How to style one sheath multiple ways (1 dress = 5 looks)

#agelessstyle #fashionover50 banner for post on versatility of sheaths

A well tailored dress is instant style

In the 90s, I lived and worked in East Germany. My colleagues and I always went to lunch together, a 10 minutes walk. One day on our way to lunch, a male colleague said with a lot of regret and disappointment in his voice “It’s a pity that so few woman wear dresses these days.” It was about five years after the German unification. One of my female colleagues who always wore solid casual wear – read chinos and a button down shirt said “It’s because you can clean separates easier than dresses. They have to go to the dry cleaners when you spill something or they get dirty. Nobody has time for such high maintenance these days. On top of it, think about the high cost of dry cleaners these days.” Another female colleague – wearing jeans and a Swarovski crystals and fake pearls embellished sweater like they were It in the 80s, responded “Separates offer so much more options for different outfits.” Even tough I disagreed with both statements, I kept my mouth shut as his statement was aiming at me since I was wearing a LBD. Back then, most of my clothes were black. The 90s, uniform. In my opinion, you can easily wear a dress many ways, for instance, under skirt as shirt as a shirt or with a sweater or blouse as a skirt, with a jacket, cardigan, etc..

A well tailored dress is instant style. #agelesstyle Click To Tweet Dresses are as versatile as separates. Click To Tweet

Furthermore, not all dresses need dry cleaning. And at-home dry cleaning is easy and you can save money dry cleaning yourself.

In today’s post, I show you five examples how to wear the same dress in five different ways.

Styling a burgundy sheath with neutrals for work

In the look presented in the photo below, I went for a work outfit with two neutrals – burgundy and gray. To keep the look from being boring – read invisible office style – accessorizing is key. The patterned tights add interest and the bold belt makes a fashion statement. The slouchy booties dress the business casual office look down a bit. Perfect for Casual Friday.

A sheath can be dresses up or down. #quote from a stylist Click To Tweet
fashion blogger in burgundy gray work attire
Calvin Klein sheath styled with Brooks Brothers turtleneck sweater, GNW tight, Vince Camuto suede slouchy boots, and Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own). At this time of the year, snow in the Interior is already wet. Thus, the boots are wet at the toes. In deep winter, you can just brush the dry snowflakes off and your boots stay dry when going inside.
style blogger in fitted dress with turtleneck sweater and boots
Calvin Klein fitted dress, panther statement belt, GNW diamond pattern tight, Vince Camuto suede boots, Brooks Brothers turtleneck cashmere sweater, dangling earrings and Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own)

Try to go for an unexpected color combination with your neutrals. In the photo below, it’s brown and burgundy. This combination was inspired by the color combination of the loafers. When going for unusual combination it’s all trying out every color with every color and looks what looks great.

#fashionover50 mature woman in brown and burgundy with loafers and sunglasses
GNW Luxe sweater, Calvin Klein tailored dress, Gucci belt, Nine West loafers, statement earrings, Winkwood mirrored sunglasses (all own), and wood sports watch c/o Jord
#advancedstyle woman in brown burgundy office attire
Front view of office attire with GNW Luxe sweater, Calvin Klein tailored dress, Gucci belt, Nine West loafers, statement earrings, and Winkwood mirrored sunglasses (all own)

Color blocking

The work outfit below is an example of layering with color blocking. The corn blue is one of my favorite fashion colors. To not look like trying too hard, navy boots are perfect in the supporting role. They make the corn blue and burgundy the color blocking statement. Here the buckle is paired with another belt to match the colors of the outfit. Belts are great for accessorizing.

Stylist tip: Snap belts are a great investment to always have the perfect combination of belt and buckle to your outfit.

mature style book author in tailored dress with blue sweater and boots
Calvin Klein sheath with GNW Luxe blue sweater, panther statement belt, L.K. Bennett tall blue suede leather boots, cat pendant necklace, and cameo earrings (all own)

Monochromatic look with a pop of color

Creating a monochromatic look is tricky. The art is to keep it from being boring. You can find 21 tips how to create interesting monochromatic outfits at the link. Here I went with the trick of the late Princess Gracia Patricia aka as Grace Kelly – using a pop of color.

Purple is having a moment these days. #fashiontrends Click To Tweet
over 50 years old fashion blogger in monochromatic outfit with purple pop of color
Calvin Klein robe styled with a long sleeve layering top underneath, purple statement belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, GNW tight, Vince Camuto burgundy suede bots with chain details and dangling earrings (all own)
cool belt buckle with purple belt
Zoom-in on the belt buckle to show details
tall suede boots with double chain trim
Zoom-in on Vince Camuto suede tall boots with chain detail

Styling a sheath with outerwear

When you are running errands at the mall, you may want to open your coat for comfort. Typically, malls are heated and it is too warm to run around with your closed winter coat. Too still look effortlessly stylish when you wear your coat open, not only style your outerwear, but also make sure your outerwear and your layers below make a great outfit too. In the example presented in the photo below, I show how to add a coat in a stylish way. In this look, the colors of the embroidery tie the outfit together.

The colors of a print, pattern or embroidery are a great basic to tie an outfit together. #styleadvice Click To Tweet
midlife woman in embroidered coat over dress
Calvin Klein dress styled with floral embroidered white coat, statement belt, 3.1 Philip Lim tote, L.K. Bennett tall suede boots, scarf, and green beret (all own)

Other great styling options are to try the look with pink or with a cardigan in winter at work.

P.S. Like the outfits? You might also like to see the instant style of a print dress or a tweed dress two ways.

P.P.S. When you liked the styling recipes of this post, and want recipes for all kind of dressing situation in midlife, buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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