+ Three Ways

Three Ways: Strapless Grey Dress

Somewhere in the back of your closet, there is probably a lonely strapless dress taken out of the rotation after a few weddings and cocktail parties.  How do you wear it once the party is over?

Well, if the dress isn’t made from evening fabric (satin, silk, sequins, etc.) and the bodice offers a bit of structure, you can wear it to work.  That’s right, I said work.  But it takes the right dress and a bit of know how.

Polyvore Set Here.

The trick to wearing a strapless dress to the office is to wear the dress over a work-appropriate blouse.  Here, we have a sheer tie neck top.  Wear it with a strapless bra and use the dress to provide coverage.  Just make sure to tuck the shirt into the dress carefully.  You don’t want to ruin the blouse when you go to zip up.

Over the newly sleeveless combo dress, add a colored, collarless jacket.  You could also wear a standard blazer or tweed jacket over it if you wanted.  I chose teal because dark teal is a big trend this Fall, but more on that Thursday.

Add a pair of work-appropriate pumps, a coordinating pair of earrings in chalcedony and you’re ready for the office.

Polyvore Set Here.

A strapless dress is also a great way to wear bright colors, since you don’t see the whole blouse it keeps the shocking pink from being overpowering.  This outfit also allows you to skip the blazer because the blouse offers a bit of sleeve.  Because you’re not wearing a jacket, make sure that you select a blouse that fits snugly.  You don’t want to be fighting with folds of fabric all day.

 Add in a black trench, patent leather chain bag and a chic, yet functional high heel with a hint of patent.  You could also add belt if you were so inclined.

I also really like this cuff because it’s big enough to be worn on it’s own and neutral enough to be worn with some regularity.

Polyvore Set Here.

I love the interplay between the corseted dress and the chunky, striped knit cardigan.  I’d wear the belt around the waist, but not around the cardigan.  It’s purely there for a decorative element.

The blue saddle bag picks up the hints of teal and turquoise in the sweater.  The cowboy boots also compliment the shades of brown in the stripe and bring a bit of whimsy to the party.

If you wanted to add some jewelry a hoop earring and/or a set of bangle bracelets would look lovely.



  1. Belle says:

    Yeah, I'm anonymous, so unless someone want's to volunteer to be a guinea pig, that's not going to happen.

    Also, if anyone of you have seen the show Suits on USA, look up the episode “Play the Man.” The female guest star wears this look quite well with a grey strapless and a leopard print blouse.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    Also, I think the reason why this look fails so many times is two-fold: not choosing a strapless dress with structure and choosing the wrong blouse.

    The blouse must fit you to within an inch of its life, it cannot be even the least bit too big. And the dress must have a corseted or structured bodice. Otherwise, it won't work.

    I'm also skeptical about how well this works with t-shirts, though I think Carolina Herrera did that awhile back and it was okay.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  3. a says:

    The coffee date outfit is GORGEOUS. Great job. Now to spend a ridiculous amount of time looking for fairweather sweatters.

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  4. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    Cute idea, but I would definitely needs to see the strapless dress-blouse combination in person a few times before I ever thought about trying it for the office. Maybe if I worked somewhere a little more funky it'd be worth trying…

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  5. norwegianette says:

    Hey, was it MaxFactor 2000 calorie mascara you said you loved but couldn't get a hold of? I found it in a store here in Norway today, if you have a PO box or something that you use for the blog, let me know and I'll see if I can't send you a tube 🙂 (I have the deepest sympathy for anyone who loses access to their mascara of choice – been there done that!)

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  6. Belle says:

    I am EMAILING you, right now.

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  7. e-liz says:

    it's also on drugstore.com if this is the right color.

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  8. caroline says:

    Hi Belle – As a daily reader I obviously appreciate your bliog; but, I've seen you suggest the shirt under strapless dress look before and it's not a good one. Just like “fetch,” this is never going to happen.

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  9. curious choice says:

    Oooh them's fightin words! Or just do like Leandra on Man Repeller and make believers out of us by actually SHOWING us how this looks/how this can work. Seeing is believing!

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  10. cginnyc says:

    Not speaking from personal experience but I think Belle's approach could work. I have seen some fashion forward NYers wear this look successfully. Can't vouch for whether it's comfortable though… I feel like I would need to keep tugging the shirt from below to make it sit well. Regardless, I look to Belle to push the envelope… you can't get new ideas that become staples (maxi dress with jean jacket anyone) unless someone is taking risks

    September 13, 2011/Reply
  11. zora.d says:

    Another blogger I like, Miss Vinyl Ahoy, did a long-sleeved blouse under a strapless dress this year, and my mind was sufficiently blown: never wouldve thought of it myself, but it's fab. Here's that post: https://missvinylahoy.com/2011/06/09/i-love-new-to-me-dresses/ hope you don't mind the link, belle.

    well, now i need a strapless dress. and a chunky sweater. and that teal jacket. my bank account is not thanking you, belle ;o)

    September 14, 2011/Reply
  12. Belle says:

    Link away!

    September 14, 2011/Reply
  13. Halley | Clothing Tags says:

    I'm loving the coffee date collection. It's very cozy, perfect combination this fall.

    September 14, 2011/Reply
  14. Stacey says:

    Have you ever seen the film “The Thomas Crown Affair” (the new version with pierce brosnan)? Well, the female leads wears this amazing striped straples dress with a white blouse underneath and a suit jacket over it. TDF.

    September 14, 2011/Reply
  15. Sherry says:

    I love this!!! Great outfit ideas and I love all the combos!! I have a more casual strapless dress I'm trying to figure out how the heck to remix – thanks for the inspiration!!! I love your blog!! 🙂


    September 15, 2011/Reply