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Outfit Formula: The Trapeze Dress

The Trapeze Dress is one of the most universally flattering shapes you can wear.

Yves Saint-Laurent, who was working for Christian Dior at the time, is credited for introducing the unique silhouette of the first-ever trapeze dress.

It’s cut narrow at the top and falls into an a-line skirt that typically hits slightly above your knee.

It’s a classic, easy-to-wear silhouette gaining popularity and a welcomed alternative to the maxi dress that’s dominated the rack for the last few seasons.

I appreciate how it falls away from the body and looks elegant, whether you are full or small busted, broad or narrowed shoulders, and tall or short.

On Sunday we shared this trapeze dress from Banana Republic Factory, available in regular, tall and petite in XXS – XXL, in black, blue and the print below called preppy navy.

I immediately ordered the print. It will be lovely for summer nights when I want to wear something easy but chic.

They are calling it a “mini” dress, but it’s not. You can see it on the model who is at least 5’10.

If you are under 5’6 you may want to hem this to hit an inch or two above your knee.

And I wasn’t alone, I woke up Monday morning to this being the day’s best seller.

So I thought it would make a perfect key piece for an outfit formula.

You can use this exact dress, or any trapeze dress you come across.

Outfit Formula: The Trapeze Dress

KEY PIECE: Trapeze Mini Dress, $50

Each of these looks are really simple.

That’s the beauty of this dress, it doesn’t need much to be finished.

As always, look through your closet first to see what you have before you shop.

With a Heel

We’re starting with a familiar heel.

We featured these Aerosoles Emmex Sandals with a block heel several times this spring. They are available at DSW for $99 in colors black, cognac and ivory.

The ivory works perfectly with the pattern and the block heel helps balance out the shape of the dress and the accessories.

Once I landed on the shoe I wanted to carry the color throughout.

We included this affordable bone-colored bag from Amazon’s The Drop for under $40.

And I wanted the jewelry in both looks to feel organic.

These earrings from Tuckernuck are $58 and HUGE so keep that in mind. This style is out of my style comfort zone, but is growing on me.

So go for it if you can pull them off. (Note, the chunky heel helps balance the size of the earrings.)

I also included this fun cuff bracelet from Kenneth Jay Lane at Off Fifth. Off Fifth online is a fantastic resource for designer accessories and jewelry at better prices.

With a Flat

For a casual look, wear a flat.

I was going to show this with a sneaker, but, as much as I love a dress/sneaker combo, it doesn’t work here.

Instead, I went with a sporty slide.

All of these accessories just happen to be from Madewell – it wasn’t intentional.

The slides look like a Birkenstock but are more polished. LOVE them.

Then, I got it in my headed that this look needed a bucket bag.

I thought it would be cute for an afternoon out, getting lunch, going shopping, etc.

And Madewell’s Transport Tote compliments with the dress and the shoe.

Finally, I added these gold tone hoops (also available e in silver )for only $34.

Outfit Formula: The Trapeze Dress

Related Posts

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Monday 26th of June 2023

Any other suggested colors for the shoes and accessories? I don’t have ivory anything but want to look good in this print.


Thursday 22nd of June 2023

I absolutely love the dress!! I just ordered it and what a great price! Thank you for the recommendation! I also think I’m gonna order that fun chunky bracelet. I have a girls trip coming up and I think this would be a great dress to wear for a night out. Thanks again and keep up the good work with a wonderful content.

Kathleen Collins

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

I am 66 years old, 155 pds and 5’9” my legs are not that good looking anymore and wonder what type of dress would look good on me. It seems all the dresses these days do not lie at my waistline they are too high for me. I would like a dress tailored just as I still like darts in my blouses to show the curve of the body. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you, Kathleen

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Unfortunately, I can't provide specific recommendations here in the comments; everyone is different with unique needs. If you like darts consider something like a shirt dress.


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

I LOVE this dress - especially that it's rayon, which is so much cooler in the heat than polyester. I'll be taking it with me for my weekend in Philly to meet my son's girlfriend :) And thanks for sharing those Aerosoles heels - this is a brand that often has wide widths available which makes me so happy!


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

The print is goners. Did you have any other trapeze dresses you were looking at to list? I like the print a lot for summer. Need a dress for a summer wedding. Thx


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

What would look the best if you needed a little something extra - like a cardigan, jacket, Shorter length vs longer length ?

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Maybe a denim jacket but I would probably just pick a different dress.