Summer-wedding season is going strong. Your fridge has transformed into a bulletin board of save-the-dates and cursive-heavy invitations. Meanwhile your closet is awash with dresses ranging from sexy to froufrou-frothy, to suit every Big Day’s dress code: cocktail, dressy casual and the vague dictum, “festive.”
Fashion dilemma: With your wardrobe budget blown on fancy frocks, you now need to stretch the cost-per-wear of that dress you had to have for your cousin’s wedding. But you can’t wear a sexy cocktail number to brunch… can you?
Of course you can! To demonstrate, we enlisted fashion blogger Jenny Plog of PlogStyle to help you earn frequent style miles. Plog is known for her simple-but-not-simplistic outfits, investing in head-turning separates and shuffling her go-to clothing arsenal to maximize her styling options. “Being a fashion blogger on a budget, I’m always looking for ways to get the most out of my wardrobe,” she says. Here are Plog’s three style rules for going casual in your cocktail dresses this summer.
Rule 1: Show a little less skin The va-va-voom of a spaghetti strap or strapless dress is totally appropriate for a sunset cocktail hour or romantic dinner. But to quiet the sexiness for daytime, Plog covers up her bare arms with her ultimate dress-down accessory: the denim jacket. This beloved workwear fabric is made for moving and living in. With a cropped jean jacket on top of the sleek dress, “this is a perfect outfit for running errands on the weekend or heading to the farmers market,” says Plog.
Rule 2: Let your hair down Swept up hairstyles are elegant evening options, especially on warm nights. Exposing the nape of your neck offers a subtle dose of flirty allure. But for daytime, you’ll love the cool juxtaposition of a date-night dress paired with low-key, could-be-from-the-beach hair. So take a cue from Plog, who gets her fancy frock vacay-ready by simply shaking out her swept-up ’do and donning a beachy straw fedora. Too easy.
Rule 3: Ditch your heels. “For a casual night out with friends, I’ll add a pair of heels and keep everything simple: a clutch and a few accessories,” says Plog. Why this works: Heels and a clutch are the go-to for formal events, so by reaching for their off-duty opposites—flat sandals and a roomy tote—you’ve already taken the outfit down a few notches.
For frocks that work best with added height (like a maxi-dress), opt for a more substantial heel or wedge. Platform sandals or stacked heels in day-friendly tan leather, jute or woven materials—are the unfussy alternative to the sexy, strappy skyscrapers normally saved for nights out.
There you have it. Even the most chichi dress can work during daylight hours with a few simple additions and styling tricks. So, the next time you open an invitation and see “Dress Code” above the RSVP line, you’ll know you can confidently rock any frock night and day.
Now tell us: How do you dress down your cocktail dresses for summer? Leave your tips in the comments section below.