Dress it Up – FABruary Syle Challenge

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Sporting a few of my dresses

Dresses are one of the staple garments in my wardrobe these days.  I used to pretty much only wear pants, now I wear dresses 70% of the time as I’ve discovered they’re just so easy.  I don’t have to co-ordinate a top and a bottom, a dress can so easily be put on and I’m ready to go.

Having a few simple dresses that can be dressed up or down can make your wardrobe more versatile.  Dresses (unless they’re in bad shape or poorly fitting) tend to make you look like you’ve tried that little harder, yet, the reality is the opposite.

 

Dress it Up

Don’t forget to share your FABruary style challenge looks by using the hashtag #Fabstyle on twitter, instagram, pinterest etc. and linking to my social media accounts with @imogenlamport or posting to my facebook wall www.facebook.com/bespokeimage, alternatively you can always leave a comment here with a link to your blog or pic!

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37 Comments

  • I wear dresses quite often these days, but today’s effort was a bit unfabulous, really. I’ve decided to take advantage of the FABruary challenge to try and wear clothes that are just not getting worn in my wardrobe. Very blah.

    • I’m thinking that maybe the outfit you’re wearing today should be donated as its not earning its place in your wardrobe and doesn’t make you feel great.

  • Today I’m wearing another “donated” item. Some time ago, I received two light-knit dresses, which I would never have bought because: a. they’re not in my best colors; b. the hemline hits well above my hideous chubby knees that I’m so self-conscious about. Nonetheless, I decided to keep them because: a. they’re flared with a V-neck, great for my pear shape; b. I wanted to finally give my knees some love and flaunt them in gorgeous hosiery. In addition, I think I have enough color wisdom by now to make a “wrong” color work. The dress I’m wearing today is lavender, a very bad color on me (I’m deep autumn). I styled it with a dark brown velvet jacket (and a fitted cardigan in the same color underneath for the sake of layering, but it’s hardly visible), dark brown hosiery and kitten heels. I accessorized with a pearl necklace and an amber one, carnelian earrings and a cocktail ring in the same color. I also clipped in my hair a felt flower in different shades of brown. For the street I bundled up in a tobacco peacot with tweed hat, checkered scarf and bag in different shades of brown, and my beloved pair of lenghty mustard wool gloves. It all works incredibly well for my coloring: the lavender is sort of unexpected with all the browns and the yellowish accents contrast it beautifully while adding just the right amount of warmth. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s challenge!

  • Dresses are great. I’ve updated my blog, but while i initially felt that a turquoise dress will be quite ‘loud’ on its own, looking at it now, it seems a bit bland overall and would benefit from another colour perhaps, needs something more to jazz it up I feel? What do you think?

      • Thank you!

        I am guessing that due to my colouring (darker hair but lighter eyes and pale skin) I generally need more than one colour and that is why monochromatic dressing doesn’t really suit me (as it might someone with blond hair, blue eyes and pale skin?) But if that means I should have two (or even three?) colours in one outfit, I am still not sure… what is a colour? Does black count as a neutral and not as a colour? How about bright white? Or teal or navy? Are these just there as a base, on top of which adding two bright colours will spice up my appearance or are they colours in their own right?

        (I am a bit wary of looking too colourful, which can take away from the elegance and formality of an outfit (which is what I most often aim for), I do often find that middle way elusive!)

        • Yes your high contrast means that you need to wear light and dark, rather than medium and dark of this outfit. I didn’t realise you were cool from the photo (it can be so hard to tell in photos), so rather than coral, you could mix a red, white, or navy belt.

          Neutrals – black, white, navy, brown, taupe, beige…
          Colours – anything you find in the rainbow!

          • Thanks so much. The rainbow! Lovely, I can remember that.

            While I got Kate Middleton’s colouring spectacularly wrong, I can now be a bit unsure, but I really hope I got my own colours right. you can see that shocking pink on Think Pink day: http://susiesfabruary.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/think-pink.html
            seems good on me, that can never look good on someone warm? I think apple green and orange are just ghastly on me, again showing I am cool. And if black suits me, again I must be cool?

            I have lots of black and other deep/dark colours in my wardrobe, but I find it harder to find clothes that are light, cool and bright. Most light coloured clothes on offer in Primark (the supercheap shop all my clothes hail from) are warm and/or soft!

            I have brown hair but green-grey-blue eyes so I can go for complementary colours I suppose, but I should always have two colours on me on top of neutrals, ideally?

    • It’s a great dress and it suits you very well! I agree that it could benefit from funkier accessories though. The black helt and shoes look polished and elegant and tie with your hair, but strangely detract from the color of the dress. Maybe you could try nude shoes and a more interesting belt (think leopard or a metallic chain), or no belt at all. Also coordinating earrings to one’s top is a no-no in my book, unless you’re wearing something in between (a scarf or a jacket) in a contrasting hue. Here I would typically wear a complementary or triadic color as earrings, I find it draws attention to one’s face in a good way. Since your style is more classic, you could opt for gold or silver earrings, whatever metallic you pull off better, and a matching belt maybe. What do you think?

      • Thanks v much. So interesting, especially regarding earrings, never thought of it like that and I always matched them to my top, exactly because I quite like classical/formal/elegant/harmonious rather than funky/creative/experimental. but because of my colouring as I said, one colour is not enough, need something more and what you wrote just makes so much sense. I am cool so silver suits me rather than gold and I have lots of silver earrings. I also have lots of earrings in other more vibrant colours, could I ask, say I wore a green jacket/cardigan with this outfit, you’d match the earrings to the dress then or the cardigan (or either)?

        I have many black garments and black being cool bright and deep does suit me, but a splash of colour is still needed. besides I do love bright colours as they suit my colouring and my style personality (dramatic but elegant, formal, feminine). no leopard print (or coral pink) belt though, but will keep a lookout for one. thanks so much again for your thoughts!

        • Hi Susie! I think the earrings in the picture should work very well if you wore a green jacket or cardi over the dress, as long as there were some contrast between the green and the blue (I’m thinking light green). In this case I would go for tying the earrings with the dress. My rule of thumb is just that my earrings should not match too closely what I’m wearing near my ears, be it a top, jacket or scarf. The same goes for eye makeup: matching it to what I’m wearing makes my face blend in with my outfit, while the purpose of makeup should be to enhance one’s features and attract attention to the eyes, right? ^_^

          • That makes a lot of sense, but throws my whole world upside down. Since I do dress more conservatively and formally, my necklaces and earrings were always matched to my top purposefully: to create harmony. colour A top, colour B scarf, colour A earrings do make complete sense though, but colour A top and colour B earrings just somehow seem to clash and draw attention to how there is NO harmony?

            would you also not match earrings and necklaces when it comes to colour?

        • “would you also not match earrings and necklaces when it comes to colour?”

          I normally don’t. I tend to match them in style, as a rule, and then sometimes I break the rule. I prefer to match earrings to belt or bottom and necklaces to décolletage. I do that quite unthinkingly, I had to check my pictures to realize it. It works very well for me, but I’m not sure it can be applied to everybody. I’m six feet tall: maybe by matching my earrings to my bottom I manage to draw the eye down and ground my figure better. I don’t know, maybe Imogen could enlighten us…

          If you are petite, maybe it’s better to draw the eye up by wearing matching earrings and necklaces. To that purpose it would be even more crucial to create some contrast with your top (and by top I mean the colour on your shoulders and/or around your neck). Since you favour a classic and harmonious style you may want to steer clear of clashing colours. Metallics, (silver, gold and pewter all come in different shades and finishes), pearls, diamonds and semi-precious stones in neutral and/or muted colours can all work very well.

          All in all, I think experimenting is key. You’re already taking pictures of your outfits: try the same outfit with different accessories, push the envelope a little bit and see what happens. “Classic and elegant” doesn’t mean boring, it still allows you to explore new and intriguing possibilities, YAY!!!

          • Thanks!

            I am 5ft8 but because I am (normally, now I am heavier due to aftermath of overmedication for my thyroid issue 🙁 ) less than average weight for my height and have a small frame, I probably look even taller, so most definitely not petite.

            If you look at my Belt it outfit on my blog, you can see that there my earrings match my belt and I think that looks fantastic.

            While I like harmony and am not too experimental/risque with my style, it’d still have to be classified as dramatic and the colours that suit me are most definitely not muted, but have to bright! Soft is not good on me, I need clear and cool colours.

            I may well post more photos of other outfits for other challenge days and would appreciate your thoughts then too, both your and Imogen’s comments are v helpful! thanks again.

  • Love your dresses, Imogen, and I do have a couple of dresses of my own that I enjoy wearing, however here in Spain it is winter! This made today’s challenge a bit tricky for me, as I prefer warmth over fashion, however hopefully I have come up with a reasonable compromise by hitching up a wool dress and wearing trousers underneath! Is this cheating? I hope not!

  • Dresses have totally changed how I dress! Due to the Scandinavian climate I always wore trouser, well mostly jeans – like everyone else here! As a size 18 I just don’t look that great in jeans anymore, and trousers that fit are impossible to find.

    Then I found these dresses with all sorts of smart drapery and ruching. I put one on, and viola! I’m dressed and I look and feel so much better! It’s a challenge in winter, but one that can be overcome.

    Here’s my dress outfit (still Monday in Denmark!), along with Sunday’s Denim with style outfit,

    http://highlyirregularstyle.blogspot.dk/2013/02/denim-with-style-and-visible-dress.html

    Thank you very much Imogen, for taking the time to get this challenge together, it’s great fun and will certainly push some of my boundaries!

    • I wear lots of dresses in winter (our weather isn’t as cold as yours admittedly, but I get really cold) and wear knee-high boots to keep my legs warm too!

  • I am a moderately-tall X with a long torso. (Just a little over 5’8″ / ~ 172 cm.) The waists on regular sized dresses hit me at the rib cage. I am not tall enough for tall sizes to fit. I can’t wear empire-waist dresses, because they don’t have enough room for my chest. I own (maybe) 3 dresses because dresses almost never fit me. I end up wearing skirts and tops which is prettier, but no less work, than wearing pants and tops. What to do??

    • Tracy – options are always – you can learn to sew and adapt patterns to fit your long torso. Or keep searching – knits are much easier to wear than wovens for bust size, and if you have a large bust, check out the post I did on retailers who design specifically for it as you may find clothes that fit via them.

    • I am also 5ft8 and don’t have a particularly long torso, yet the waist on many commercial dresses, esp if it’s skater dress style for instance does hit me in the wrong place too. I could never understand sizing. Slim-tall me as opposed to more average-weight-5ft2 friend are both size 10 (UK). There’s 6 inches between us, that must mean our waists are in different places!

      perhaps you could go for a stretchy/ figure hugging/floaty dress that has no determined waist definition and then belt emphasising your waist and giving it shape? as an X I assume you have a lovely waist and wider hips – draw attention to that feminine figure?

    • The pattern on the dress is overwhelming to you – particularly as it’s a maxi – so lots and lots of large pattern with lots and lots of fabric. Much better with the jacket open than closed.

      The paisley – the cardi works better as it breaks your body into uneven proportions, the jacket/shirt break you into halves which is less flattering. Plus I feel that the jacket and shirt are boxy, but the cardi gives you a more curvy shape.

      And never say you are a failure!

  • I am loving this challenge. I have particpated every day, though I don’t post pictures. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and wore a printed maxi dress with a tee over the top. The maxi dress magically transformed into a skirt. I knew I succeeded with the look when my 20something daughter said ‘wow, great look – is that a new skirt?’

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