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How to Dress Down a Dress


While a dress is a staple piece for drinks with the girls or a fancy evening meal, it can be difficult for a woman to don a dress during the day. Yet, a dress is the ultimate ‘two for the price of one’ outfit, which can easily be thrown on to create an instant daytime look  Perfecting the art of how to dress down a dress is a sure way to transform your wardrobe and inject some new life into your outfits.

How to Dress Down a Formal Dress 

Usually seen as strictly ‘night out’ attire, adding a casual feel to your classic partywear pieces is a fantastic way to give your daytime outfits a boost. You can easily transform a dress that was once considered ‘formal’ into something stylish and flexible for any time of the day. Once you have worked out how to dress down your dress, your new and improved daytime outfit can be worn to work for a touch of glam in the office, or it can be worn on your next shopping trip with the girls. Our list of style options below will give you a helping hand in nailing the dressed down dress look.

Ladies Stipe Shirt

How to Dress Down a Dress with Shoes 

The obvious way to use footwear to dress down a dress is by wearing flats instead of heels. Not only will your feet thank you, but flat shoes will also help enhance your new casual look. You could pair your dress with a stylish pair of loafers or deck shoes for warmer weather. Or, for something even more casual you could go for the ultimate summer footwear with some classic canvas plimsolls in a choice of vibrant colours.

Alternatively, if the weather is a little chilly, dress down your dress with a pair of leather boots. A pair of classic Chelsea boots in either brown or black would be perfect for adding a daytime feel to your look. Or, why not opt for a pair of leather or suede ladies knee-high boots to complete your casual attire?

How to Dress Down a Dress with Layers 

Experimenting with layers is another great way to dress down a dress for wear during the day. There are so many different layering options to create a more casual and stylish daytime dress look. Whether you layer on top of your dress, underneath your dress or even around your waist, you can easily play down a formal dress by adding some layers. 

Ladies Panama Hat

You could play it safe by sticking to on-top dress layering. To do this, you could simply layer over a denim jacket for the warmer months or a cute baggy jumper and a coat for when it’s colder outside. Wear your dress with a stylish country shirt and a lightweight wax jacket during milder weather. Alternatively, layer over a woolly jumper and a warm tweed coat to keep you cosy in the winter weather.

Alternatively, you could try layering underneath your dress. For the summer months, simply throw on a t-shirt or polo shirt under your formal dress to play it down. For those chillier days, when you require some extra warmth, you could wear a printed blouse or knitted jumper.

Finally, you could even effortlessly tie an extra layer around your waist for the ultimate casual-chic look. Simply tie a fleece or sweatshirt around your waist to completely transform your formal dress into a casual yet eye-catching daytime outfit, perfect for strolling through town. 

How to Dress Down a Dress with Accessories 

Keep your dressed down dress look fun by teaming it up with some cute accessories. The best way to dress down a dress with accessories is to combine different colours, textures and patterns rather than sticking to one plain style. For instance, you could shake things up with a patterned pair of tights or some colourful jewellery.

Ladies Deck Shoes

You could pair your dress with a casual hat to make it more daytime friendly. If you’re wearing your dress during the summer months, then you could tone it down with an elegant summer hat. Opt for a classic Panama hat or a glamorous floppy sun hat. Alternatively, to accessorise a winter dress, why not choose a felt fedora hat or a waterproof wax hat.

When it comes to your choice of handbag, try to avoid fancy clutches and instead opt for something more casual. For example, you might be best choosing a cross-body bag or a backpack to dress down your dress. You should opt for muted handbag colours that don’t stand out too much. The optimum option would be a classic leather or suede material.

Another great accessory option for dressing down a dress is a scarf. Opt for a lightweight and floaty scarf that will tone down your formal outfit. It is best to opt for a patterned scarf that features an elegant print. 

So, while exposing your dresses to the light of day might be a little daunting at first, with our top tips on how to dress down a dress, you’ll be showing off your casual looks in no time.


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