A Dress Layering Trick You Haven't Thought Of

Mar 30, 2015



Today we're doing an exercise in stepping outside of our comfort zones. It can be super easy to stick to what's safe and true, but we need to keep in mind that when we do that there's little room to grow. You create the same outfits just with little tweaks, sticking to the same formula. But when you step outside of that formula- well, that's where the good stuff happens! This outfit is a case in point.


I teamed up with Holliday June to see what would happen if I branched a little outside of my usual instincts. Holliday June is inspired by the look and feel of iconic destinations and the glam travelers of the mid-century. From the "put-together" east coast, the relaxed west coast and exotic international locales, every collection is made up of new and vintage pieces that inspire us. They have a beautiful selection of geometric bracelets, southwest inspired turquoise rings, and gold tassel necklaces, all of which are right up my alley. All those pieces would blend into my looks seamlessly. But what would happen if I went with something a little different than what I'm used to? So I surpassed the turquoise baubles and went for a leather headband, instead.

You guys, I never wear headbands.  I don't know what to do with headbands. It's such a simple detail, but it spun me into a stressful one-on-one battle with my closet. Everything I pulled out looked "meh" making me mumble more than once how over I am this winter wardrobe. Since that was getting me nowhere, I decided to do things differently: I'd build the outfit from the accessory down. 


I pulled pieces off of hangers that would mesh well with the charcoal grey of the leather and the sparks of gold from the feathered lines. I chose a full, gray dress, a midi floral summer shift, a cargo jacket, a denim jacket, and a whole mess of turtlenecks. My bed was covered and I slowly began to sift through the options. I didn't just want to slap on a dress and call it a day: I wanted something with a little more oomph.

Which is when it came to me: What if I took the wool dress, and popped the longer floral midi underneath it for a pop of unexpected pattern. Then to fight off that Chicago spring chill, I added a cargo jacket that helped bring out the dark colors in the floral dress, and cinched it with a belt to define the waist.

And there I had it- an inspired new look that I wouldn't have thought of if I wasn't in the throes of turmoil over making this headband work. I wouldn't have a reason to have both dresses pulled, and I wouldn't have thought to combine them.

See, stepping outside of your comfort zone is useful! Even if it leaves an ungodly mess on your bedroom floor after ;)




Let's discuss: What's a recent out-of-your-comfort-zone piece that you tried to make work with your style, and how did it turn out?

PS: If you'd like more dress layering tips, why don't you read:


  1. Nice:) xx

  2. Your style is always so on point, I can't get over the flawless layering here! Head to toe perfection <3

    Andini xx | Adventures of an Anglophile

  3. I am very in love with this outfit! That headband is so elegant and unique: I'm not the type of person who wears headbands either, but I want to be every time I see somebody pull off the look as well as you. I also love the silhouette of that charcoal dress and I think the cargo jacket adds a nice and edgy touch.


  4. I love headbands and floral dresses! I also always find the "heavier top skirt/dress + lighter patterned skirt" combo absolutely adorable. You look charming!

  5. Such a great look! I love the little floral pattern peeking out underneath. :) xo

  6. Love all the layers...the styling is just so beautiful!


  7. So pretty !
    Long time no see over there but I really love this style you look gorgeous.


  8. *hand claps*
    This is genius! I love the peek-a-boo feel of the floral underneath the wool. It looks so effortless. I know what you mean about feeling "meh" until something just clicks. Most of the time I get frustrated and give up! I'll have to remember this next time that happens.

    Alysia Ave

  9. Very cool! I have a bunch of headbands but I always often feel uninspired to wear them. I like the idea of building the outfit from the accessory!

  10. you and your layering tips never fail to impress!! :D

    Have a great week!
    Animated Confessions

  11. So much yes to the layering going on here. I love how the floral dress is peeking out from underneath the other one. I'm loving your pretty new headband too. I used to wear headbands all the time and stopped for some reason. I need to fix that asap!

    Jamie | PetitePanoply.com

  12. I love how you layered these two dresses

  13. LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea. I actually love to layer slips under dresses and have them peak out from underneath which I guess is sort of similar. This looks so cute and kind of has this old frontier feel to it as well. Great look.

    Rae | love from berlin

  14. You are a genius - I would never have thought of layering a skirt under a dress like a petticoat! It's so simple but I can't believe I've never thought of it before! You're so creative, Marlen!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

  15. I'm loving this layered look. And alas, I never thought of layering a midi under a dress. You got me. (; I too wish I was one of those who could effortlessly wear headbands. I own a handful, and always put them on but take them off before I leave. I know it's a comfort thing. I need to take a page out of this and step out of my comfort zone. (:

  16. Rad! I love the florals. Great contrast! I actually do this quite often, but I'm a weirdo. My "comfort zone" is different from most other people. Haha. I love the grey dress, too, by the way!

    - Anna


  17. I love layering, that's pretty much how I dress in every season. Love your grey dress, and jacket so much! <3
    Highland Hiatus

  18. I love how this outfit turned out. You're so right...we have to step out of our comfort zone once in awhile. Makes it more exciting:)

  19. What an interesting idea and really wonderful result! x

  20. You are so good at layering! I always love seeing what you came up!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  21. Ahh love seeing people try new looks!! You pull off this style so fabulous and styled it all perfectly :) You go girl!!


  22. i love the headband on you! and i love the (top) dress as well, it looks lovely! and the floral dress is such a pretty addition:-) xx

  23. Tehehe, sometimes you need to make a mess to create a masterpiece!
    That's what I tell myself. Because I'm a natural disaster who leaves messes in her wake when she's making something...my art teachers love me... -_-
    Haha, love the outfit you created Marlen! It really paid off to step outside of your comfort zone! Great headband, and I'm digging the darker color palette. The little pop of print underneath is perfect!

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  24. I cannot get over how much I love this- it is like tough, rocker girl combined with a good girl, yet it avoids going into Loli-goth territory. All the details- belting the jacket, the hems providing a bit of a pioneer feeling (when girls grew, they would often just add another strip of cloth to the bottom to make it fit again. Said stripe may or may not be the same print). And that headband. There is a slight Alice in wonderland feeling I always get seeing headbands, and I get that here too, but not in a childish way. In Blair Wardorf way.


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