Whenever I am shopping with clients I always suggest multiple ways to wear one thing they are considering buying. This is an important part of being successful with my work. Dresses being summer favorites, I think the best way to maximize the use of them is to purchase work to weekend dresses. With just a few subtle tweaks, many styles can easily go from the office to casual or dressier events on Saturdays and Sundays. In today’s post I am going to show you how.
Work to Weekend Dresses
This first easy, breezy dress from J. Crew is in a black and ivory pattern that is quite versatile. Remember, any two color prints that have a white or ivory ground can be treated like solid shades. So this dress, while printed can act like a black dress in your closet and you can wear any color with it. What also makes this dress great is that, with just a few tweaks, it can go to work and be worn on the weekends.
On the left, I created a more conservative work look using a pair of nude kitten heel slingbacks from Trotters, added some structure to the ensemble using this BOSS Hugo Boss basic black blazer, accessorized with drop earrings from Robert Lee Morris and a beaded tassel bangle from Banana Republic. For a splash of color, I used this red handbag from Coach that is roomy enough to carry all your work things.
On the right, the dress is ready for the weekend using a pair of casual wedge sandals in red from Adrienne Vittadini, I swapped out the larger bag with a small, black clutch from Zappos.com and used black stud earrings from Kate Spade.
This cobalt blue dress from Rebecca Taylor is conservative enough for the office (plus it has sleeves!), while being easy enough to dress up with bolder accessories on the weekends. The color of the dress may be bright, but if you choose the right finishing touches that color can be played up or toned down depending on where you are going.
On the left, for a more conservative look, I used these navy flats from Calvin Klein, a simple gold bib necklace from Macy’s and soft blue bag from Furla. On the right, the color of the dress gets amped up with a pair of printed heels from Anthropologie that not only capture the blue of the dress but introduce some new colors. I used the colors in the shoes to add this bright pink clutch from Lodis Accessories and orange and pink earrings from Dabby Reid.
Printed dresses may not seem as versatile for work to weekend as solid ones but there are some tips you can try to pull it off. Using this printed dress from Boden, the trick I used to making it look more workplace was to pull the more conservative colors from the print. Using the same navy Calvin Klein flats and soft blue Furla bag, as used earlier, the dress looks more ready for the office. For structure, I used this white Theory blazer to give the soft shape of the dress a more professional look. Lastly, I filled in the neckline with this bib necklace that perfectly captures the colors of the print.
The next, fairly obvious, tip for making dresses look more workplace or weekend is with the types of accessories you choose. For example, the weekend look of this dress is accessorized with sandals from Softwalk that not everyone can wear to the office. In addition, they are also in a minty green which makes them more fun weekend looking. However, not all accessories have to be exclusively work or weekend. For example, the same bib necklace used for work I also used for the casual version. Lastly, for a more casual bag, I added this Brahmin carryall that could probably go to work too.
If you have an easy ponte dress in a neutral color, like black, navy or brown, you can get so much out of it by just having the right accessories on hand. See this type of dress as a blank canvas. You can do just about anything.
For work, I made this Reiss dress work friendly by styling it with the same white Theory blazer and adding some colorful work pumps from Nine West and yellow handbag from Macy’s. For work appropriate earrings, I used these simple studs from Ann Taylor.
Next, for a night out on the weekends all I did was accessorize the dress differently. I warmed up the black using a pair of tan, heeled sandals from Steve Madden, a stone bracelet from Nordstrom, tan clutch from Vince Camuto and longer earrings from Stella & Dot.
The best thing about cardigans is they usually work for the office as well as the weekends. Using this coral Nic + Zoe style, the printed Modcloth dress is both work and weekend friendly. All it took was some accessory changes to fit each scenario. On the left, I used a pair of peach flats from Repetto, the same light blue Furla bag as used earlier and the same Ann Taylor studs I used in the last look. For the weekend, the cardigan and dress stayed the same and I just swapped out the more work-friendly accessories for weekend ones, a pair of blue wedge sandals from Fitzwell, the navy Brahmin tote and the same orange and pink earrings used in the second outfit.
Shop for work to weekend dresses
Still looking for some work to weekend dresses? Check out these additional styles.
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This post made me think if this could be dressed based capsule wardrobe as most supporting items can be worn with other dresses.
Perfect for summer
Absolutely, Pat! It could be a fantastic anchor piece to create many off shoot outfits.
Lovely ideas, although I personally wouldn’t wear work stuff on a weekend. Every now and then I wear a weekend dress for casual Friday, but more often than not I wear work stuff
I think this is the case with many women. However, I think, even if they don’t grab their work dresses on the weekend they feel they got value if it is an option. Thanks for the comment!