Inspired Sunday Dressing

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When I say "Inspired Sunday Dressing," I don't mean dressing like salad dressing. I mean dressing as in getting dressed, as in picking out your clothes for the day. These are two different meanings of the same word, and you're gonna wanna know the difference in order to successfully get through this post (and to successfully get through life, for that matter).

As a churchgoing gal, Sunday clothes are all about dresses and skirts for me. It's only been in the last few years that I've worn dresses/skirts on a weekday, and before that, these clothing items belonged exclusively to Sundays. The little girl in me still regards even the most casual dress as more formal than any jeans, khakis, or pinstriped pants you could throw my way, and with that background in mind, I present to you some suggestions for Sunday dressing (remember to use the right definition, pal).

"Laila on NE Williams" - from Urban Weeds, a Portland street style blog

First thing I love about this look: homegirl's wearing flats and knee socks. If you want my opinion, I'll tell you that pumps, wedges, stilettos, platforms - they've all got their place, and I'm happy to wear them with the right outfit, but for my money, nothing beats flat-soled shoes. They keep you grounded, and assuming you pick shoes that fit well, they won't have you limping if you've got to walk a long while (like I usually do on church days). I love how she paired these basic black shoes with knee socks, as it gives a pleasantly geeky vibe.

Oh, and PS, she's not just wearing shoes; the rest of her outfit is noteworthy as well, mainly for its understated pleasant-ness. She's working her proportions just perfectly here, with a basic tee tucked into a straight skirt that rises to her natural waist, juxtaposed underneath a slightly longer cardigan. Her gold pendant is hanging on a relatively long-chain as well. It all combines to give the impression of length and a whole lot of interest.

Takeaway Tips: Flats can be Sunday-appropriate, too! Emphasize your natural waist and add a longer layer to create an elongated frame (bonus if you use a long necklace and knee socks to help your cause).

"fixing a hole" - from Second Skin Style

Retro-tastic! Dresses, for all their femininity and supposed propriety, are incredibly easy when you think about it. Instead of having to worry about matching a top and a skirt in terms of color, fit, proportion, style, weight, warmth, WHATEVER ELSE, a dress is a complete outfit in and of itself: put it on, accessorize, and you're done. Our style muse in the above picture chose a beautifully-cut dress in subtle polka-dot print, then accessorized with a belt, bracelet, bag, hat, two necklaces, and t-strap shoes. It manages to look cohesive in part because there's no break between a blouse and a skirt; the continuation of the dress means that the whole look feels unified.

Another clever move was utilizing brown and black in the same outfit. The black exists as a secondary color in the dress, which allows for the choice of these black T-strap pumps. However, the black of the dress is minimal enough that a brown belt doesn't look jarring, and once the brown is implemented in such a wide belt, that same color can be echoed in the bag and the wooden necklace.

Takeaway Tips: Don't feel overwhelmed by the idea of dresses, because they're actually really easy to wear stylishly. "Black & Brown Together" might feel like a fashion no-no, but play around with your outfits before writing it off completely; it seriously can work.

"a few favorite things" - from the glamourai

Button-up shirts are tricky things to pull off well, in my experience. They tend to be a little short for my torso and a little boxy for my body shape. Kelly (aka the glamourai), pictured above, skirts this problem rather well (ha, SKIRTS! get it?!) by opting for a silkier material and knotting the shirt at her natural waist. This manages to look feminine and breezy. The slightly-revamped blouse looks great with her floral miniskirt (hello, check out those legs), but I can imagine it looking equally ravishing with a pencil skirt or worn over a maxi dress that brushes the floor.

And may I please point out her ginormous necklace? Look at that, would you? Just look at it. It's rockin'. I don't need to say anything more.

Takeaway Tips: Accentuate a feminine blouse (light fabric, whimsical print, etc.) by knotting it at your natural waist and pairing it with your choice of skirts. If you own a substantially-sized necklace (or find one at the local thrift store), wear it with pride.

"Julie on NW 15th" - from Urban Weeds, a Portland street style blog

This outfit stands out to me primarily for the interest around the neckline. Just working from instinct, I'm not sure I would have paired the red bead necklace, with it's decidedly round shape, with the pseudo-V-neck of the dress, but boy-oh-boy does it work out well; this might have something to do with the drapey effect of the dress's collar. The basic primary colors of red and blue go together so marvelously in this outfit; it's like they're boyfriend and girlfriend (colors can have relationships, I'm pretty sure, and these two complement each other with ease).

I mentioned earlier that the continuity of a dress can really unify a look. In this case, the dress is actually broken up by her double-clasp belt, creating the effect of a shirt and a skirt that happen to be the same color and material, and I think it works fabulously. I can't say for sure, but it looks like the dress might be a tent dress, i.e. pretty shapeless on its own, so cinching it in at the waist just gives some added structure.

Takeaway Tips: Red + blue = love, so work those primary colors with vivid dresses and necklaces. Use a belt to give structure and/or break up the color or print of a dress.

"Jersey Necklace" - from I Still Love You (ISLY)

Not-totally-related confession: I don't need prescription lenses, but I have always adored how eyeglasses look on most everyone. They strike me as literary and quirky. I'm not sure if this lady's glasses are real or fake, I should note, but either way, they look awesome and she looks awesome in them. Sadly, as much as I love to wear fake glasses, I can tell from pictures that they do not flatter my face as well as I'd like. Dang. ... I'll try to just be grateful for the awesome vision that my parent's genes gave to me.

Oh, her outfit, right - I almost forgot. LOOK HOW COLORFUL! The weather here in Utah Valley is truly frightful today, and while I did what I could to brighten things up with my pink skirt, this peach/green/lavender combo really hits it out of the park. The shape of her outfit is very prim, schoolgirl-ish even, but the punch of color adds just enough funk to balance that out. Also, just so's ya know, that necklace she's wearing is made from an old t-shirt, and she made it herself. Wanna make one of your own? Good thing she gives you step-by-step instructions (click here).

Takeaway Tips: If you look good in glasses, rejoice. Brighten up a wintry, dreary Sunday with fun, unexpected color combinations (psst: wearing a t-shirt necklace wouldn't hurt).

Next time you pick out your "Sunday best," let best mean whatever makes you smile, whether that be most colorful, most inventive, most flattering, or most practical for chasing my toddler down as she makes her daring escape during the opening hymn. The word "best" is so subjective already; may as well get some mileage out of your unique interpretation.

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