Leopard Print, Denim & Coral Accents | How to Style an Awkward Dress

Last week a colleague of mine dubbed me the ‘Leopard Print Lady’ after I arrived at the Pilates studio wearing my Seasonal Skinny Jeans with Leopard Print & Plaid Accents outfit.  It seemed appropriate I do another outfit featuring leopard print.

Today, it’s making me warble ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria?’, from the Sound of Music. Except it’s not Maria… it’s really

‘How do you solve a problem like an Awkward Dress?’

but that doesn’t quite have the same catchy ring to it, does it?  You see I’m actually wearing a dress, and an awkward one at that. Why awkward?  Is it having a strop?  Not quite.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

What I didn’t realise when I bought the dress on e-bay quite awhile ago, for something silly like £7.36p, was that because of my bust size and being short waisted, the mid section of the dress sits totally in the wrong place on my body!  It creates a line right across the curve of my bust, looking as if the dress has shrunk in the wash!

If I had boobs the size of pebbles and a waist the length of a giraffe’s neck, it’d be fine BUT you gotta work with what your genetic hand has dealt you!

I don’t give up on an item that easily, especially a dress that has such gorgeous, you-want-to-stick-your-hands-in-pockets, on the front.  Before deciding whether to resell it or not, I thought I’d give it a whirl styling it to give the illusion I’m wearing a skirt.

Leopard print and denim are a classic combination.  Leopard prints come in all shades and this one is quite muted, so the softness of the denim shirt is a great match.  I played around with different accent colours with the jewellery and bag.  Red looked a little too harsh somehow with the brown boots and the darker print of the dress.  If the boots were black, red would’ve been the pick but I kept returning to the coral.

I chose not to wear a belt, as I preferred the uninterrupted line of the shirt hanging down and the simplicity of having just 2 coral colour accents; necklace and bag with a trio of glass bracelets in amber, brown and green.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

This necklace is on a roll with it’s second outing in one week as I wore it in this week’s Seasonal Skinny ‘Yin & Yang’ post.  I can see it’s going to be a firm favourite!  It was an impromptu purchase from the range Tu at Sainsbury, at a bargain busting sale price of £5!  You can find some great finds in the clothing lines at supermarkets these days.

Domestic Goddess tip – when doing your weekly shop at the supermarket, why not pop some bling in your trolley, along with your beans, bread and bananas!

I love how the colour picks up the stitching of the denim shirt.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Denim Shirt, Tu Coral Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

Amber & Silver Ring, Thrifted Brown, Amber & Green Bracelets | Petite Silver Vixen

I must have had these leather boots for at least 20 years – so long I can’t remember where I bought them from but I still love that little buckle detail at the side and the curved stitching.

And the nude coloured fishnets look so good with them.  Just a hint of a pattern is all that’s needed.

Brown Knee High Boots & Nude Fishnet Tights | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print Dress (e-bay)
New Look Denim Shirt (old)  This season’s Denim Shirt
New Look Coral Bag.  Similar colour but in a Crossbody Shoulder bag
Bracelets (thrifted)
Necklace Tu at Sainsbury
Amber Ring gift from Tall Brown Fox, bought at a jewellery stall in a French market
Brown Knee High Leather Boots from The Emporium of I Forget!  These Brown Leather Boots are currently on sale

The style of the outfit now is one you could happily wear to work on a dress down Friday day, meet friends for Sunday brunch in or reach for on those occasions when you don’t want to wear trousers but you still want a casual vibe.

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

Leopard Print, Denim Shirt, Coral Necklace & New Look Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

This dress is no longer an Awkward Maria!  Problem solved and it’s a keeper.  I’m off into town. Bye-eee

Do you have any Awkward Items you’ve restyle.

Linking with Throwback Thursday / High Latitude Style / Thursday Fashion Files / Fun Fashion Friday / Flashback Fashion Friday / Passion4Fashion / Style Stories


  1. November 20, 2015 / 5:19 am

    I know that problem with dresses, or fitted tops… I wish fashion designers would finally understand that women have boobs, and waists, and very few of us actually have legs that go all the way to our armpits… But, nice styling, and admirable patience with the dress.

    • November 20, 2015 / 4:40 pm

      Exactly, it makes shopping such a pot luck affair sometimes! But at least this time I've got round the problem!

  2. November 20, 2015 / 8:24 am

    It works well as a skirt!!! The necklace really dresses up the denim too!x

    • November 20, 2015 / 4:40 pm

      Thanks Kezzie, I'm pleased how it's turned out. The necklace definitely ramps up the look.

  3. November 20, 2015 / 2:44 pm

    I actually find it fun and challenging to try to "fix" a clothing item that is awkward!! You've done a perfect job here, and really you could wear a ton of shirts/sweaters over it to camouflage that interesting line! Worst case, you could always cut off the top portion, and add a waistband to make it a skirt!! jodie
    ps…I'm wearing my fishnets today too!!!

    • November 20, 2015 / 4:42 pm

      We're like minds – never throw something away until you've looked at all possibilities! And agreed, lots of different shirts will go with it. I have thought of getting it altered to a skirt – just need to find a tailor I can trust before they chop it to bits! Fishnets rule!

  4. November 20, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    Thank you Jess. Get creative, is what I say and often unexpected things happen!
    Ha, ha, you'll be singing that song all weekend now!

  5. November 20, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    You did a brilliant job of rescuing this dress.

    I have a serious ear worm with that song. Thanks!


    • November 20, 2015 / 11:46 pm

      Thanks Suzanne! I'm glad I rescued it. Now, get out your wimple, warm up your vocal chords and let's be havin' one more chorus!

  6. November 20, 2015 / 10:45 pm

    I love leopard print, an amazing print. Great styling with the coral and denim.

    • November 20, 2015 / 11:47 pm

      Thank you Imogen. To be honest up until I played around with the choice of accent colours, I hadn't thought of using the coral with denim and leopard before but it really goes!

  7. November 21, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    I have the exact same problem with dresses…the short waist, the girls…therefore I shy away from anything with a seam below the bust. You did a stellar job of solving the problem though. The addition of the shirt was genius and I love the nude fishnets. And I'm right there with you on the grocery shopping; it's a rare week that I don't bring home a little something extra…

    • November 21, 2015 / 9:15 pm

      It's annoying isn't it when dresses don't sit properly! Good old fishnets – just there enough to add some fun to the mix! And I'm glad you too pop some bling into your trolley!

  8. November 21, 2015 / 4:21 pm

    I love the way you styled this dress with the chambray over it. That's definitely a creative way to make it work for you when you aren't happy with the top. Those are great boots! I like your matching bag and necklace.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

    • November 21, 2015 / 9:14 pm

      Thanks Amy. Sometimes you have to cut your losses but it's always worth seeing if anyway will work first and luckily this time it came up trumps! And the coral is just the finishing touch.

  9. November 22, 2015 / 11:52 am

    Jacqueline….I have a wardrobe FULL of awkward items! Hahaha…or maybe just an awkward body at an awkward age?? I am constantly trying to re-work and re-style items to suit me.
    I too have a leopard print dress which feels a bit on the frumpy side when I wear it.
    I have boobs like pebbles and a giraffe's neck….and I can honestly say that it does not help!
    Maybe because I too have a short waist.
    Maybe we are the only two short-waisters on the planet and all leopard dresses are made for the rest of the perfectly proportioned population?? Or maybe there are awkward dresses lurking in most wardrobes?!
    I love what you have done here, with the denim shirt and the amber accessories.
    I need to have another look at mine and see what works for me.
    Great post!
    Fake Fabulous

    • November 23, 2015 / 9:28 am

      Ha, ha, Samantha, now I refuse to accept that either of us are at awkward ages!!! As a literary figure from your side of the border once famously said 'I'm in my prime!'. I concede we might have an awkward body shapes BUT as I think we're finding out on this blogging journey, we're creative at getting round the problem!
      There are probably more awkward dresses lurking in most people's wardrobes – my mission is to transform any that may be lurking in mine. They are not safe anymore!
      Do have another look at your leopard print dress. I know you'll be able to come up with a great way to restyle it.

  10. November 22, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    The print of this dress is so nice that it would have been a shame to get rid of it. You found a great way to hide the awkward part of it and thus to keep it. I do have a couple of things that look awkward on their own but nice when styled with something else. I too like how your necklace picks up the colour of the stitching, so smart of you!

    • November 23, 2015 / 9:17 am

      True Olga especially as I do like the leopard print on this one. Isn't it funny how some pieces on their own don't work but with a little restyling, they can become a totally different and great looking outfit!

  11. November 22, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. That dress looks warm. I love that you wear a shirt on top and make it a skirt. It's a great way to get more wear out of your wardrobe.

    • November 23, 2015 / 9:16 am

      Absolutely, Nicole and it's such a simple trick to do! Thanks for hosting the link up.

  12. November 22, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    I love how you've reinvented this dress and saved it from being recycled. Denim would never have occurred to me, but it really works Jacqueline . And I don't mind seeing the coral necklace again – its perfect again as the accent colour. Isn't it grand to be still getting wear out of those fab boots? They work well in grounding the whole look. Another winner xx

    • November 23, 2015 / 9:15 am

      To paraphrase an old saying sometimes 'necessity is the mother of reinvention'! I'm happy to recycle but hate it for the sake of it so this was definitely worth a shot at reinvention and I'm glad you like it! Completely agree with you about the boots grounding the outfit – I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for your compliments.

  13. November 23, 2015 / 12:01 am

    So clever! That problem happens to me all the time 'cause my proportions aren't normal for women's clothing. Your solution is brilliant.

    • November 23, 2015 / 9:09 am

      Thanks Ally, hopefully it's given you some ideas to play with, especially as it's a simple solution too! I'm always amazed at how stylish you are with your proportions as I'm sure it's not easy.

  14. November 23, 2015 / 1:34 am

    Jacqueline, I'm no authority, but I do have to tell you, you're style is really looking great. You've just been nailing it lately. Like this outfit! It's awesome!! And I love that you've totally revitalized an item that was awkward to you before. All of it looks so expertly put together!

    Thank you for linking up to the Kremb de la Kremb Style Stories Link Up.

    Love, Ann

    • November 23, 2015 / 9:12 am

      Oh Ann, wow, what a compliment – I'm actually blushing! Thank you so much. I'm really touched by your kind words. What a lovely start to my week!

  15. November 25, 2015 / 6:16 am

    I am glad you were able to solve the awkward dress into something that you love. Great outfit!

    Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you soon!


    • November 26, 2015 / 10:42 am

      Thanks for hosting Alice. It's always satisfying to find a soluction to a problem!

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