Last week I was contacted by Megan from the online team at Marks and Spencer, asking if I'd like to take part in a styling challenge - of course the answer was absolutely! The idea was to pick a dress from their occasion wear collection and show how it can be made versatile by styling it in a number of different ways. As thrilling as it is buying a beautiful new dress for a wedding or the races etc, it can often mean leaving your bank balance less than happy, so the M&S team and myself wanted to show that you can get more wear out of that gorgeous dress you wore for a special ocassion, making it more of an investment buy rather than a one off extravagant one. Here I have shown 3 different ways of styling this floral shift dress: for an occasion, casual wear and mixing it into a trend - sport luxe. This is just an idea of what you could do, and hopefully an inspiration to anyone who has a couple of 'dressy' dresses tucked away in the back of their wardrobes, after just one wear (which let's face it, I think most of us girls do!) but is not limited to these styles - there's plenty more you could do if you let your imagination take control!
I chose this elegant limited edition floral shift to style, as I thought the silhouette was subtle and classy, which would make it more versatile to team with other items, and the print was soft and feminine which I loved. I also chose this nude, patent clutch bag to compliment the dress as occasion wear.
For the first look I teamed the dress with this nude blazer which tied in with the dusky pink colour on the dress, to give it a more tailored, formal vibe. This is such a simple look to achieve - add some well chosen jewellery and throw on some heels and you've got that wedding guest/ races/ regatta look sorted. I also kept my hair and makeup quite simple and natural, as to not take away the focus from the dress and to keep it sophisticated. This look would also work perfectly well for the office on a summer's day, maybe just with a slightly more conservative heel.
Next I decided to style the dress with a more casual twist, for a country walk. I also wanted to show how you can easily dress your dress down, by transforming it into a skirt by adding a comfy, chunky jumper. This is especially a good trick if a dress has a beautiful print all over it, so you will still see some at the bottom. This dress worked especially well with this idea due to its high neck, which meant it is still noticeable as a dress, and gives a slightly fun edge.
When dressing more casually I always like to be a little bit more adventurous with my accessorising, to add a quirky twist to a more toned down look. I paired this outfit with my favourite earrings and a cute pearl look collar. If the dress doesn't have a high neck, popping a shirt with an interesting collar over the top, then layering up with a jumper with the collar on display can give a fresh and modern look.
For my final outfit, I decided to inject a little of the current sports luxe trend. This is something that can be done season after season, meaning your dress will stay current all year round - just pick a certain trend and just add one item that reflects it, and you instantly have an up to date look.
I'm loving bomber jackets this season, and thought this metallic sleeved number tied in perfectly with the colour palette of the dress, while adding a funky, youthful vibe. I added these peep toe buckled boots to tie in with the slightly sporty/ urban feel, and finished off with a glitzy bag to bring it back to being girly, and this stunning stone pendant, also courtesy of M&S.
Thank you to M&S for these wonderful items, I will carry on seeing how many ways I can wear them! You can shop the look by heading to dresses here, jewellery here and bags & purses here. There are some really lovely items from their Spring collection at the moment, plus a sale on - so head on over before you miss a bargain!
What's your favourite look? How would you style up an Occasion wear dress to make it versatile?
What I'm Wearing:
Patent clutch bag: c/o M&S
Nude ponte blazer: Topshop
Necklace: Miss Selfridge
Glitter sandals: New Look
Pearly collar: Topshop
Faux fur gilet & grey suede boots: eBay
Earrings: Les Nereides
Statement necklace: c/o M&S
Bomber jacket: G21 @ George
Embellished clutch bag: c/o Accessorize
Buckled shoe boots: Topshop