The Little Striped Dress Styled 9 Ways

Versatility is essential to style, especially when you're on a budget like I am as a SAHM. Before I was able to stay home with my daughter, I shopped a lot less judiciously. I've never been the best at narrowing down options when it comes to clothing. So many pieces have usefulness that it is a challenge to say no. My friend Ashley and I always tease that we just aren't cut out to decide between the red dress or the blue dress. We say BOTH! BUT, now that I stay home, I must carefully consider every purchase I make, and I am learning to make wise decisions that my younger self did not have to make. Discernment is a valuable life skill to have!   

Whether you stay at home or are simply on a limited budget for clothing, knowing how to select great pieces and wear them in a variety of ways will keep you feeling like you have lots of options in your closet. 

Today we're exploring that idea with a classic navy and white stripe t-shirt dress that I purchased through Stitch Fix. I've been a Stitch Fix customer for almost four years. If you haven't heard of the service before, simply put, it is an online styling service where a stylist sends you five items picked for you based on your personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle needs. You can request help dressing for an occasion like a wedding or vacation or a job interview or just let your stylist surprise you with pieces he or she selects for you. Keep whichever pieces you love and send back the rest in a prepaid envelope. The shipping is free, even for returns and exchanges. I'll do a separate post with more details about Stitch Fix since today we are focused on how to style one dress a dozen ways. 

Here's the striped dress I decided to keep from  Stitch Fix. It's by Loveappella and costs $58. I only paid $33 for it because I had a referral credit from  Stitch Fix (they reward you with $25 referral credits when friends use your link to try the service). So the dress is a great value for the price! 
This dress is a soft cotton jersey blend, stretchy, and very lightweight, which works well for summer and in my neck of the woods (Coastal South Carolina) nearly all year. I'd say this is a 9 months of the year dress for the climate I live in. 

The dress is available in both regular and petite. Mine is a Medium Petite, and the fit is perfect! 

The dress is somewhat thin which isn't a deal breaker for me. It just warrants good seamless undergarments in a color that matches your skin tone. 

What makes the dress standout is the interesting diagonal detail across the faux wrap skirt. It really gives this classic dress a neat twist. The under layer of the skirt is attached to the dress and allows for adjustment by pulling it slightly up or down as needed. Check it out. 

I love that this one simple dress can go a variety of places. On its own, it is a no-frills t-shirt dress that is the perfect throw-on outfit for a warm spring or summer day. I recognized right away that it has a lot of potential, but I soon realized that even I had underestimated all that the dress can do. As I began snapping my flat lays of the dress, I became overwhelmed (in a good way!) by all the ways that I could style this one little dress. 

Keeping it simple and breezy was my first goal. So I added a bright cardigan from J Crew ( here), a cute pineapple tote ( here) and easy sandals ( here). This would be such a cute look for Saturday errands or lunch with friends. Bright pink against navy is a fun, preppy color combo and here it reminds me of our southern goddess and fashion icon Lilly Pulitzer.  

Next up, I added a square scarf from LOFT ( here) and white eyelet fedora (similar style  here). I think mine came from Walmart about three years ago. This time I substituted in my new favorite summer purse from my girl Melissa Burns. You can click  here to order your own. If you aren't into monograms, you could add an anchor or other cute detail to your bag. I used sunset gold embroidery but obviously white, kelly green, red, coral, or turquoise would look pretty amazing too. This bag comes in two sizes so there's a larger version available for the beach if that's more your need.  

Next up, I wanted to add a little more layering but still keep the look casual. Since we all can agree that kelly green is a great accent with navy, I added a green silk blouse that I got on clearance from Ann Taylor a long time ago.  Here is a similar style, though you could do the same with a cotton shirt. I tied the blouse at the waist and did the iconic J Crew roll on the sleeves. Learn how  here, courtesy of Who What Wear.

You can see that the same great straw tote and gold flat sandals work with this outfit. I added a gold necklace from Ann Taylor Factory. This  lariat style would be neat too.   

Something I love to do is mix prints together. If you are intimidated by how to do this, leave a comment or send me an email at I'll talk you through it and sometime soon I will post a how to guide. 

Here I added a navy and white polka dot shirt from J Crew Factory. Similar style here. Check out this fun alternate-- flamingos

The rattan clutch came from TJ Maxx several years ago and I highly recommend checking discount retailers for great accessories. If you can't find one, here is one from J Crew, and even though it is more expensive, you will carry this clutch for the next 15 years so it will be worth the investment and cost per wear will be pretty darn low! Here are some other straw bags that might inspire your look as well. 

My red flats came from Target like ten years ago and they have seen better days! I love these red flats from Nine West pictured here, plus here is a cute red micro-wedge option. 

If your climate is slow to warm up for the season, you may want a little more coverage right now while still looking very season-appropriate. In this case, I added a long duster cardigan, which is a Sarah by LuLaRoe. I like the weight of the knit and pockets. Inventory is always changing with LuLaRoe, and you can check  here with my favorite rep Jaimie Moore to see some of the current styles. Jaimie has one of the nicest and easiest to shop collections. 

This time I added gold wedge sandals by Alex Marie. They are by far my favorite shoe brand because their shoes are so comfy and cute. A bit of a shoenicorn if I may. In fact, let me just acquaint you with their entire current stock  here. In particular, couldn't you swoon over  these

I often find Alex Marie shoes on sale at the end of each season and pay around $25 for them. 

Now I'd like to introduce one of the more fun layering pieces in my closet: a classic navy shirt dress that I also got from Stitch Fix. It's by the brand Skies Are Blue which is carried by Dillards, though SAB makes unique pieces exclusively for Stitch Fix. I love that this shirt dress makes a neat vest over another dress or skirt. It would even be cool with a tee and white capris. 

Here's another way that I used the dress as a vest. Pretty sleek IMO. :) 

This shirt dress came with a dark brown belt that I often swap out for bright pops of color. You can find great skinny belts at Target, Old Navy, J Crew Factory, H&M, and Walmart. 

Here is a great alternate style of the coral necklace pictured above. This  one looks more like it but is priced pretty high. I got mine off Amazon a long time ago for maybe $10. 

That amazing straw  bag is seriously getting all my love this summer. I didn't mention it already but it has an interior zipper pocket and two other pockets. I'm clearly a huge fan and told Melissa when it first came out that I thought it was going to be a summer must-have. 

Here are a few more pairings of the navy dress as a vest. These could work for casual workplaces or those occasions when you don't need to be super dressed up but want to look smart and spiffy. 

Here is a great pop of yellow wedge that would be a great a pairing with the outfit above or below. I love navy with yellow and turquoise. 

Check these wedges. Alex Marie again. So comfy and they work for dressy occasions. 

So adding a dress over a dress is pretty novel. Next I got creative and added a super sweet full skirt over top of the dress. This looks is tres chic with comfy kitten heels (again Alex Marie and they have a gel pad built into the foot bed that will put a spring in your step) This outfit makes me want to sit in a cafe and read a good book while I munch on a pastry or hop on a bicycle and head over to the farmer's market. I'm a bit of a romantic, what can I say? You could even add a gauzy wrap for date night or a jean jacket for plenty of occasions. This skirt is also from Jaimie Moore's LuLaRoe collection, accessible  here. (She hosts weekly sales at 8pm on Thursdays)

You'd think that by now I would feel satisfied that I'd created plenty of options with the dress. Admittedly I was beginning to get dizzy from looking at the stripes, but I pressed on and kept elevating the look of our simple striped dress. 

I added a deep berry colored cardigan from Ann Taylor Factory.  Here are plenty of options to choose from via J Crew Factory. I love to buy their cardigans on sale for around $20. Pick a color, any color!  This is a great shoe for a similar Michael Kors look. The scarf is actually from World Market so it was a great value.  This one would look amazing! I may have to buy it! 

I simply tied the scarf in a loose bow around one handle of the purse. Not rocket science but such a nice touch and a great way to add color or pattern to your outfits without adding layers. As it gets warmer, a scarf can be just too hot, even a lightweight one.  

Finally, the last two looks are similar but show the difference between a conservative workplace and one where you have a little more freedom to express yourself. 

I worked in human resources at a bank for 7 years and we had to adhere to a more conservative dress code. Even within the bank, some managers required shoes that were not backless while others simply asked that you keep your toes covered. Jewelry and accessories needed to be minimal as well. Here is an example of looking classic, professional, and understated. I added this fantastic blazer from Ann Taylor Factory that I got on sale for under $60. It's really comfortable and a beautiful basket-weave fabric. I added pearl closed toe pumps (Belk clearance rack, try these similar ones from Dillards that come in taupe, pearlized cream, navy, black) and a small neck scarf for interest. 

If you work in a place where you must still be professional and modest but can show some flair, then this look checks the boxes. I added our World Market scarf at the neck, thinking of the drama that Emma Stone and Nicole Kidman have brought to the red carpet with their bow-tied dresses. Pick your favorite floral scarf, tie to one side, and voila, instant style points. 

Which look is YOUR favorite?? Drop a note in the comments and let me know! 

Taking the Plunge with Tieks

I'm don't remember exactly when or where I first heard about  Tieks. I just know that my life is now divided into two chapters: Life Before Tieks and Life After Tieks. ;) Gosh, that sounds dramatic, doesn't it? I don't mean that buying Tieks has been life-altering in the way that becoming a mom has been. Simply that there is a lot of learn about Tieks and I have now transitioned over to the enlightened Italian leather flat side, understanding why they are regarded so highly and having picked up tricks for caring for them and such. And I am happy to impart this knowledge to you as well. I encourage you to keep reading to learn about my experience with Tieks and feel free to ask me anything about Tieks. I'll do my best to answer your questions based on my personal experience with the company and shoes. 

I do remember that sometime around the late summer or early fall of 2016, Tieks became a buzzword that blossomed into a minor obsession among my friends. It was a similar experience to buying a green Honda and then suddenly seeing green Hondas everywhere. Only we weren't actually seeing Tieks in person. Mostly online sightings and reviews. Truly, the number of reviews to be sifted through on Pinterest would equal volumes of written pages. (Consider that most people, myself included, wouldn't take the time to compose a lengthy blog post complete with pictures if we weren't pleased with the product and excited to share our joy with others.)  

My friends traded stories about friends (more accurately friends of friends) who owned a pair of Tieks in a way that felt a little like those interviews in Mean Girls. "I heard that Gretchen Weiners has 3 pairs of Tieks." "Three?! That's insane. She must be so rich." "Do you guys know that my neighbor's best friend's dog just got a pair of Tieks?" Just kidding. They don't make Tieks for dogs. But they should! Because the Tieks-loving community would happily scoop up leather ballet flats for its furry friends! 

Back to those reviews... Personally I will shamefacedly admit to researching Tieks as thoroughly as (if not more than) I did a child care provider. Once my friends and I felt adequately assured that Tieks were comfortable, well-made, and beautiful, the conversation shifted to what color each of us wanted and how we intended to fund our purchases. 

What are Tieks? 
If you're reading this post, there's a good chance that you've already heard of Tieks, and maybe you've been considering investing in a pair. But just in case you haven't heard the hype yet, and you are only reading this because my mom put you up to it (bless you!), then here's the short version: Tieks are celebrated for being ultra-comfortable Italian leather ballet flats. They're flexible, durable, foam-cushioned, and foldable so that comfy shoes are always within your arm's reach. Tieks are sold online only and are available in 58 options including solids, patents, prints, and vegan styles. Three days of skilled work in the form of 150 steps comprises a single pair of Tieks. They retail for $175-345. If that price tag intimidates you, you aren't alone, hence the previously mentioned savings strategies my friends and I hatched. Also hence the countless reviews of Tieks on Pinterest, nearly all addressing everyone's burning question: Are Tieks worth the price?  

Because of the high price tag, I decided that I would use Christmas money to purchase my first pair. The downside? It was early fall, so Christmas looked awfully far away in spite of my friend Jodi's weekly social media posts that there were only single-digit Fridays left until Christmas. Patience just isn't my strong suit. Still, it was good for my character to endure the slow burn of anticipation. I am a better woman for having to wait for my Tieks.   

Choosing a Color
Once you know that you want to purchase Tieks, it helps to have a small sounding board of confidantes to help you reason out your color choice because deciding on a pair of Tieks can be very hard to do (think naming your child difficult. I discovered that I was really over-thinking my decision because of the added pressure of the expensive price tag. I kept feeling that I needed to pick the Perfect Color, the one that I would wear the most, the one that would go with the bulk of my wardrobe, the one that made the most sense (flashbacks to choosing a spouse all over again, amiright?).   

Then one day it wasn't so hard anymore. I was on the Tieks site for quite possibly the 500th time and decided to scroll through the gallery of customer-posted Tieks. As I scanned the images, I noticed that I kept being pulled toward the clear, bright cheerfulness of Cardinal Red. And that was the very moment when my decision-making anxiety evaporated. Red is one of my favorite colors and is my signature pop with most outfits. Friends saw this much sooner than I came to the realization, and they nodded emphatically knowing that it just made so much sense when I announced that I had decided on Cardinal Tieks. My point is this: ask your closest friends what color Tieks they think of when they think of you. You may just save yourself hours of deliberation.  

If I may offer you one more nugget of unsolicited advice, dear friend, it is this: Pick a color or pattern that you LOVE. Tell logic to pipe down for this one, and go with your emotions. Here's why: if you choose a color that you just can't stop thinking about, no matter how impractical (for the purpose of illustration, let's say Mint Patent versus a neutral), you will find yourself creating outfits to go with your Mint Patent Tieks, and you will be really excited about wearing them. If you love California Navy, get those. If Lavender Snake gives you goosebumps, that's your pair. Can't stop thinking about Silver Screen? There's a reason. My friend Emily is fortunate enough to own both Chestnut (a highly regarded neutral) and Fucshia. I've noticed that though Chestnut can be worn with anything and gets a lot of play, Emily really lights up when her Fucshia Tieks are on her feet. As a matter of fact, she wore them again today with a navy and white striped dress and she was really amped up about it.     

Tieks come in whole sizes from 5 up to 13. Many would-be Tieks buyers fixate on their inability to try on Tieks locally before committing to a purchase, and I surmise that plenty of them abandon their pursuit of Tieks for this reason. Don't give up! Tieks offers top-notch customer service, so they will allow you to exchange your Tieks for another size, so long as you have not worn them outside. If you can spare the room on your debit or charge card, order two sizes so that you can compare them, and then send back the shoe that just won't do. In general, half sizes are advised to order up a size. I wear a size 6 shoe and ordered a 6 in Tieks. Each pair wears a little differently out of the box depending on whether they are full-grain leather or patent or another material, so you may need to wear them around to stretch them out. They will mold to your feet as you wear them. 

Tieks arrive in a signature blue box with a sparkling flower on an elastic band, the color of which varies. My two favorite colors are aqua and coral, so to see a peachy-pink flower perched atop my Tieks box made my heart flutter. The little things, yeah?  

I'm actually using my flower to mark my place in my day planner. It's great to see it every day. Others use their flowers as adorable headbands for their sweet little girls. I'll probably let Iris wear mine at some point but right now it's bigger than her head. That's my story anyway. Sticking to it! ;) 

A hand-written note comes with each order. Hand-written communication is so beautiful and never goes out of style. I love when companies express gratitude for supporting their business. Recently I received a hand-written thank you from Tiny Prints for ordering birthday invitations for Iris's first birthday, and the gesture was so thoughtful and endearing to me that I immediately wanted to order something else from them. I didn't but I will next time I need paper goods. 

The presentation and packaging of Tieks is really lovely and beautifully branded. This may or may not matter to you, and I am sure that some of us would prefer to trade in pretty packaging for a lower price, but if Tieks is aiming to put its best foot forward (pun alert), then they do an admirable job of creating anticipation and a sense of luxury. 

Tieks actually arrive neatly folded and cradled in a small black drawstring pouch (not pictured). I forgot to take a picture of them in the pouch. It's really compact and incredibly stretchy for a snug fit, and the pouch takes up little real estate in your purse. Tieks also come with a foldable nylon tote bag. This is so you have a bag for your heels if you take them off in favor of your Tieks. I've not test-driven this yet. Generally, I just wear my Tieks if I know I will be walking a long way, but I can see the benefit of this if you are traveling for business or walking many blocks but need a dressier shoe upon arrival. 

The craftsmanship of the Tieks soles is a thing of beauty. Two separate non-skid patches in Tieks' signature blue keep you grounded, and the flexible mid-sole is made of brown leather. When I first slipped my Tieks on my feet, I was wowed by how substantial the shoe was while feeling like wearing my favorite Isotoner slippers.  

If you can believe it, I had to put my Tieks back in the box and pretend that they didn't exist until Christmas when we exchanged gifts at my in-laws' house. Again, it was a major character-building exercise for someone who gets impatient watching the microwave count down 30 seconds.  

Cardinal Tieks look amazing against Royal Stewart Tartan Plaid, making them a must-have for the holiday season. There really isn't a time of year when Cardinal isn't useful. Clearly, I have no regrets about my decision to get Cardinals. Whatever pair speaks to you, I know you will love and wear often. 

The soles of the shoes are both beautiful and functional.  


Proud Tieks moment: This is the very first flat lay outfit that I ever put together, and it is included on the Tieks website, which thrills me to no end. Were it not for this flat lay, I might not be blogging.  The bouquet sweater from LOFT has a very vintage, Anthropologie feel, and it was a steal at under $40 on sale. It looks like a much more expensive sweater than it was. There's even floral embroidery on the back. The skirt is a LuLaRoe Madison. 

This is my favorite cool weather Saturday errands outfit. I can wear my Tieks all day long and feel both comfy and stylish. 

This is a flat lay of a cute outfit I actually wore out grocery shopping, just for a nice change from athleisure looks. Our grocery trips are long and exhausting, and I'm happy to report that my Tieks were really comfortable for extended periods of walking. Also, I actually ran a quarter mile in my Tieks once. I was pushing Iris in the stroller and hubby breezed by on his Saturday run. Iris got so excited to see her dad that I decided to pursue him on foot for a few paces while she giggled. I was surprised to find that my Tieks were pretty darn comfy as a running shoe! If you see a news article about a girl running a marathon in Tieks in the future, the girl is probably me. If Tieks would kindly offer to sponsor me with all the colors on my wish list, then I will run every day in Tieks! 

Side note about Tieks: they support women entrepreneurs around the globe and have donated almost ten million dollars to women in business so far. You can get acquainted with the individual women and their stories  here 

What questions do you have about Tieks? Post them in the comments, and I will be glad to try answer them for you. 

Easter Sunday and The Ultimate Makeover

I've stopped setting an alarm clock because, without fail, sweet Iris wakes up between 7:30-7:45am. She is our alarm clock. But on this fine Easter Sunday, she slept in until 8:30am leaving just 30 minutes for me to feed and dress us both.  

We rushed through nursing. No time for coos and giggles or practicing our words. 

We rushed through dressing. Tags were swiftly clipped from our new frocks. Buttons and zippers and snaps and velcro were fastened in a flurry of motion. Iris's matching diaper cover was forgotten about completely.  

I rushed through primping my hair and makeup while Iris ricocheted between my knees and ankles, wanting desperately to be picked up one second and to play with the toilet seat the next. So I rushed to plug in Iris's favorite cartoon on my laptop and placed it on top of the toilet seat killing both birds: her boredom and the threat of germy commode water winding up all over us.  

I rushed through coffee, getting just half a cup in my system while unfortunately foregoing breakfast altogether.  I tossed a forlorn look at my half-full coffee cup and decided against taking it for the road because I didn't want to chance spilling coffee on my new cream-colored dress. 

I rushed through goodbyes with hubby who needed to go on to church to help with ushering. 

I rushed to scoop a single diaper and a pack of wipes into my purse. 

By a small miracle we were ready and only a few minutes late. We scuttled to the car without time for a proper Easter picture for the memory book. For posterity, I attempted a selfie but knew it was destined to be a failure. Still... hurried, frazzled, and hungry though we may have been, I felt proud that we got ready in record time and looked quite nice in our new dresses, though admittedly, our faces reveal the morning's struggle.  


I flung open the door, hoisted Iris's car seat up and locked it into its cradle, then I hopped into the driver's seat, quickly buckling my seat belt with one hand while I turned the key with the other. 

That's when the stench hit me. 

A horrible, sick, putrid, sour scent. The kind that can only be described as assaulting. It invaded my nose and flipped my empty stomach. 

Horrified confusion quickly melted into grim realization as a terrible flashback of spilled milk came into focus. I remembered the gallon jug turning over in the backseat. Though still sealed, the bottle had leaked, only a little. Or so I had thought. I had wiped up the spill with a few fast food napkins and never looked back. My nose now told me that my assessment of the spill's magnitude was woefully incorrect.  

That was two very long, very warm days ago. Long enough for the milk to sour and evaporate into a stubborn and pungent vapor that sat like fog in my sealed up car in the sun-soaked driveway. If I didn't know for certain what had caused the funk of forty thousand years, I would have been searching my car for the dead body of a lizard. I was that certain that the horrible smell belonged to something that had begun decomposing. My eyes watered. I held my breath.  

With no time to do anything more involved, I yanked the floor mats out of the backseat and dragged them to the front stoop to be dealt with at some later time. Then I buckled my seat belt and rolled down the windows, giving over my freshly done hair to the warm wind that swirled around my ears and rustled my skirt about the steering wheel. 

As I drove, the toxic fumes dissipated slightly through the open windows, and my nose desensitized (marginally at least) to the horrible stench. I looked down at my beautiful new dress and my dainty pumps and lamented that Iris and I would be arriving at church on Easter Sunday smelling of curdled milk. This thought summoned up the memory of my college class on Shakespeare's tragedies. I remember the professor teaching in a particular lecture how the Bard was quick and tenacious to bring up an inconvenient truth: that we are all rotting, decaying creatures, trying desperately to cover our foul scent with perfume and soap.   

For the duration of my curdled commute, that lecture lingered on my mind, morphing from Shakespearean wisdom to a spiritual parallel that we as sinners are smelly. Really smelly. Like my car.  We're ugly too. No amount of lotion or perfume or expertly applied makeup can cover up that in our hearts we struggle with sin and that the best that we have to offer is grievously inadequate, our righteous acts like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We are ugly by the unkind thoughts and feelings we harbor about others. We are ugly with anger. We pollute ourselves with idols and other vices. No dress is pretty enough to conceal our smell from the Lord.  We might throw others off our scent, so to speak, but not the Lord who knows our hearts. 

As a mother, I've changed my share of near nuclear diapers, and I know, Mom Friends, that you have too. I know that you know the discomfort of being positioned too close to the business end of a soiled diaper when you'd much rather run opposite to the foe. Or if you have older kids, you may have summoned the steely strength required to snuggle your sick child who smells of vomit, all while resisting the reflex to succumb to nausea yourself. Or perhaps you've been in a conversation with someone standing a little too close who clearly has a dental issue or simply a case of having indulged in too much artichoke dip. You'd love to excuse yourself from the conversation but you're trapped either by circumstance or necessity to obtain information from this person. 

Basically it's hard to stay put in the presence of a big stink.   

Yet God snuggles us even though we wreak of vomit. He not only stays by us when we stink, He moves in even closer.  He sees us just as we are, as ugly sinful creatures marching toward the end of our earthly lives, and He loves us in spite of our stench, thanks to what Jesus did on the cross for us.

That's what I thought about as I sat in the driver's seat of my swampy smelling car in my pretty new dress with my pretty matching purse and my rosy pink lipstick while my precious kid added insult to injury by soiling herself on the morning that I forgot to put her diaper cover on underneath her dress.         

God takes all of our ugliness, all of our rot and decay, all of our offensive odor, and He loves us and sees us as the beautiful, well-manicured people that we'd have the world believe us to be because Jesus took on your ugly and my ugly, and he bore the wrath of that ugliness. He essentially doused himself in the stench of sin, which I'm fairly sure smells a lot like my car, and he perfumed us with forgiveness and mercy instead.  

Eyes still watering, we made it to church. 

With a quick change, this little one smelled sweet as a flower again. 

He is risen! He is risen indeed! 

I am so thankful for the price Jesus paid for my sins.