I think it’s important for women to look good! When you look in the mirror and like what you see, it boosts your confidence and adds a little pep to your step. I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember, and I can remember back to when I was about 4 years old! When I had a full-time job and didn’t have any kids, I didn’t care as much about shopping on a budget. But now that I’m all grown up and live in the real world where my kids’ needs often come before my own and financial trade-offs must be made, I’ve had to be more creative and resourceful with my fashion budget.
My shopping strategy has a few ground rules. First, always buy the best shoes and coats you can afford. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune—it just means to buy quality and items you LOVE in those categories. And if it requires that you spend a little more than you normally would, do it if it’s something you feel will stand the test of time. Why spend on these products? A great pair of shoes can elevate an otherwise ordinary outfit. We’ll get to examples of that in just a bit. Coats are something you wear frequently, sometimes every day. And they’re the first thing people see. So you need a coat that wows, even if it’s the 25th time someone is seeing it. And it needs to be durable enough to survive all of that wear. In addition to coats and shoes, if you find a basic piece that is timeless and versatile (like black pants, a great pair of jeans, a classic cashmere sweater, a belt), that’s also a great time to splurge if necessary.
Second, buy for fit. That means to buy something that fits your body and flatters your figure. Forget how it looks on someone else because you’re the one wearing it. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. The unfortunate truth is that more expensive designers often have the best cuts. But a dress cut like the one I’m wearing is often universally flattering. The sash around the waist makes it an easy piece that will fit many different body types. The flare of the bottom half can hide a lot or give a figure to those who don’t really have one (that would be yours truly). The length is also a plus because it’s not going to sweep the floor or look like a mini-skirt on anyone. I love a good maxi dress, but it’s probably not the best choice for those who are 5’2” and under.
Third, while I love patterns, particularly florals, solids are more versatile. You can easily change the look by choosing different shoes, jewelry, and handbags. Solids are also easier to mix with other pieces, adding one more way to change the look. And solids aren’t as memorable as patterns so you’ll feel comfortable wearing the same piece multiple times.
And finally, if the fabric isn’t the best quality, purchase it in a darker color like black, navy, or gray, as darker colors tend to hide a lower quality better than light or bright colors.
So how does all of this tie into today’s three looks? The dress I’m wearing is a basic. It’s fairly timeless. It’s also under $40, which makes it more accessible. But even at that price point, the fabric isn’t cheap. It’s cotton poplin with a slight sheen. The tighter waist with the belt (the wide sash it comes with or another belt) means the fit will flatter many figures. The length (just below the knee) makes it versatile and appropriate as workwear, daytime casual, and even cocktail attire. It can be worn for all three occasions simply by changing shoes and accessories. The photos and three looks featured in this post are proof.
There’s one more look I didn’t shoot or include, but I think this dress would also look fabulous with a denim jacket draped over the shoulders. So maybe the title of the post should be “4-in-1 LBD.” To shop the pieces in each look, simply click on the images on the scrolling galleries below the look.