garden” with its huge equally yellow flowers. All perfect for a hot summer day in the Pacific Northwest.
I love how Kate has “dressed down” her yellow lace dress. You’ve seen her in this blue and white sweater before, but this is the first time I’ve seen her knot it at the waist – very “of the moment”, I think. This outfit would also look great with her flat gold or orange sandals. She’ll be able to wear her dress all year round, while, sadly, my yellow dress is only for warm summer days.
Kate says: I really felt like it was stroke of style brilliance when it occurred to me to knot this cardigan at the waist. I love the light, jersey fabric – such a comfortable cardigan! – but its shapelessness is challenging for me. I’ve belted it before, but knotting it made it feel more current. I also enjoyed finding a new way to wear this yellow lace dress that has been such a staple for me this summer.
I love Mom’s embroidered shirtdress – such a perfect style for summer. This outfit is quite different from the last time we saw this dress, but shows the versatility of a shirtdress. And I have to disagree with Mom – I could see wearing this shirtdress through the fall with a cardigan or blazer and boots!
Jeanne says: This dress is at least five years old – bought “as is” at Barney’s in San Francisco and in need of significant repairs when I got it. But it has served me well and it is a one of a kind. When I saw this ASOS belt, I knew it would be perfect. I added the sandals and voila! Brown is under-rated in the warmer months. We wear black – why not a wonderful, rich brown?
Kate’s dress is an interesting one. It has all the details of a flirty summer dress – tucks, ruffles, etc – but again in an uncommon color for summer. She looks great here with the turquoise accents (although they are a little “matchy-matchy” for her) and her cute necklace. The brown also brings out the color of her hair. I wouldn’t change a thing about her outfit here. And this dress would look fabulous with a lot of other saturated bright summer colors, wouldn’t it?
Kate says: I love this dress. It was one of the first Old Navy pieces I ever purchased back when Old Navy was becoming “cool”. It has lace insets, a ruffle trim, and pintucked bodice, but the brown color keeps it from looking overdone. Brown is kind of a hard color to wear – in the summer, it just doesn’t seem bright or light enough. I like it with these turquoise accents (which in person are not so matchy-matchy, I swear!), but I’m also excited by the challenge to make this even more “summery”. You’ll see it again!
Mom’s outfit features a great shirtdress – I really love a shirtdress with a nice full skirt. It’s such a flattering silhouette! I also like how she pulled in the lighter brown/tan accents – you can really get a sense of the detail of her belt because it is such a centerpiece. The tie-dye looking stripes are fun – I probably would have thrown in some more color to bring out the yellow hints. Can’t you just see her with a big necklace under that buttoned up collar?
Jeanne says: When I found this sweater on sale at Anthropologie, I loved it but had no idea what I could wear it with besides jeans and ubiquitous black pants. Lo and behold, tried it with my yellow shirtdress and it was perfecto in a slightly retro way! I thought it called for a Audrey Hepburn shoe but with a little sass – hence the animal print.
I love Kate’s yellow lace dress, but I probably would have styled it differently. The dress itself has such a presence that I would have either done a very bright pump with the jacket or perhaps another shade of blue, but probably not the dark tight and brown shoe. But variety and different styles are what make the world go round, right?
Kate says: I’ll admit, this photo is a little old, which is why I was wearing tights. I was trying to slightly winterize this super springy dress. I do like it with the blazer though – I love a feminine dress paired with a structured blazer. I also love this gold spikey necklace, and yellow and gold are a great combo. I can’t wait to wear this dress in a more warm-weather way!
Mom has hit on a great combo with yellow and blue! Normally, I’m inclined to pair yellow with greens, but I will definitely take a cue from Mom and try out other fun pairings. I like to see a slightly retro look on her, because it’s so different from her normal style. Such a flattering look with the full skirt and belted waist. I would have worried about too much embroidery going on, but it works here!