Two Different Dress Styles and How to Wear Them
Wearing a dress can feel a little like Groundhog Day in the sense that you put it on and that's it. When you wear separates (like shirts, tops, trousers, skirts), you can mix them up, create different combinations, layer them and keep them interesting. But dresses are what they are.
Nevertheless, there are still ways to style dresses and keep your interest in them. In this post, I'm focussing on two different styles of dress, the prairie dress and the boho beachy dress. Just a few ideas to ponder this summer and beyond...
1. The Prairie Dress
The prairie dress has been here for a little while, and isn't moving on too quickly. And no wonder, they can be the most comfortable dresses to wear, with their huge sleeves, frills and tiers, and voluminous dimensions.
I've outlined below three different ways to style the prairie dress - and prairie dress variants - and it all comes down to footwear. What you wear on your feet can create a completely different look.
The Combat Boot
Wearing combat boots with your prairie - or prairie-inspired - dress has the effect of toughening it up. The prairie dress is ultra-feminine, so a chunky boot will off-set the softness with a bit of cool-girl edge. Obviously it's not a beach look, but one to keep up your sleeve for cooler summer days and into the autumn.
The Hiking Sandal
An unexpected pairing for the prairie dress is the hiking sandal, or a similar "ugly sandal" like Birkenstocks. It's another unlikely combination that somehow works due to the juxtaposition of the beauty and detail of the dress with the practicality of the sandal. And this look is perfect for spring/summer days.
The Ugly Trainers
The ugly trainers were introduced to us by the Danish fashion girls, and if it's good enough for those stylish fashionistas it's good enough for the rest of us mere mortals. It's the ultimate in comfort dressing, while still looking fab-u-lous.
For a prairie dress, keep the accessories to a minimum, regardless of which shoes you team it with. The reason is that the dress does all the talking. Most prairie dresses are statement-making pieces. So there's no need to over-think the accessories.
For handbags, I'd keep them relatively structured and medium sized. You could of course go for an extreme look and team an oversized bag with your voluminous dress, and that would look quite impactful.
For jewellery, keep it minimal. Again, the dress does all the talking in this outfit, so you don't need to get your statement jewels out (unless you want to go extra-extra, and that's fine too if that's your style). For me, simple understated earrings would finish the look perfectly.
2. The Boho Beachy Dress
Whether you're lucky enough to spend some time at the beach during the summer months, or if you are just mooching around town, the boho beachy dress can work for either scenario.
The difference is all in the accessories:
The hat is often the overlooked accessory but essential, particularly in the summer, for avoiding too much exposure to UV rays. I'd wear a straw hat at the beach or for picnics in the park, while the felt varieties are a good option for city dwelling when the weather isn't too hot - which is not a problem for cities like London.
For a boho dress, try sunglasses styles that are seventies inspired, or aviators. Ideally, the lenses or frames might have a similar tone to one of the colours in the dress.
If you're in the city, a bit of structure can be added to the overall look with a belt. It pulls everything together and defines your waist. Experiment with different belt styles, from rope, to scarves or tan leather with western-style buckles. For more relaxed beach days, however, let it hang loose without a belt.
Sandals are the obvious footwear choice for a flowy beachy boho dress on those hot summer days. But if you want to make the most of your beach gown in the city or in cooler weather, don some western-style boots. For either choice, the key is to go for natural materials like tan leather or suede, fabrics or rope.
The basket bag goes hand-in-hand with bohemian beach gowns. Nothing overly structured, and preferably with a shoulder strap to keep it casual.
When it comes to necklaces, layer them up. The more the merrier in the case of a boho look. The key to layering necklaces is to ensure there is a common colour/material with each layer. So that might mean there is gold and/or turquoise in each necklace. Mix up different sizes and textures for each one though.