Windy City Stripes: All-Purpose Fall Dress

Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes

Striped Criss-Cross Smock Dress - [Lou & Grey]  ||  Nude Lace-up Heels - [Target, sold out] Similar Here  ||  Kate Spade Abalone Studs - [Nordstrom]  ||  Gold Apple Watch Sport - [Apple]  ||  Gold Apple Watch Cuff - [The Ultimate Cuff] Use Code: EMILYESSENTIALLY for 10% off!  ||  Gold Bangles - [Alex & Ani]  ||  Monogram Neverfull GM Tote - [Louis Vuitton]

Fall weather here in Michigan has been so tricky!  I keep waiting for the temperatures to drop, but we've been hanging solidly in the 70s (and even 80s!) into October, and frankly - I'm not gonna complain.  I've been taking advantage and wearing a few of my new transitional dresses while I can still go bare-legged.  The piece I'm wearing here is a new purchase I made in NYC a few weeks ago - head to the post here to see what I was there for!  I discovered an awesome new store - Lou & Grey, which is a subsidiary of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and that's where I was able to snag this all-purpose dress.  Lou & Grey is only a year old and doesn't have many brick and mortar locations, so check out their online offerings if you're in a state where they don't have a store to visit.

As I get older, I have started to transition my wardrobe priorities from hot little cocktail and going-out dresses to multi-functional lifestyle pieces.  This dress is a quintessential example of why it helps to stock your wardrobe with utility pieces for any type of event.  Let me share the different ways I can re-purpose and restyle this dress:

  • Work - I wore this dress to the office on the day we shot these photos. I adjusted the off-the-shoulder neckline to cover my shoulders, the length was appropriate for an office setting.  
  • Brunch - Throw on some sneakers (like a pair of Keds), add some sunnies and a fall three-season jacket and you're all set!  As the temperatures drop, you might even want to style this over some skinny jeggings for warmth and rock the dress as more of a tunic.  The tie at the waist can be manipulated to help achieve this look.
  • Baby/Wedding Shower - True story: I wore this dress two days in a row!  One to shoot this look while in Chicago, and the next to wear to my former roommate's baby shower.  It was the perfect dress for a fall shower, and I accessorized slightly differently to switch the look up.  An all-purpose dress like this looks great with a cardigan, blazer or jean jacket to dress it up or down.
  • Date Night - Add a little sex appeal for date night by styling with a sleek clutch handbag, a pair of strappy high heels and accessorizing with dressy jewelry pieces.  I'd add some smokey eye makeup and a messy chignon or a bold, statement lip as the finishing touch.

I hope these ideas are inspiration to you as you begin stocking up on some fall staple items.  This dress will be frequently rotated into my style calendar because its color palette, pattern and silhouette are flattering, and as I mentioned above, can be re-styled in endless ways.  What would be your favorite way to style a dress like this?  Sound off in the comments - I'd love to try even more ways to rock my new dress!

Emily Essentially