A Classic Grey Dress Two Ways

We talk a lot about creating a chic and classic style on a budget. No matter your budget, you have one, and you need to know where to splurge, spend, and save. The best tip I can give you is to be selective about every item you bring into your wardrobe, especially those pieces considered a bargain.

Inexpensive, sale-priced, clearance items tend to be where we let down our guard. It’s too easy to throw a $20 top or dress in our carts. But what happens when we do that repeatedly is we end up with a closet that doesn’t make any sense.
You’ve been there, I’ve been there, we’ve all been there.

That’s why it’s important to know the style you are trying to achieve before you shop, and then hold even the most affordable item to that standard.

Today’s dress, this simple Ponte shift from Old Navy, is on sale for under $30. It is the perfect example of what to look for in a “save” piece that adds tons of value to your wardrobe. 

Old Navy Ponte Shift Dress 

How to wear a Gray Dress


Dress, $28 (Missy, Tall and Petite, up to XXL)

Ponte knit is ideal for this time of year. It’s stretchy, soft, and has a great fit. You can dress it up or down. It pairs with everything from tall boots (below) to sneakers and a denim jacket.

This dress works so well because of its timeless cut and heather grey color. It’s also not too short, so you can take it to work, dinner, or even a relaxed Thanksgiving.

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Today, I’m showing you two sophisticated looks with this inexpensive piece at the center.

Layered Neutrals

Gray Dress with camel coat, ivory scarf, tan knee high boots, and gold hoops

Boots, $268 (Black Friday sale $134) |  Coat, $173 |  Scarf, $39 |  Earrings, $90 

To say I love this look is an understatement. My favorite way to dress is in layered neutrals. It creates such a gorgeous richness that works for any occasion.

Here, I paired the dress with these stunning cognac boots from Banana Republic, currently on a Black Friday sale for 50% off. Sizes are getting limited.

Then, a classic camel coat. I picked up a similar jacket last year and have got so much wear out of it. I like this one from Express; it has a flattering tie waist without looking like a bathrobe.

Finally, add an ivory scarf (under $40 at Nordstrom) and pretty pearl and gold statement hoops.

Simple, classic, timeless.

Basic Black

Gray Dress with black tights, black booties, black and gold belt, and gold earrings.

Booties, $105 |  Tights, $15 | Belt, $45 (on sale $15)|  Earrings, $7.50 

When you focus on wardrobe building, you’ll eventually get the point that you already have everything else you need to create a fresh look when you bring in one piece.

This look is an example of that. You likely already have a pair of black ankle boots. If not, these booties by Vince Camuto are on sale at DSW. Their block heel makes them incredibly comfortable. Pair them with opaque tights to give your leg a long line.

Then, I added this gorgeous belt from LOFT. Right now, it’s on sale for only $15. It’s subtle but has a designer look and feel. Wrap it around your waist to bring in some visual interest.

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Finally, small door-knocker earrings mimic the belt buckle’s style, creating a cohesive, thoughtful outfit.

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Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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A Classic Grey Dress Two Ways

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