feminine classy outfit navy blue polka dot midi square neck dress

The Best Versatile Dress in a Feminine Classic Wardrobe

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“Variety is the spice of life” as the old saying goes and even though I enjoy variety in clothing I find myself increasingly more appreciative of the dresses in my wardrobe that do everything.

Let me introduce you to the “Everything Dress”

Do you have an “Everything Dress”? Mine is a navy blue and white polka dot dress that is for running errands, church, walking, housework, and nice evenings out! Yes it does it all. This one dress transforms to the occasion by the shoe paired with it, the jewelry worn with it, and the hairstyle.

This is how to identify an Everything Dress for your Classic Feminine Wardrobe

What is it about some dresses that look casual for day but dressy for evening? This has everything to do with the shape and the fabric.

feminine classy outfit navy blue polka dot midi square neck dress
As fashion nuance would have it, I have owned a navy blue, white polka dot dress before in nearly this identical style, but I never felt good in it, and I got rid of it. This is the danger of writing things off when sometimes, something just needs to be tuned a bit. The difference between this dress and the other one was the size of the polka dots! Turns out, I specifically like mini polka dots, not mid-sized or larger. The small polka dots look and feel elegant.

The Shape of the “Everything Dress”

The right dress will skim your shape, being neither tight, nor voluminous. It should look somewhat relaxed in this way yet have something tailored about it, like a fitted bodice paired with a flowy skirt. If the top half of the dress was poofy and nothing looked fitted, it would probably look more like a day dress rather than something that translates to dressy. A sheath style dress would work as well as an A-line style for this day to evening attire. I think the Everything Dress can be varied a bit in shape, but it looks best when something is tailored about it. This kind of dress can be varied but mostly, it’s the fabric that really sets it apart…

spring dress navy blue polka dot midi square neck dress

The Fabric of the ‘Everything Dress”

Are you fabric focused when you shop? Fabric is what clothes are made of, so it is not a small aspect of our clothing, it is pivotal! Fabric is largely what makes something look casual or fancy. So, one thing to note about a dress fabric that easily looks day time to evening appropriate is its fabric.

Look for fabric that has a smooth finish, instead of a very casual looking fabric, like a matte knit or woven cotton. This does not mean that this fabric is shiny, but it has a smoothness, a silky sheen, that lends it a slightly nicer day look that translates to evening appropriate. No cotton or jersey knit for the “Everything Dress”. Instead, buy dresses in polyester or even some types of rayon that have been woven in a particular way for it to have this silky surface instead of a matte surface. These rayon fabrics will be called “crepe rayon” or “rayon faille” if you are sewing. This is not your typical matte cottonesque rayon, but it still has the characteristics of rayon in breathability and drape. These “elevated rayons” will have a smoother surface with a notch of sheen above matte.

Another option for day to evening dress fabric is chiffon (polyester) over an opaque lining beneath and this works beautifully for day or evening even though we typically reserve chiffon for fancier items. I find that chiffon dresses rarely look overly dressy for day, but it definitely depends on the dress! My chiffon dresses are matte not shiny, and this makes them look appropriate for both day and night.

chic feminine homemaker style navy blue polka dot midi square neck dress

Mini Polka Dot as a Neutral

I love a good print. Floral prints work for day to evening too, as well as solid colors. If you have never ventured into the polka dot print, the small polka dot looks elegant. This particular print is feminine but a bit understated, a bit less “frilly” than a floral, but more design interest than a solid color. This is a print that has always had a classy appeal and has been in quality women’s wear for decades without fading in style.

chic feminine french style navy blue polka dot midi square neck dress
Dark Navy White Dot 100% rayon crepe faille woven fabric

If you had to buy one dress buy an Everything Dress

Look for an Everything Dress when you are shopping because the versatility will stretch your use of it making it an even better investment. Buy fewer dresses that work the best on you that you love to wear daily instead of having a closet full of clothes that you barely wear or that you hardly like.

Then Launder this Gem Properly

When you appreciate your clothing because you found things that stand out above the rest, and you realize the rarity of them, and the expense of them, you actually take better care of them. You start treating them like special items, washing on gentle, hang drying, lightly ironing to keep their shape. I am not necessarily saying to own less, but if you have to own less to buy better of fewer items, you may find yourself caring for your wardrobe in a more delicate way, which will prolong the life of your clothing but also teach you valuable lessons for how to do laundry properly.

This is not the only one like it that I own. This dress came about out of inspiration of my original Everything Dress, one that is the same navy blue with mini white polka dots, but with a 3/4 sleeve and a slightly shorter length. I found it at a thrift shop for $8 even though it is a brand sold at Nordstrom. The quality is superb and I treat it with great care since it is one of my most worn items and the inspiration for many other pieces in my wardrobe. And maybe this was an inspiration for yours as well.

Happy Styling!

She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Proverbs 31:22

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things." Philippians 4:8 Blogging about country living, homemaking, fashion and decor tips with a penchant for all things princessy, Barbie

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