Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guest Post: Mad Dress Game - Shopping Your Closet

While I am away on my wonderful (and much needed) vacation I have asked a few of my favorite bloggers to step in and write guest posts. I asked each of them to come up with their own topic and post that they felt fit with what I am doing here over at 260 Days, No Repeats. I am loving what they have come up with! Today I am pleased to have Frances Joy from Mad Dress Game discuss her successful endeavors in shopping her closet. I will be back to regular blogging on October 19th, 'till then...

Y'all, I am so flattered and excited to be doing a guest post (my first!) on 260 Days, No Repeats! When I first found out that I was going to do this, I had no idea what to talk about. So I thought and thought and thought and consulted with my husband. And then it came to me: Shopping Your Closet. Of course, right? But shopping your closet with a slight twist....

So maybe it's just me, but sometimes I buy things for an occasion - special or not - and then I can't figure out for the life of me what to do with those pieces in my normal everyday life. And seeing that this is a guest post for 260 Days, No Repeats, I figured a challenge to restyle some of these pieces would be appropriate. So I pulled out some of those "occasion" pieces and challenged myself to make them work.

The first candidate for restyling was this little black dress which I bought at Kohl's for a graduation ceremony three years ago. When I've worn it in the past, it's looked pretty much like this. Dress with the tie belt that came with it and black shoes. Bore. Ring. And not quite work appropriate.

I added a blouse, a thrifted belt, and a pair of pink pumps and suddenly my fancy dress is a skirt that's totally fine for the office. How did I get the blouse to stay put, you ask? Simple: fold it up. Alternately, you can tie it at the waist, tuck up the ties and belt over the whole thing; both methods work well if you'd like to turn your dresses into skirts. I find that woven tops, particularly button ups, are most conducive to this method because they’re heavy enough to hide the dress underneath.

I was flying high after this experiment, so I turned to one of my trickiest pieces:

Yes, y'all, that's a leather skirt. I picked it up at Las Pepas in Buenos Aires when I was a young, impressionable twenty year old. I had a ton of grant money burning a hole in my pocket and the exchange rate was 3.75 pesos for every US dollar. I couldn't resist. And this skirt has hung in the back of my closet for eight years.

But a leather skirt with a ruffled tee shirt and a pair of heeled loafers looks almost demure. I think the trick here is to "tone down the sexy", as I like to call it. Keep things neutral, add a little softness, and don't go too high with the heels. I will say that the length of this skirt is pretty ideal for making it work for everyday, but I think a nice, thick pair of tights would do the trick for a shorter skirt.

I bought this strapless J Crew dress for our rehearsal dinner. I wore it with a stressed-out smile, a scarf, and borrowed "pearls". It has since become my standard "wedding guest dress". If you invite me to your wedding, know that I will show up in this dress.

I've also managed to wear this dress for teaching by layering on a button up, a cardigan, a belt, and yellow flats. Again, a little creative tucking and folding of the shirt allows me to turn a dress into a skirt and to make this summery frock appropriate for all seasons.

This dress has been such a challenge, and it's not just its propensity for causing my booty to glow. I bought it for a wedding related photo session. I got it in Puerto Rico and it's so nearly see-through that I am constantly worrying about whether or not people can see my unders. It's adorable, though, and I wore it quite a bit on our honeymoon - though I did usually wear shoes with it.

Layer the dress under a full skirt, add a pair of textured tights, and a sweet pair of flats and it looks like a slightly bohemian top that I can totally wear to work. Also, the issue of visible unders? Yeah, it's a non-issue now. Thank God for creative layering! Dresses as tops work best when the dress is slim fitting and the skirt is full. Make sure that the lengths are compatible, too, so your dress doesn't peek out from underneath the skirt.

Another wedding-related outfit. This is the dress I bought for our reception in my husband's hometown (we had a destination wedding). It's totally office appropriate, but in my head, it needed to be work with black tights and boots, the way I wore it the first time. It's that distinctive collar that keeps me from trying anything too crazy with it.

But look how cute it looks with all that color added! A blue bolero, skinny red belt, and bright yellow pumps inject so much life into this whole ensemble. When you're working with black and white prints, even black and white with distinctive details, don't be afraid to add a little color into the mix. In fact, you can go ahead and add a whole lot of color. Keep the shapes simple and classic, and show off the distinctive feature while still spicing things up.

A little creative layering will help you get the most out of your wardrobe; I like to think you can do creative layering and still look office friendly and totally normal. So dig a little in the back of your closet, try a few styling tweaks, and turn those special occasion duds into everyday looks. Well, except for that bridesmaid’s dress back there; there’s no hope for that sucker….

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!


  1. This was very interesting....
    I look at those gowns hanging there wondering when they will see the sunlight again... these are great options.

  2. I LOVE the hidden white polka dotted dress with the black skirt :)

    Just Better Together


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