In Defense of Dresses

{By Rachel Coker}

“Wow, I wasn’t expecting you to come so overdressed. Why do you look so fancy?”

I’m not sure who decided that was an appropriate thing to say to someone, but I truthfully can’t count the number of times on my fingers and toes that I have heard it from a well-meaning friend at some kind of social function. It’s always awkward. I show up to a party or function or meeting in a dress and wedges, and everyone stares. Why is she so overdressed? Did she miss the jeans and sweater memo?

Well, no I didn’t miss that memo. I totally got it. I’ve even cracked and bought jeans, and I wear them once a week or so in the winter. But, the truth is, I am a dress person. To the core. Like a die-hard dress fanatic. I don’t even do the skirt-and-top thing that well.

To me, dresses are just so perfect for every occasion. They’re feminine, flirty, flattering, and if I could think of another great word starting with “f”, I would throw it in. (Fantastic?) That’s how much I love dresses.

That being said, a lot of my friends have confessed to me that they’re afraid of wearing dresses. Because dresses stand out. They demand attention. You walk into a room in a dress and heels and you are proclaiming the world, “I am a woman. I am beautiful and confident and I don’t mind showing it.” Which, if we’re being honest, can be a hard thing to want to shout out sometimes, especially in our culture of comfort and casualty.

But never fear, because I’m here to share with you some great ways to make dresses less scary and more accessible. You don’t have to pile on the pearls and mascara, ladies. You can start wearing dresses today, in ways that are going to be cute and flattering, without making you feel like the elephant in the room. ;)

Here are five great dress looks that I think could translate into just about any situation, be it a wedding or a trip to the movies with friends:

  1. What girl doesn’t love a great polka dot dress? I really can’t think of any. What I love about this look is that it’s so accessible. Find a great dress, throw on a belt, pile on some random bracelets, and grab your sunnies! Maybe switch the heels for a cute pair of flats if you’re going to be walking around, but that’s really the only thing I would change about this look. This dress is definitely something I could definitely see myself wearing while hanging out with friends, and I would in no way feel self-conscious about being overdressed!
  2. Keep it neutral. If you’re afraid of standing out in a dress, then choose something in a simple color and fabric, like this soft grey jersey dress. Dress things up a little with some pretty metallic sandals, but grab a basic handbag. Can’t you totally see this as a great fall outfit—perfect for walking around and taking pictures of the pretty autumn leaves before heading for Thanksgiving dinner? I can.
  3. Pair a pretty sundress with a cardigan. When is it ever dumb to take a hint from Taylor Swift? Never, obviously. Because she is the queen of wearing dresses. I would change absolutely nothing about this look. Bright sundress, cozy cardigan, bow ballet flats, and pretty hair. This is how I dress pretty much every day. If it’s good enough for TS, it’s good enough for me.
  4. Roughen it up with a leather jacket. See how pretty this chiffon dress is? Perfect for church, or a wedding. But when you add a cool black motorcycle jacket, voila! You instantly have something cool enough to wear to out with friends. Love the retro hairdo, too. It adds that extra bit of edge.
  5. Go all out in stripes, bows, and color and then grab a bike.Why not? If you’re fearless enough to wear this outfit (minus one bag), then you rock. I want to throw on this Kate Spade dress with the cute bow sandals and bike ride around New York City throwing glitter into the air and singing “Zipadeedoodah.” Why not? (P.S. You can totally ride a bike in a dress! Just wear some comfy flats and make sure you have a pair of shorts on underneath, just in case)

And that’s it, ladies. Now I want to see you all go grab your favorite dress and wear it today, no matter what the occasion. You never need a reason to feel pretty. ;)

So how do you wear your favorite dresses, all year long? Do you like to glam it up or dress it down?