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! 

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