Ask Belle: One dress to rule them all?

Dec 22, 2015

Dear Belle,

I started reading your blog because you love dresses.  They’re the best.  Most bloggers don’t get that…or maybe they just want me to buy all the pieces their wearing and up their commission…I don’t know.  

Anyway, I need one dress to take on a business trip.  Preferably black.  Needs to go day-to-night, and needs to able to be dressed down for casual wear.  Does this miracle exist?

Have a Merry Christmas! Kathleen

Ah, fashion multi-tasters, they’re the best.  But they are oh-so hard to find.  Here are a couple of dresses that could work.

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DvF New Julian Wrap Dress ($368)

I don’t think you can go wrong with a classic wrap dress.  DvF is the go-to, but for something cheaper try this East Concept dress from Modcloth.  Plus-size ladies, check out this dress from Mynt 1792.

Afraid a wrap will be too showy for work?  Buy it one size bigger.  My DvF wrap gives me more coverage in the larger size, and since I can just cinch it tighter, never looks too big.  (It also helps conceal holiday binge-eating, just saying.)

You can pin the sash up and cover it with a wide black belt, like this O-Ring Belt from Ralph Lauren.  Then, add a blazer for a chic work look.

I also like layering on a v-neck sweater with tights and boots for casual wear.  This berry-colored sweater from Equipment or this under-$20 sweater from Uniqlo would both work.

For evening, I would add a sexy sandal, like this one by Carvela Gosh, and some cool jewelry.  I think big earrings always dress up an outfit because they’re close to your face, so when people are looking at you, you look more dressed up.  These cluster earrings from Oliver + Piper are cool.  I also like these pretty Kate Spade ‘Clink of Ice’ earrings.

If you’re not feeling the wrap look, MM. LaFleur makes a few dresses that could work.  The Annabel (also in petite) would be my main suggestion.  It’s made of a stretchy jersey so it can be easily dressed up or down for different occasions.

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  1. Lindsey says:

    Belle,

    Has Banana Republic quit making wrap dresses? They were a great alternative to DVF and fit within my law school student/newlywed budget but I haven’t seen them in a while.

  2. V says:

    I am a pear. For DVF wraps, if I go up a size, there is too much bust-area fabric. You can fix that with fashion tape, but it’s better just to buy something that fits.

    The Banana Republic Gemma wrap didn’t have this issue (but that fabric could be unforgiving). But you couldn’t beat the price.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Day to night? Don’t forget MM LaFleur selections–totally all about the dress.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Almost forgot–MM LaFleur’s “tops and skirts” can be sharpened up for day, or fancied up later for night, or ‘dialed down’ with trousers/skirt for casual.

  5. michelle says:

    I have the MM. Lafleur Annabel, and I LOVE, LOVE it. But it’s quite fitted, so best to size up.

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