August 23, 2012

Today's Everyday Fashion: Dresses That Look Like Separates

So close, and yet so far away.

I stuffed my bra. (j/k)

One of my biggest shopping rules is to focus more on separates instead of dresses, because although dresses can certainly be versatile, tops and skirts can undoubtedly be worn with more options. I especially avoid dresses that were made to look like a shirt tucked into a skirt (such as this one). I never let my clients buy them, because a similar shirt and skirt will achieve the same look and get more bang for your buck.

Enter today's outfit, though. I spotted this Limited dress (left) in the store, and attempted to re-create it with separate pieces from the same store. It was a solid plan, however, I'm not a fan of the end result. Both materials are silky, so to combat the feeling of wearing pajamas heels were a must. I also had to roll the waistband of shorts down because they are slightly too big, which made a belt necessary to cover it up. And finally, both pieces are adding a lot of volume (rule of thumb is to pair one voluminous item with one slim item), so it's not all that flattering. 

Totally bummed the re-creation didn't come out better, but I hope it still illustrated a point, and the rule still stands! Don't buy dresses that look like separates, unless it is a very specific patterned dress you are after. ;-) Do you usually buy separates or dresses (or both)?

Inspiration photo: Limited
Shirt: Limited, $15 out of stock (similar)
Shorts: Limited, $20
Belt: H&M, $5
Clutch: Urban Outfitters, $30
Shoes: Colin Stuart c/o MJR Sales, $24 (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors, family gift
Rings: My Stella & Dot website $49
Bracelets: My Stella & Dot website $34 and $32 and $59 and $59

1. Piperlime shorts, $39.99
2. Liz Claiborne shorts, $25
3. Allen B shorts, $10

64 comments:

  1. pretty little thingsAugust 23, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    I love the simplicity of the dresses but I also love how you can mix and match separates.....so both! haha

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com/

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  2. I prefer your combination better!

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  3. gorgeous shorts!

    www.modernsuburbanites.blogspot.com

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  4. dresses are the easiest thing to throw on at the last minute when i have no idea what to wear and no time to figure it out. gotta disagree on this one. but i see what you're saying about the versatility of seperates.

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  5. I typically buy dresses, but pair sweaters and shirts on top to make new outfits.

    Amy
    Leopard and Lillies

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  6. Definitely dresses-so easy to slip on and in the winter I love to layer and change it up with sweaters and tights.  In the summer I can just play with accessories.  Plus with dresses I don't have to worry about the volume issue.  Dresses all the way.

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  7. I actually love your version! I think the proportions are better on yours!

    Although I do agree that you can mix and match separates in so many different combinations, with a little creativity you can do the same with dresses! You can layer tops over it, or tuck a dress into a skirt for a new look!

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  8. I really don't like the dress version. Yours is so much better. I'm not really a fan of the neckline on the shirt but I love the shorts and the heels. A simple black tank with a colorful necklace would work a lot better for my day to day. Thank you for the suggestion to buy tops & bottoms instead of dresses! I'm a dress fanatic and it really does limit your wardrobe!

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  9. I buy both but tend to buy jersey material dresses because they can be easily layered and tucked in or out of other items!

    ♥ ThankFifi

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  10. I love how you re-created the look and one of my favorite parts of styling is what you had to do here with the shorts by rolling them down and using a belt to cover it up! That's the fun of styling and one of my favorite things to do to make outfits look different. I don't think this too bulky either. It is perfect!

    http://easyoutfitsbypip.blogspot.com

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  11. i think you did an excellent job of coming so close to the dress! this doesn't look like a fail in any way to me!
    kw, http://www.ladiesinnavy.com

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  12. I tend to buy dresses for the summer season so that I am able to wear it to work. I try to find colors that are both summer and winter appropriate that way I can wear them from more than one season.

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  13. CoffeebeansandbobbypinsAugust 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    You made this look so similar! Thats great advice on buying sep. instead of dresses. I actually tried that dress on and the zipper made it look funky since its in the front. boo, but i love you take on the look j!
    http://coffeebeansandbobbypins.blogspot.com/

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  14. There is definitely a time and a place for dresses - I threw one on on Saturday and was so thankful it and not have to think about putting two pieces together. I would only recommend dresses as 5-10% of your wardrobe though!

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  15. Jill, what volume issue are you having with skirts? There are skirts that match any kind of dress out there - a pencil skirt should be the same as a fitted dress, if that is what you mean?

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  16. This looks very similar to the dress!  I usually will buy both dresses and separates.  I like dresses because they are easy to wear, plus with some you can wear them as a skirt by doing a little creative layering.  Heather

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  17. I this is a fun pattern mix. I actually love dresses. I understand why you wouldn't buy a dress that looks like separates, but dresses can be so easy and fun to work with! :)
    work-it-blog.blogspot.com

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  18. I usually go for seperates instead of dresses. I feel most comfortable in cute shorts so I dress them up with the right tops, accessories and heels. Dresses are for special occassions and since I work in a job where jeans and t-shirts are the apropriate thing to wear... I barely ever buy dresses. I also agree with you that it's way easier to work with seperates.

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  19. Great advice on buying separates vs. a dress. 
    www.Donation-Can.com

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  20. That was super close! It almost looks like you have on the same thing but with a belt. I also like the separates tip. Never thought of it like that.

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  21. I actually really like the result.  On first glance I really thought it was the same dress!  I def. agree with your rule though.  It is easier to buy separates, that way one has many more options, but I do think it's nice to invest in printed dresses, esp. if you're in a hurry and need to throw something on and walk out the door.  I guess I see pros in both options =)
    http://sensiblestylista.blogspot.com/

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  22. I usually buy separates but for some reason this summer I've bought quite a few dresses. I agree that separates are more versatile and you get more bang for your buck but this summer I just fell in love with all those beautiful dresses.

    Agi:)
    vodkainfusedlemonade.wordpress.com

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  23. love this!! I think your outfit looks way cuter anyways :)

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  24. I have that dress and love it. I've never thought about the idea of buying seperates, but definitely can get more use out of it that way.

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  25. I buy tons of dresses, but I never buy ones that look like separates. I'm just not really into that trend. You are totally right that you get more use out of buying separate pieces. I'm not sure how I feel about this outfit but I feel like wearing them separately with different items would totally work. I am really digging those shorts..

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  26. I am more of a separates person.  More bang for your buck.  Tops can be used with skirts, pants, shorts & jeans.

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  27. I've recently discovered the joy of turning a dress into a skirt by putting something over the top.  It really makes dresses more versatile!  

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  28. RachelJ SuburbanStyleChallengeAugust 23, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    I tend to agree that going for separates is a far better way to go when shopping, instead of dresses.  Much more versatile, which means you get more value for your dollar :)

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  29. Could not agree with you more, J.  I am all for buying seperates, and maybe using the wannabe seperates dress as inspiration! I'm always for getting more bang for your buck!!

    P.s. I have been following your blog for over a year now! Your blog was the first one I ever read! Since that day - you have inspired TONS of outfit looks! You have also inspired me to start my own blog and  now I am following my dreams to become a stylist.  I just wanted to say thank you! You are such an inspiration! I hope you have a fabulous rest of the week!

    See you around the blogosphere!

    xoxo
    Danielle A.
    http://stylecrushdiaries.blogspot.com/

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  30. I say ditch the white belt for a black one!

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  31. I feel both ways about the separates vs. dresses question! One the one hand, yes more bang for your buck, but on the other hand, I love wearing dresses because they are so easy! On mornings when I'm running late, a dress is the easiest thing to throw on - no need to think about matching!

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  32. I totally agree Erin! That is a trick I do often here on the blog! (such as my Dior recreation a few days ago with the cupcake pink dress and gray sweater!)

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  33. So sweet, thank you Danielle! Beyond excited for you that you are following your dreams! Go get 'em, girl. :-)

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  34. I totally agree Kimberly! A few dresses in a closet is a must, but overall I recommend the majority be separates.

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  35. Thanks Heather! Check out my Dior post a few days ago with the cupcake pink dress andhttp://www.jseverydayfashion.com/2012/08/todays-everyday-fashion-playing-dress-up.html a gray sweater layered over it! :-)

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  36. While I'm not a fan of the outfit today (which, apparently, neither are you!), I LOVE your idea of rolling down a too-large waistband and covering it with a belt! I'm totally going to try that. I have a few skirts that I was just going through last night that are too big for me, but still favorites, and wishing I could wear them again. Thanks for the great tip!

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  37. I'm a huge dress fan and own many of them.  But I avoid dresses that look like separates.  To me, those defeat the purpose of a dress... which is to look like a dress.  

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  38. What about a black belt?  If you swapped out your white belt for a black belt it might balance the patterns a little more, like the model look.

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  39. J, I didn't receive my facebook post or email of today's fashion.  I checked and I'm still subscribed, so maybe tomorrow will be better.  ON a fashion note: I totally like the concept!

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  40. Although I do like the style//color of many dresses----(e.g., such as the lovely LIMITED dress in your Inspiration Photo, Above)----I usually don't EVER look at dresses, though, while I'm shopping, (i.e., either in-person or online)............ because I wear far more separates, simply to economically "maximize" the number of outfits I can put together from my closet!! 

    It honestly never even occurred to me to (carefully) LOOK at dresses, i.e., so that I could try to............ *re-create* (with separates) "The Look Of A Pretty Dress" that I might admire!!    This is just  *s.o.*  creative, J.~~~thank you!!

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  41. That loft dress is totally stupid! I can't believe they can get away with selling that for almost $100 when you could so easily find that top and skirt for cheaper and get 100X as much use. However, that limited dress is gorgeous and I would be seriously tempted even tho I agree that it wouldn't get as much use as separates. 

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  42. J, we love your style and the fact that you make fashion and style more affordable. We would love for your to follow our little fashion blog! www.dreamboatfashion.blogspot.com! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas with us! 

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  43. I just can't get on board with the no dresses thing. Dresses are my favorite thing to buy! For some reason skirts just don't do it for me. And dresses are so easy to just throw on and not think about. 

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  44. This is like an exact match! perfect!

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  45. I love dresses.  In fact they're really the only piece of clothing I buy these days.  I think they are feminine and elegant.  I would never buy I dress that looked like a separate though, I think they look weird.

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  46. nice blog.
    http://for-a-better-living.blogspot.in/

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  47. you amaze me with your ability/eye to combine patterns I would never think to combine. it inspires me to look more creatively at my wardrobe. thank you. I do have an question that this outfit raises for me... How do you belt things with no loops? Isn't the belt always slipping up all day long?? I see you do it over pencil skirts, etc. all the time and I'm just not as successful with belting as you are. Thanks:)

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  48. I have to disagree about the dresses! For me, it's just SO much easier to go in my closet and have an entire outfit ready for me, rather than search for the shirt/skirt combo. I'm usually running around in the morning and the dress just makes my life that much easier :)

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  49. I agree with you J...it makes more sense to me to buy separates and get more versatility.  I must say though I like your re-creation.  I think maybe a black skinny belt would have worked better but as usual you look mah-velous

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  50. Thank you Belva! I wish I had the same belt in black for this outfit for sure. (a skinny one wouldn't have covered up the thick waistband on the shorts)

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  51. Check out #1 in this post - http://www.jseverydayfashion.com/2011/07/four-easy-office-style-secrets.html. I recommend planning all your outfits for the week ahead of time, especially for work. You can wear the same skirt every single day to work and no one will ever notice. But you can't do that with a dress, or at least it is much, much harder!

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  52. Thank you Zoe! I show you some of my belting methods in this video: http://www.jseverydayfashion.com/2010/11/video-how-to-belt-cardigan_12.html

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  53. Katy, if you have the budget then wearing a different dress everyday is certainly a chic and easy way to dress! But if you have a small budget then you can wear the same skirt every single day to work (or the same jeans everyday if you don't work in an office) and no one will ever notice if you pair them with different inexpensive tops (tops are way cheaper than dresses). But you can't do the same with a dress, or at least it is much harder!

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  54. Haha I totally agree Christina! I can see the LOFT dress working for a business woman with a large budget, who travels a lot and just wants to be able to throw something on. But even then I would vote for a similar skirt and top instead.

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  55. You are very welcome Rosanna! Thank you! :-)

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  56. Boo, sorry to hear that. Facebook is fickle and doesn't show up in everyone's newsfeed all the time. I get the emails around 2am EST, so hopefully yours showed up last night!

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  57. Absolutely Beth, I thought the same thing! I just don't own one. :-(

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  58. Awesome, glad a good nugget came from today's misfire. :-)

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  59. I agree Sarah - both separates and dresses can be great! I recommend 5-10% of your closet be dresses for those days you just want to throw something on (I have those days too).

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  60. What
    about a black belt?  If you swapped out your white belt for a black
    belt it might balance the patterns a little more, like the model look.

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  61. I totally agree Beth! When I put together the look I was wishing I had one, but unfortunately I don't own one. :-(

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  62. September wish list, black belt?
    Sounds like a staple item, imagine all the possibilities of a black belt addition.

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  63. You read my mind haha. :-) I think I found the same belt at H&M in black, and I'm hoping to pick one up the next time I'm at the mall!

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  64. I think the outfit actually looks great! I'm surprised you don't particularly like it but I do love your tip about buying separates to mix and match. I couldn't agree more! I do that same idea with swimsuits. If you buy one suit in a print and another suit in a solid color that matches the print on the other suit, you can go from having two suits to four.

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