Your REHOME, REPAIR and REFUSE bags
Your shopping list
Lay all your dresses out on the bed.
Immediately remove any you don’t love, that are faded/discoloured/pilled or stained, have lost their shape/stretch, any that you feel are too short or no longer fit and place these in the REHOME or REFUSE bag.
For items that you’re not wild about, especially those you’ve not worn in the last 12 months, try them on to see if they’re working for your body shape. Refer to my stylist’s tips below for advice.
Experiment using dress pins to try different hem lengths. Also consider if a dress might work better as a skirt or top and consider altering.
Think about dressing them down…AND up. Try them with an embellished sandal or canvas sneaker and denim jacket or add some jewels and heels to a casual dress, maybe even a tailored jacket for a potential night time look. Do you have a maxi skirt you could wear over the top of a more fitted dress to give it an entirely different look? Add a pleated, long chiffon skirt, as an example, over the top of a fitted cocktail dress and add an embellished belt to create a ball gown?
Think trans-seasonal too, can you add opaque tights and boots, a jacket/trench or long coat, perhaps a scarf also to a summer dress to make it suitable for winter?
Don’t forget about accessories too – scarves and jewellery - see how many looks you can bang out of a single dress. Ok, I think you know what I mean, now go forth and play! Make your call and place any dresses in the REHOME, REFUSE or REPAIR bag.
Take photos of new looks on your phone so you can refer back later when you’ve lost inspiration and have ‘nothing to wear’!
For any special occasion dresses that you are hanging onto for sentimental reasons. Ie. wedding or school formal dress, first date dress and so on that you’re not going to wear again, if you must, vacuum pack them so they’re not occupying important space in your closet. Is a photo or two of the occasion enough? Do you have to hang onto the actual dress? My wedding dress (which was quite simple in design) is still in rotation as a ball gown. I’ve added overskirts, belts, shawls and fur stoles for different occasions. I still have a few variations to do, before I consider cutting it off at knee length to begin its next cycle of incarnations. What can you do to get more wear out of those dresses stuck in bags at the back of the closet?
Return those dresses you’re keeping, to your wardrobe. Colour block as you’ve done your skirts, shorts and pants.
Add to your shopping list any styles or colours you’d like to add to your collection.
The perfect dress. Aaaaah don’t we wish it was that simple? Well the good news is that it’s not as hard to find it as you think, when you understand the theory behind dressing body shapes.
Here we go…
Hem length – we’ve talked about hem length with your pants, shorts & skirts…and the same guidelines apply. Avoid hem lines that cut across the widest part of the calf for longest looking pins. On the knee/just above or below is universally flattering - just like the Cue dress shown. If ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’ is a fear, keep as short as just above the knee to be safe. Maxi dresses allow those of us who don’t love their legs, to wear a dress.
Waistline – definition of your waistline is important to create shape or the illusion of shape and avoid ‘boxiness’. Even an empire line (that defines just under the bust) will create shape and is perfect for anyone not wanting too much definition around the true waist.
Neckline – getting the neckline right for your shape will make all the difference in feeling frumpish or feeling fab. A D-cup bust or above might find a dress with a more open and simple neckline – ie. V or scoop neck, without the volume of frills and ruffles – more flattering. A high neckline can work well for smaller busts and frills, ruffles or embellishments can add volume, if desired.
Skirt shape – Just as we spoke of with your skirts. You can refer back here.
We are often quick to view our dresses as being just for one type of occasion ie. casual, dressy, formal. They’re also one of those items that we’ve likely spent the most amount of money on in our wardrobe. For that reason, it would be nice to give it a run more than once or twice a year, right?
FOLLOW UP ACTION:
Discard, discard, discard.
Tend to any alterations now or collectively at the end of your month of organising.
Go dress shopping, particularly if you have been avoiding dresses for a long period of time!
Gold Coast, Brisbane & Northern New South Wales Stylist, Louise Chambers is available for personal styling, photo shoot & media styling, style workshops, fashion event MC bookings and media bookings.