Formal Dresses Made Casual

Apr 29, 2014


DRESS: Banana Republic (similar: here here and here)
TURTLENECK: Banana Republic
SHOES: Urban Outfitters (similar: here)
TRENCH: thrifted (similar: here)
LIPSTICK: Wet n' Wild ($1- wut wut)

Here's a fancy dress made a little less fancy. I have a few office-y looking pieces in my closet back from my assistant days, and some of them were a little too cute to toss (see: burn). This one was one of them- I really like the pretty pattern, and the sleeveless-ness and sharp neckline make it a great layering piece. So to casual this number up, I slipped a turtleneck underneath and paired it with a trench coat, and then topped it all off with a simple, black beanie. I think the beanie is what really helped make this more of a laid back, everyday outfit. Viva la hats! 

In other news, I've been feeling awfully antsy these past couple of weeks, and I'm not sure if its the changing seasons or what. But I've been wanting to do it all and have no means to do it, haha. I want to read books, write stories, go nap under trees, go meet up for margaritas and sit on street curbs in summer dresses and talk with best friends. But there just aren't enough hours to pack that all in, you know? And I've been wanting to get back to travelling again- oh how I've been wanting to do that. I have my sights on Indonesia and Vietnam this time, and I just want to hike through jungles and sleep on uncomfortable rickety cots, swim under waterfalls and get lost in places where I don't know the language. But man oh man am I poor. So now I have to go into beast mode and start saving. Have you been anywhere exciting recently?

And here are some beautiful words from that notebook of mine that sums this up:

“You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all: the darkness of each endless fall, the shimmering light of each ascent. So many are alive who don't seem to care. Casual, easy, they move in the world as though untouched.  But you take pleasure in the faces of those who know they thirst. You cherish those who grip you for survival. You are not dead yet, it's not too late to open your depths by plunging into them and drink in the life that reveals itself quietly there.”- Rainer Maria Rilke


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  1. I loooove styling fancy dresses for day! I feel so rebellious!

    I know what you mean! I'm often overwhelmed by wanting to do all the things at once that I just have to lie down. Haha, but seriously. ;)

  2. I like how you dress your fancy dress down! super cute outfit :)


  3. Agh, I want all of that, too! Getting to do some of it feels really good: reading, writing, eating scones, seeing plays, being with friends. That Rilke quote makes me want to cry and smile and do so much - I guess that's what they mean by inspiration, non? Thank you for sharing! 

  4. You are so adorable!
    I love the print on that dress and the shoes!

  5. Yes, I always want to travel! I feel like I have to travel somewhere once a year or I go stir crazy. This summer I'm hoping to do a road trip down south, maybe Savannah, theres something I romanticise about summer in the south (I don't know why because of the heat). But Indonesia or Vietnam sounds way more adventurous!

  6. Love the dress!!! The pattern is so cute. I love your dressed it down a bit with the turtle neck under it.


  7. The design of this dress is really origina, it looks fancy and interesting:) Those photographs are adorable, you look so charming as always:)
    Wish you a great day ahead!

  8. The quotes you find are as magical as they are marvelous. Goodness, I was just reveling in the beauty and truth of that paragraph by Rainer. <3
    Oh right, but this outfit - kawaii! Haha, love how you made such a fancy dress more casual! The hat definitely adds the perfect laidback vibe. I would always add one to my outfits when I felt a bit overdressed

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  9. i seemed to usually do the opposite for work and dress up more casual dresses but now that you mention it, def have a ton of officey ones i havent worn in a long time now. i did wear a somewhat officey one the other day w/ high top sneakers. anyway, i agree, the print on this is great, and it's perfect w/ the beige trench. i can def relate to wanting to do so many diff things right now : ).

  10. Great!:)) x

  11. I really, really love that dress - and how you unfancied it! I haven't been on a trip since the fall, when I went back to New York and Connecticut to visit grad school pals. And, sadly, I don't think another trip will be happening for about a year...but I'm aiming for Scotland!

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

  12. I know exactly what you're feeling! I've been feeling it too, so much so, that I didn't fall asleep until 3am last night! Love your outfit, still envious of those shoes!

  13. Lovely post! I love the layering, especially the polo neck with the dress, so cool. I will have to try this. Thanks for the tips on my blog for my camera - hoping I have got some better shots to upload over the past few days! Such a great help - hope your having a lovely day xxx

  14. I love how you styled the dress, it looks wonderful! I can sympathize with that feeling, sometimes I have so many things I want to do, that I end up never doing any of them because I can't decide what to start first, which is lame. Haha

  15. I'm not sure why, but I can't see the pictures in this post. Am I the only one? D:

  16. I love dressing down dresses for daytime wear, too, and you did such a great job with this one! Such a nifty, chic look with the trench and that awesome pattern on the dress. Very nice.

    I totally agree about feeling all antsy, too. For me, it's definitely the changing seasons. I want to get out and do EVERYTHING that I couldn't do in the winter because it was -20 degrees out!


  17. Okay, once you mention this was a for-the-office dress I can see it, but wouldn't have guessed. You made it have a casual vibe very well.

    Also- have you considered going abroad to teach English? I think you would really enjoy that experience and you can travel a lot. Asian countries tend to pay pretty well too and usually only require a BA (of anything) from their teachers. There are also summer camp options, and in the Czech Republic English is a big industry.

  18. I love the print and cut of this dress! You look great!

  19. I love the idea of transforming pieces- and the idea of making the dress less formal is interesting and fun- who knows, I might just give it a shot, too! :) The trench coat definitely tones it down! Such a totally cute outfit, and it's definitely suitable for work and casual events. xx

    Chic Nikkie 

  20. Such a great remix idea. The beanie is definitely the cherry on top. I've been really wanting to travel lately too.. I've got my sights set on Berlin and Brooklyn. But I have the same problem of lacking the funds haha. Hopefully we will both make it to our chosen destinations someday :)

  21. This is so cool! I love how you dressed it down with the turtleneck and trench. :D I've been wanting to travel too. I just want to get away from the US for a bit but I need to save up in order to do that.


  22. Layering a shirt under a formal dress to make it more casual is brilliant! I didn't even think about it and I've always wondered how to wear my formal dresses more often because they spend too much time in the closet. I really like your look, that's a pretty dres and nice trenchcoat too!

  23. My dream is to visit Japan someday, but I'm poor too :D So not gonna happen soon!
    I think the weather is making everybody kind of antsy, it sucks so bad!
    Oh my my, love your trench!

  24. Travel plans sound great! And I love, love, love the colours and pattern of your dress.

  25. That is such a lovely printed dress! I like how you've dressed it down to look more casual :)

    Great quote too - I hope you manage to save up and get those trips you want! :)

    Away From Blue

  26. I definitely use some layering strategies--because I have a number of dresses that might look a little out of place is I played up how dressy they are!

  27. This is one of my favourite outfits from you, and such a great Rilke quote! The printed dress is stunning and I love the graphics paired with the trench!
    Enter My Travel/Food Giveaway!

  28. ooh love the banana dress here with the sweater, such a neat idea!! I'm going to try that out :)

  29. You are one productive lady! I was only on your blog just last week and I'm back and there is so much to read :D

    The lines in this dress are my favourite part, so flattering and eye grabbing :)

  30. Love the way you've styled this- perfect with the trench! Spring makes me antsy too- feeling thawed, but not sure to do with my new-found energy!


  31. that dress is super cute!!! and omg those dollar wet n wild lipsticks are legit!! love love love them! easily comparable to the nars lipsticks.

    at this volume

  32. Oh, I've been feeling quite the same way! I've accredited that to the warm weather, but perhaps it's our young spirit! And I love how you styled this fancier dress. I know I can always count on you for great outfit ideas. And that trench coat is a beautifully classic piece and I love the beanie, it definitely brings the dress down to a more every-day look.

  33. It surprised me to see you in such a short hem! I really like the dress pattern :)


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