Friday, March 18, 2016

Styling: The Oversized Dress

Similar to the conversations I've had with people about thrifting, are the questions I've been asked about how to wear vintage clothing.  Usually these inquiries come from the standpoint of those with predominantly modern wardrobes, who want to blend in some more classic pieces.  That, or those that want to find inexpensive ways to wear vintage.  This post probably falls more into the second category, but really, is for everyone.

Tuthfully, I know that not everyone needs styling advice, just as not all students need algebra help. People are naturally good at different things-- and because I'm totally the math help type, I'm here to talk about aesthetics instead! :)

I suppose my number one rule for styling is be open to improvisation.  Sometimes, said jimmy rigging will fail, but in the process, you will hit on lots of ways to be creative with your wardrobe.

So lets talk about the oversized dress and why I find it to be such a gem.  Have you ever been thrifting or vintage shopping (or even perusing a sale section) and you find a great dress that you love-- but it's a couple of sizes too big?  Who knows, maybe you didn't even find it because you never look outside of your size range, but let me tell you: an oversized dress can be a great piece in your wardrobe, for it's versatility and because we, ladies, all have those days each month where a little waist room is a good thing. ;)

A perfect example of my own, is this 60's cotton day dress.  It's one that I found at an estate sale and opted to keep.  This frock is easily two or three sizes too big for me, but I loved the stripes and drop waist detail-- which is a great style for this purpose.  The obvious solution to an unfitted waist is a belt, but I find that most people don't actually utilize this simple trick!

Check out the difference a belt makes:

Because an oversized dress will probably be large all over (not just the waist) I also like to throw on a cropped sweater or jacket-- the shorter length does double duty by accentuating the waist further.

A dress like this could also be easily worn just with a cropped sweater, for a similar waist cinching effect, sans belt.  I actually styled this vintage 50's cashmere cardigan exactly that way for it's Etsy listing! 

Choosing an Oversized Dress

When you take to the couple-sizes-larger-than-you section, some things that are good to look for:

1) an a-line, or full skirted shape.  Dresses that are straight up and down tend not to work well when styled this way, as the belted section is more noticably "indented".  With a more hourglass shaped garment and fuller skirt, a cinched waist looks more natural.

2) dropped waist.  This isn't a necessity by any means, but I find that this style is especially adorable worn this way-- mostly due to the fact that the created lines accent both the hips and waist.

3) a print/color that you love, or that could be versatile.  I find that I'm much more likely to get creative with a garment if it's in a color or print that I enjoy.  There's no sense in purchasing something if you don't!

When all is said and done, vintage clothing often comes along in sizes that might not be perfect.  I've learned that improvising in the face of that, not only works but has expanded my creativity while maintaining my bank account. ;)

And the best part is, I don't think anyone would ever guess that this dress is supposed to fit any differently!  Win-win, I think.

Have any styling (or vintage styling) dilemmas that you're looking for solutions to?  Leave a comment or shoot me an email at :)

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