How to Wear a Maxi Dress on the Weekend

Weekend Inspiration - Easy Breezy Maxi Dress
Weekend Inspiration - Easy Breezy Maxi Dress - The Well Dressed Life

It took me a few seasons to get on board with maxi dresses.  Since they first gained popularity, they have evolved to become more wearable. I use to find them shapeless and a little frumpy, but today you can find flattering and feminine options to work for any event you might have on your weekend calendar. This time of year, a popular question in my email is about how to wear a maxi dress.

The secret is to keep it simple, especially if you’re wearing a patterned dress. Because the dress has a lot going on, let is stand on its own.  The dress itself is the focal point, so balance the flow of the fabric and print with accessories that compliment the dress, but also disappears.

How to Wear a Maxi Dress on the Weekend

How to Wear a Maxi Dress

Dress, $158  |  Sandal, $79  |  Clutch, $50  |  Earrings, $20  |  Sunglasses, $183

I know I don’t feature enough silver pieces, so I was happy to find a cool-toned dress that called for silver accessories, and found the right accessories since silver is not currently as popular as gold. Eliza J makes lovely, affordable dresses and is often a brand a turn to for casual pieces with a little extra detail.

Let’s talk about shoes first.  I tend to lean toward a flat with a maxi.  It feels more modern and often works best for where you’re wearing a maxi – think the beach, or outside party. If you’d like some height, go with a wedge, but don’t do one that is disproportionally high, it will throw off the line of your dress.  I like these sandals by Steve Madden. Many of you picked them up after we featured them a few weeks back.  They work with this kind of dress, a short skirt or shorts.  I thought they were tight when I first put them on, but they do stretch out.

For accessories, I reached for some inexpensive yet impactful items.  This $50 straw clutch from Street Level is so chic.  It pulls texture into your outfit, which adds depth especially when your wearing such a bold pattern.  You’ll carry it all summer.

When it comes to earrings, I am so dull. Despite a drawer full of statement earrings, I wear a pair of simple diamond studs every single day.  So I’m making a conscious effort to step up my game. These silver tassel earrings work well with this maxi dress. It mimics the movement of the skirt. I would keep my hair down with these earrings to tone them down. You want just a hint of movement. Otherwise, they would be distracting.  Finally, don’t forget your sunnies.  These Ray Bans are lightweight and go with everything.

Wear to Work: Floral Peplum

Wear to Work: Floral Peplum
Wear to Work: Floral Peplum - The Well Dressed Life

It’s not even officially summer, and I’m already over warm weather outfits. Not a great place to be since we have three months of summer and weeks of posts to fill. I think part of my frustration is the current inventory is god awful. Everything is either tiny, skimpy, cheaply made, backless or booby. Would someone please explain “side boob” to me? Seriously, I can’t name one woman who would see a top and think, “you know, this is great, but it would be even better if you could see the side of my breasts.”

Anyway, when I do find something I like, I quickly try to figure out if I can make it office appropriate. When this floral peplum from MICHAEL Michael Kors floated down my scroll, I stopped for a second look.  It’s better than a tee shirt but has the same ease of wear.  Just put it on and go.  If you are print-adverse like I am, this one is sophisticated and reads like texture.  Speaking of texture, there is a subtle, lace overlay that adds to the visual interest of the outfit.  When you are picking up tops for high temp days, look for details like this.  The combination is balanced and creates a layered look without adding more material.

Don’t be afraid of a peplum.  If it fits you the right way, the peplum will float over your belly and somehow, doesn’t enhance anything you may want to hide.

 

Wear to Work: Floral Peplum

Top, $93  |  Pants, $178  |  Ring, $118  |  Shoes, $80  |  Bag, $178

To ground the femininity of the top, I paired it with simple navy ankle pants by Elie Tahari.  His fit is fantastic, and the quality is well worth the price point (under $200). For something less expensive and in a broader size range, try these seasonless wool ankle pants from Talbots.

For a shoe, try to wear a heel.  It doesn’t have to be super high, but a bit of height with an ankle pant helps to elongate your leg and give the pant a beautiful drape.  I went with these block heel sandals. They disappear on your feet, and the block heel is comfortable to wear all day long.

Finally, I pulled in color with the bag and ring. Do you need a green handbag? No. But it sure does look great with this look. If you do work with a bold color bag, use it like a neutral and incorporate it strategically.  Here, green shows up three times in the outfit, which is a good formula to follow to make a look cohesive and purposeful.   The bag is on sale at Henri Bendel. I have many Henri Bendel pieces and always appreciate their timeless style and quality.  Of course, you don’t have to spend, this option from Target is under $35.00. Same thoughts on the ring, this one from Anthropologie is gorgeous, but this $45 ring from Etsy is almost identical.

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3 Barbecue-Ready Outfits To Try This Weekend

Summer BBQ Style - Shorts and Tee
Summer BBQ Style - The Well Dressed Life

Maybe you’re heading to a friend’s house, hitting up a block party or going to your local swim club, at some point over the summer, your weekend is going to involve some kind of barbecue or outside party. When I worked with clients, they would often complain about feeling like they were wearing some version of their work clothes on the weekend. 

It sounds silly but how we dress often dictates how we feel.  If we are looking to relax or take a break, wearing the same thing you wore to Thursday’s sales meeting is no fun. Today, we’re breaking down what to wear to a summer barbecue so you feel great, look chic and can get out the door with ease.

My family is in the season of life where things are busy all the time, and our weekends are filled with a combination of sports, community activities, family commitments and time spent with friends. One of the things I never realized when we had kids, was that our group of friends would evolve to include the parents of our kids’ buddies. When we get together, the kids are outside having a blast, and the parents are inside having just as much fun.

For years I hung out almost exclusively with other entrepreneurs and business owners, especially in the early stages of our company, and I always found it exhausting. It felt more like networking and less like socializing. Entrepreneurs tend to be a bit narcissistic. They like to talk shop; it’s all strategy and struggle, what gigs they booked, their numbers, who’s doing well, who isn’t and I would sit there just wanting to talk about what happened on Real Housewives of New York. It was always so obvious to me that I never fit in.

What’s nice is that everyone in our group of neighborhood friends has pretty impressive resumes, big jobs and lots of responsibilities. But when we get together, we might talk about work, but there is no one-upping or showing off, it’s just pure, uncomplicated, down to earth fun. And no one has an agenda. For someone as wound tight as I am, it’s a welcomed break and, frankly, necessary for my mental health.

Most of our activities are casual, but some require a little more effort. With two busy kids and a full work schedule, I like to have a few outfits figured out so I can get myself and everyone else out the door with as little drama as possible. If you have a few outdoor parties on your calendar, let the ideas below serve as some inspiration, so you know just what to wear and can get on with having some fun.

What to Wear to a Summer Barbecue

Shorts and Tee

What to Wear to a Summer BarbecueShirt, $25  |  Shorts, $20  |  Flip Flops, $68  |  Earrings, $58  |  Bag, $50

There is NOTHING wrong with a simple pair of shorts and a tee shirt.  To elevate the look a bit, find pieces with some added detail. I love these scalloped shorts ($20) from J. Crew factory paired with this cotton striped tee from LL Bean.  The neckline on the shirt makes it a little different from a basic tee and the longer sleeve balances the shorts.  I basically live in this kind of outfit on the weekend.  It’s crisp and casual.  Add simple, modern accessories with these double hoop earrings, leather flip flops with gold trip and a trend right straw circle bag.

Romper

What to Wear to a Summer BarbecueRomper, $95  |  Sandal, $160  |  Earrings, $99  |  Clutch, $34

I love a romper.  They feel more dressy than a short and tee outfit but still chic and casual.  Yes, it’s a pain when you have to use the ladies room, but honestly, it’s never bothered me too much.  The key to wearing one as an adult, and not looking like you’re shopping in the kid’s department, is to focus on fabric, fit, and balance. This breezy romper brings balance with a longer sleeve, and has a comfortable drapey fit.  It’s like a wrap dress but with shorts.  Since it’s a little more formal, I used a neutral block heel sandal. They’re not inexpensive but you’ll wear them all summer.  Be aware of your shoe choice if you are going to be on grass. Block heels work well, so do wedges and, obviously, flats.  For accessories, I used natural materials.  These bamboo earrings and cork clutch pair beautifully while adding depth and dimension to the look.

Tunic

What to Wear to a Summer Barbecue

Tunic, $148  |  Sandals, $128  |  Earrings, $38  |  Clutch, $50

Lauren and I like to say; sometimes you have to go all in.  Are you going to a pool party at your local country club?  Or a daytime gathering at a yacht club?  Whether that’s part of your daily life, or your find yourself randomly invited, we say, dive in head first. Sometimes, I like to fly my preppy flag high and go full on Palm Beach with a bold pattern tunic (by none other than Lily Pulitzer) and a pair of Jack Rogers flats.  Finish it off with white tassel earrings and this adorable ($50) white clutch.  Is it predictable?  You bet. But it sure is cute.

 

Jazz Up Your Basics with Embellished Summer Slides

Fancy Slides to Jazz up Your Basics

A popular topic around here is how to update an outfit with accessories. When it’s cold out, it’s easy to add a scarf, stack some bracelets, even add an interesting blazer. The challenge is when it’s hot and humid out, the last thing any of us want to do is add layers.  So how do you create visual interest and depth without pilling on extra layers?

One word: Shoes.

On the blog, I have a tendency to show neutral, classic, versatile shoe options because I’d rather you “invest” in a few high-quality shoes you can wear over and again instead of having a pile of disposable, novelty shoes you wear once or twice.  But sometimes my practicality is boring, so today we’re featuring a few pairs of embellished slides that are perfect for jazzing up your basics this summer.

 

Fancy Slides to Jazz up Your Basics

one, $118  |  two, $73  |  three, $72  |  four, $80

Why slides?  In the summer, I often feel silly wearing a higher heel.  Of course, it all depends on the outfit, but generally, a flat, or a low heel, works best with ankle pants, shorts, and skirts with a higher hemline.  They tend to complement the weight of seasonally appropriate clothes and add to the general, casual vibe of the summer.

I was inspired by this first pair I found at Anthropologie.  I love the combination of a bold floral pattern with equally bold embellishments.  Many of you know I’m not a big fan of prints, but I do like a wink of them in an outfit when temps are high. I would wear these, and this similar pair from Steve Madden with white summer pants or shorts, linen pants, or even a simple, solid cotton tank dress that hits at or around the knee.

If you wear a lot of denim or chambray (raises hand), than these Sam Edelman slides are the perfect pair.  I would wear them with my white jeans, relaxed ankle length blue jeans, a box tunic in chambray, or a tank dress in shades of blue or white.

Looking to dress up neutral basics?  I can see these gold slides with pearl details at the shore. Going to dinner at the beach is always more laid back than in the city.  Wear these with your summer weight “dress” pants and a tunic, or cotton shirt dress or loose fitting sheath.

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Weekend Inspiration: Polka Dot Midi Skirt

It’s been raining on the east coast for days. Maybe it’s the weather, lack of inspiration, or the fact that I haven’t had the occasion, but lately I’ve had little desire to get dressed up. 

I’m hoping, that as the weather clears there’s more opportunity to break out of my jeans and tee shirt rut.  For today’s post, I wanted to show something different.  If I did have a place to go, what would I want to wear that’s the opposite of my jeans/tank/blazer combo. So today I’m showing you how to wear a polka dot skirt on the weekend.

 

How to Wear a Polka Dot Skirt

How to Wear a Polka Dot Skirt

Skirt, $125  |  Heel, $70  |  Blouse, $98  |  Jacket, $80  |  Clutch, $34

Boden has been at the top of my radar lately, which is funny because generally,  it’s a little too preppy, even for me. When I found this skirt, I knew right away I wanted to make it the key piece in this look.  Take a close look at it.  The pattern is large polk a dots on small dots, which creates a beautiful, layered appearance of texture and movement.  It adds depth to the outfit.

You can wear a number of shirts with this, but I went with a sleeveless ruffle button down.  The ruffle plays off the femininity of the pattern, and the shape of the shirt balances the swing of the skirt.  In this case, I would tuck in the shirt to highlight your waistline. This is an easy piece to incorporate into all kinds of looks, especially with a clean lined blazer for work.

Next, a denim jacket is a springtime must have.  In this outfit you can wear it properly or just drape it over your shoulders.  Aside from keeping you warm, the denim grounds the look and, again, creates balance.

For the shoe and bag, I went a little off script.  I love the idea of using a dusty pop of color as a neutral.  These pink sandals by Sam Edelman compliment the navy beautifully. They have a comfortable block heel and simple style.

The bag is what excites me.  My defalt is always a beige clutch.  Practically speaking, they go with everything but let’s have some fun.  I wanted to show how patterns can also mix and match.  Polka dot and stripes are an easy combination because neither is too busy so they won’t fight with each other.  The trick is to make sure the colors you are using are the same saturation and that one pattern is dominate.  Here the skirt has the primary pattern, and the stripe on the clutch is an accent.  They play off each other and kick up the style factor in a subtle yet impactful way.

Need some more Weekend Inspiration?  Drop us a note in the comments with questions or requests and will add it to our editorial calendar for coming weeks.

Steve Madden Greece Sandals: Your New Favorite Summer Shoe

Your Favorite Summer Sandals

Today’s post is short and sweet; I want you to buy these Steve Madden Greece sandals if you are looking for an easy, casual and flat summer shoe.  I just picked up the style below and can’t wait to wear them. Many of you already know, I’m not the sparkly spangly type. Some sites are calling the detail on the top “rhinestones,” but they are not that obnoxious, more just a tiny bit of detail that reflects the light.

Steve Madden Greece SandalsSteve Madden Greece Sandals, $99

If you need extra arch support they’re not for you as the sole is super flat.  However, if you need something for vacation, or just to wear on the weekends with a cotton dress, or shorts, they’re a fantastic option. They’ve been selling out quickly, so get them while there are still sizes.

They also come in black, cognac, rose gold and white.

We have another jam-packed weekend ahead of us.  On Saturday our daughter makes her First Communion, and we’ll celebrate with a family lunch at a favorite restaurant, then a birthday party for a neighbor, a friend’s Communion party on Sunday and wrapping up with another birthday outing for my oldest and a few friends.

I’m putting my running shoes on now!

Have a great weekend!