Est. 2011

March 9, 2018

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Style Challenge: How to Make a Loose Linen Dress Look Modern

Ah, the linen rectangle dress. The dress that feels like you’re still at home, in bed, wrapped in your linen sheets. The dress that has pockets. The dress that hides I’m-a-mom-of-three-stains incredibly well. The dress that layers like a champ. The dress that hides my postpartum belly. The dress that I like to wear all day every day.

I love loose-fitting linen dresses. Can you tell?

For me, the only downside to wearing linen dresses is my tendency to look frumpy. My tendency towards a lack of styling. My tendency to pair them with the wrong shoes (berks). My tendency towards not putting any effort into my ensemble. These mistakes have all led to looking a significantly less fashionable. Comfortable, yes, but not necessarily the look I want to go for.

Looking fashionable isn’t always my goal (come to my house 90% of the time and you will find this to be true), but there are days where I want to look like an adult. I want to take my outfit to the next level. Recently, I’ve been attempting to put like 5 extra minutes into my outfits, and it’s made SUCH a difference.

Linen Dress Challenge.
I decided to challenge myself and try to achieve two things:
ONE) wear one of my favorite, albeit rather shapeless, linen dresses, and
TWO) figure out how to elevate it with very little effort.

I basically wanted to feel like I was still in bed while looking like an adult who was intentional about what she was wearing.

The third piece rule.
I’ve written about the third piece rule before, but it bears repeating (so I’ll probably repeat it in the future, too). A few years ago, I was reading a blog and came across the third piece rule. Basically, it’s just the idea of adding a third piece to your look, not including your shoes. Your third piece can be a jacket, a statement accessory, a hat, a sweater, etc.

You could leave the house with jeans, a t-shirt, and shoes, and look just fine. But if you add a layer of interest, you automatically elevate your look. Add a bright yellow bag, or a bag and a trench coat, or a simple black blazer. You’ve set yourself apart by the simple addition of this third piece. You’ve instantly added a subtlety to your look. You look more put together. More intentional. Follow my fashion board on pinterest, and you’ll see what I’m talking about again and again and again.

Your third piece doesn’t have to be something extravagant, and you don’t have to own a closet full of “extras” or accessories to be constantly rotating your third (or fourth, or fifth) piece. Just like a capsule wardrobe, your third pieces can simply be a small collection of items you love and will wear over and over again. It’s these third pieces that will set you apart; they make wearing the same 20 pieces possible because they are what’s actually switching things up. And it doesn’t have to take 45 minutes to add the third piece. If you have a capsule collection of third (and beyond) pieces, you can basically just grab one and go.

Back to the linen dress challenge.
I could have left the house in just the linen dress and my loafer-mules (or any shoes). But to overcome my challenge, I decided to two things:
ONE) I would dress more appropriately for the season (currently in Virginia: winter-spring-summer-winter-SUMMER-spring-winter-RAIN) by adding pants, and
TWO) I would add a third (technically fourth because, pants + dress + shoes = 3 pieces, but I digress…) piece to the look: a statement accessory, the scarf. The clean, tapered lines of the pants automatically upgraded and made this dress look chic. And paired with shiny black mules (as opposed to birkenstocks), this added another layer of sophistication. But I wanted MORE, since the pants didn’t feel like ENOUGH of an upgrade.

I recently fell in love with the idea of wearing a scarf around your neck and tied in the back because of this beautiful photo. And I have been holding on to (literally for years) this stunning scarf from Nade Studio. I haven’t worn it a ton, but I’ve kept it in my closet because it’s beautiful and I love to look at it. I tied it around my neck and just LOVED the end result. I felt like it added the perfect amount of interest. The outfit looked a little more put together.

Mission accomplished. I was wearing the linen dress and it had been elevated into something more modern and sophisticated, with very little effort.

Do you wear linen? Do you fall into the trap of looking frumpy? Does that even bother you? Why or why not? And have you figured out a way to “elevate” the linen in your life? PLZ DO SHARE!

Outfit Details:
Pants: Elizabeth Suzann Cecelia Pant in stretch cotton (4, short)
Dress: Not Perfect Linen V Neck Linen Dress in natural (S/M)
Shoes: Everlane Modern Loafer Mule in buffed black 
Scarf:
Nade Studio – Similar (mine was one-of-a-kind)

Photos by Paula Bartosiewicz Photography

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