Even though we live with the pandemic long in our rearview mirror, there are some holdouts from living through that time that remain because the pandemic fundamentally shifted our thinking and viewpoints. World shifts of any magnitude have a way of doing this. Many of us came out of the pandemic with a more pragmatic mindset and a disinterest in things we would view as unnecessary or excessive. Simplify became the mantra that ran through the lives of so many and keeping things simple has very much remained a part of how we live.

From a fashion perspective, I see this regularly. Post-pandemic client work is quite different than pre-pandemic, and even all these years later, I find that my clients are still looking to build the most efficient and usable wardrobes they can. Nobody is interested in waste, everyone wants their clothing to work beyond just one area of their lives, and mixing and matching is critical. If a client can get more with less they are thrilled. Clients want their wardrobes to work for them.

Dressing for events can be the biggest drain in a wardrobe because few women want to throw money at a dress that will not just eat into their budget but also take up closet space, particularly if your role in these events is the equivalent of being a background extra in a movie. My mom, sister and I have a saying for this role that we call “sprig of parsley” which means that our role at the event is so inconsequential that we are basically like sprigs of parsley on the plate, or essentially garnish. Yes, it matters that we are there but at the end of the day, nobody really cares as long as we’re dressed appropriately.

For most events, I rent something because I can take larger fashion risks without spending too much money on a dress that will essentially collect dust in my closet afterward. In addition, I always keep one super basic “if all else fails” dress that is basic enough that I can change it up and dress it up or down depending on the occasion. Yet, renting isn’t realistic for everyone because you can’t tailor these pieces, not to mention the fact that the rental schedule doesn’t always work for the needs of an individual.

WORK TO WEDDING: STYLING ONE DRESS FOR BOTH OCCASIONS

Thinking in terms of getting more with less and maximizing what you own, I wanted to maximize dresses to show how you could take a dress you style for work and make it appropriate for a wedding. Now, I’m not talking black tie gown types of dresses because the chances of pulling that off with a dress you wear to work would be slim to none, but for a daytime wedding or any event that isn’t too glitzy, I have styled five dresses for work and then made them wedding or event appropriate.

WORK TO WEDDING OUTFITS #1

In these first two looks, I styled this beautiful printed wrap dress from JBQ for both occasions. For work, I styled the dress with a navy blazer from Smythe, statement drop earrings from Karine Sultan, a work tote from Cuyana, and beige pumps from M.Gemi. For a wedding, I swapped the blazer out for this sand wrap from Vince, a pair of heeled sandals in champagne from Magaux, a midnight blue clutch, and marquise-shaped scatter drop earrings from Adriana Orsini.

WORK TO WEDDING OUTFITS #2

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For work-to-wedding looks that work better for daytime events, I styled this printed dress from Mantu for both needs. For work, I added this cropped cardigan sweater from Hobbs and finished the look with chartreuse block-heeled sandals from Gentle Souls, a wood necklace from Kenneth Jay Lane, and a pumice work tote from Vince Camuto. For a wedding, I styled the dress with tan wedge sandals from Sarah Flint, a cocoon wrap from Echo, gold hyacinthe earrings from Shashi, cuff from Anabel Aram, and a burgundy clutch from Hobo.

WORK TO WEDDING OUTFITS #3

work to wedding

In a worst-case scenario, you can’t go wrong with a black dress, or navy, if you’re someone like me. To take one from work to wedding, it’s simply a matter of changing up what you wear with it. For work, I styled this black MM. Lafleur dress with a grey double-breasted blazer, also from MM. Lafleur. I finished the look with a black work tote from Demellier, ankle strap pumps from J.Crew, and crystal enamel ear jackets from Roxanne Assoulin. For a wedding, I styled the dress with a metallic tweed jacket from L’Agence, crystal strappy sandals, a gunmetal clutch, a rhodium-plated & Swarovski Crystal Chain, and sterling silver & cubic zirconia stud earrings from Adriana Orsini.

WORK TO WEDDING OUTFITS #4

work to wedding

For these work to wedding looks, I styled this pink sculpted knit dress from The Fold two ways. For work, I added this windowpane blazer from Veronica Beard, taupe pumps from Inez, a black work tote from Quince, and pearl drop earrings from st. Moran. For a wedding, I styled the dress with mint strappy sandals from Badgley Mischka, a printed wrap scarf from Ted Baker, soft pink clutch from Ola Berg, and a mint enamel and gold-plated choker from Misho.

WORK TO WEDDING OUTFITS #5

work to wedding

In these last two looks, I styled this dress for a business casual workplace as well as for a daytime, likely outdoor, wedding using this dress from Hobbs. In the look for work, I styled the dress with wedge oxfords from Cole Haan and a textured scalloped cardigan from Boden. I finished the look with navy wired hoop earrings, a textured bangle, and a navy work bag from M.Gemi. I took the dress from work to the wedding with a pair of printed pumps, a straw clutch from Tuckernuck, a white sun hat from Eric Javits, and a pearl necklace.

ONE DRESS, MULTIPLE WAYS

Whether you purchase dresses for work, weddings, or something else, finding multiple ways to wear one dress, not just for a variety of occasions, but in general, will not just maximize what’s in your closet but save your budget as well.