How to style a Summer Shift Dress in Autumn: Part 1 | Pinafore Style using 3 easy pieces

Do you have a dress in your wardrobe that doesn’t get much wear?  

I’ve had this dress for a looooong time.  Its worn maybe a handful of times a year, during the height of summer.  The below snap was taken a couple of years ago in Grasse, the ‘perfume town’, when we were visiting family in the South of France.  It was mid-July and the temperature was pretty unbearable.  Fortunately, I’d packed this dress and it came to the resue!  It was the only thing that I felt comfortable in to do some sightseeing.  

Being a cotton shift dress it sits on the shoulders and falls like a column without clinging.  

Thank heavens!

Wearing anything that clings to your skin is the last thing you want when you’re feeling hot and sticky!

However, wearing a dress only a few times a year isn’t getting the most out of my wardrobe.  I thought I’d see if I couldn’t get a few more wears out of it by styling it two ways for Autumn.

To do this, I used the same two keys pieces for both restyles;

  • A long sleeve tee and my pair of funky knee high, suede boots for warmth.
  • I changed the ‘third’ piece – the gilet (which you’ll see in part deux tomorrow)
  • I then mixed up the accessories.

Using 3 easy pieces you can create 2 different looks, thereby getting more mileage from your clothes.  A win, win!

First Restyle – Pinafore Style

Being a shift dress, there’s just room enough to wear a thin, long sleeve tee underneath to cover the arms.  I have a fushia, round neck tee that was ideal to bring out the pinks in the dress.

For an extra layer and to add visual interest, I slipped on my black, faux suede & shearling gilet. Gilets have been around a few seasons now but are one of those fashion items that are hear to stay. I’d wanted a suede effect one for awhile and when I saw this petite gilet in the shops back in August, I knew I’d found the right one.

We’re having something of a ‘suede’ love-in going on in the outfit – the gilet, the fringe bag and the boots.  Little did I realise that the fringe bag would turn out to be one of my best buys this Autumn.

Even though the dress must be at least 15 years old, the fringe bag and the suede gilet keep it current and are a nod to boho, without tumbling, Alice-in-Wonderland like, down a boho rabbit hole!

As the dress has such an unusual and striking pattern, I wanted to let that stand out and keep the jewellery simple.  A long strand necklace looked lost against it anyway.

To keep the column effect and draw the eyeline up, a thin, jet black, beaded choker at the neck looked just right.

A black beaded cuff at the wrist, tied in with the choker.

The diamond pattern of the fishnets seemed to work well with the diamond pattern of the dress, allowing the suede boots to stand out. When I tried opaque tights with the dress, the boots ended up merging into the tights and their effect was lost.  Plus, there’s something just a little bit fun and naughty about wearing fishnets with the boots, without making it look tarty or cheap.

It was fun to get these boots out again.  They’ve certainly had some high old times, me and these boots.  The stories they could tell!  I’ll say no more than I remember a rather rip roaringly, riotous night at a jazz club in London, that went well into the wee hours of the morning.

Ahhh, that was back in the day when I dated a jazz musician and I went along to gigs with the band. I was even a unofficial roadie a few times, lugging amps, mikes, guitars and drum kits around!

Yes, I bucked the trend of roadies being big chaps wearing Metallica t-shirts!

Dorothy Perkins Shift Dress (old)  This Aztec Print Dress from Mela is fun.
New Look Long Sleeve Fushia tee (old)
Dorothy Perkins Petite Shearling Black Gilet
Suede Boots (old).  These Marks & Spencer Suede Boots are similar
Joythestore suede fringe & leather bag.

Obviously, this outfit isn’t one you could wear in Winter, but by styling it with the long sleeve tee and gilet it makes the dress wearable for Autumn or Spring.  Just pop a coat on top for when there’s a nip in the air, first thing in the morning and when the temperature drops once the sun’s gone down.

Now, let’s hop in a cab and find us a basement club where the jazz is hot and the beers are cold!

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.

Linking with Visible Monday / Style Nudge / Style Story / #iwillwearwhatilike / Creative Mondays / Garay Treasures / Confident Twosday / Turning Heads Tuesday / Stylelixir / Trend Spin / Style Me Wednesday / Colorandgrace /


    • November 9, 2015 / 4:06 pm

      Unfortunately, there was never a 'tour' bus, just lugging equipment in and out of the car – not so rock n' roll! Thanks Patti, it's always fun to try to re-style garments to get that extra mileage from them.

    • November 9, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      Thanks Laura, it was fun to see if it would work and it's not bad, is it?

  1. November 9, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    Twit twooo!! So simple and so chic.
    Dress, under-top, Gilet and sexy legwear….winner.
    Very "JAZZ"….
    "I'm with the band"
    Fake Fabulous

    • November 9, 2015 / 11:08 pm

      Thanks Samantha. I do like that phrase. I've rechristened this outfit Very "JAZZ"! We need to step out on the town together!

  2. November 9, 2015 / 7:31 pm

    Great look, love your boots and gilet 🙂

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

  3. November 10, 2015 / 7:45 am

    Such a lovely dress. I adore the colours and I really like unique prints. It's great what you did here with the styling. It reminds me that I have a couple of dresses with a similar cut which I'd like to do more with.

    • November 10, 2015 / 8:44 pm

      Thank you for your lovely compliments, Imogen. I am so attracted to unusual prints. Glad you like the styling and that it inspires you for your similarly cut dresses.

  4. November 12, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    I love the roadie part,I was the roadie for my jazz musician boyfriend, but hey, I was a jazz muisician, where was MY roadie? Love that the boots make memories. Also a great transition with the fur vest boots and layers, love to get more wear out of pieces by being creative.
    Thanks for linking up with Turning Heads Tuesday!
    jess xx

    • November 16, 2015 / 11:28 am

      You didn't have a roadie???? Oh, Jess, that's just not right! You should've have one.
      Yes, those boots do have some fab memories. I think alot of our clothes do, don't they?

  5. November 16, 2015 / 4:27 am

    Gosh! This outfit is pretty perfect! I love it! Everything has been so perfectly chosen! Nice!

    Thanks for linking up to my Style Story. I apologize that it took me so long to come and visit. Oops!

    Have a great week.

    Love, Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

    • November 16, 2015 / 11:28 am

      Thanks Ann, for your lovely compliments. It was fun putting it together.

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