Necklace and kimono

4 Hacks For When Your Dress is Too Small

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Casual layering for summer

4 Hacks For When Your Dress is Too Small

I blame the laundry person when a dress is too small. And considering that’s me, then I have no recourse except to figure out some tricks to camouflage the fact. Certainly, I can’t be the only one that the laundry fairy shrinks their clothing??
In fact, one time I did blog about solutions for pants that were too tight. You might laugh that I still have those pants and yes, they still fit the same.

Quote of the day: “Swimsuits are not the enemy, and neither are our bodies. So hit the beach, pool, or boat, and live your best life this summer–in the body, you have now, and yes, wearing only a swimsuit.” Liz with Wonder and Whimsey

While I realize that this post is NOT about swimsuits, Liz’s quote above is very apropos about when we consider a dress (or anything for that matter) too small. Because sometimes I think our perspective can be skewed.
Why did I think that this dress was too small? Because it was hugging my curves instead of skimming them. Yet sometimes I think we err on the side of wearing our items too big. As we all know, too big can be thought of as sloppy.

Related post: How to style a dress that is too short

But I digress. Let me share the 4 hacks I used when my first response was this dress is too small.

1- Add a Topper

Any kind of topper can camouflage when your dress is too small, but a long kimono is certainly the easiest way. The kimono will give that flowiness to the body-hugging item and work against the focus on the tight dress.

I also took advantage of adding in brighter accessories with the whimsical necklace (gifted by Pam Neri) and the same color sandals.

This kimono? It’s from a local online boutique that I love to support called Naomi and Ruth. Recently this summer, I wore it with a yellow dress belted although I have shown other options of what to wear under a long kimono in the past.

Add a top when a dress is too small

2- Style a Top Over the Dress

It took me years to realize that just because I was wearing a dress, didn’t mean I could layer a top over it instead of just a cardigan or jacket. This was the idea when we showed how the same dress could be seen as either a top OR a skirt many years ago. By adding a different shirt over your dress, you see only the skirt of the dress.

Truthfully, this wasn’t my favorite combination of colorways, but it showcases the idea. AND my hope is always not just to give you inspiration with my exact outfits, but to learn how your closet can be much more versatile than you think.

Insider tip: Many tops are quite boring when left hanging as is. That’s exactly why I used an elastic to “tie” a knot in front. It also adds an asymmetrical element to the look.

Wear a maxi skirt over your dress

3-Craziness with Layering

We layer tops and jackets all the time, so why not layer skirts? I’ll be the first to admit that this seemed a tad crazy when I first read about it, but now I understand the brilliance.

Not only is it a great hack for when your dress is too small, but think about how it can work wonderfully if you have a stain you also need to cover up. In fact, this is one reason why I think a dress is a good option to take on vacation.
BTW, I know many of you are thinking this works ONLY if you are slim. BUT, it’s just not true. I talk about that and some other myths in this post.

So for this post, I added a maxi (although I could have also layered a midi skirt) over the tight dress and then I also added a belt.

Insider tip: My leopard cami is actually a Ruby Ribbon demi bra as described in this post.

Add accessories and rock a dress that seems too small

4-Confidence with a Dress you Deem Too Small

As I discussed in the opening, what we consider too small may not seem too small for others. Sometimes our perspective can be marred by much of our history. So the last idea is to wear the dress you feel is too small with confidence. Maybe add some fun accessories and rock it (as the young kids say).

What I added was a wide belt (thrifted), fun sandals (which I made into a velcro closure), and a men’s hat (borrowed from my hubby).

Trust me, this confidence thing is harder than it may seem. You feel so self-conscious when you wear something you’re not used to wearing. I know this just as well as you do.
You see, I am a recovering conservative-styled dentist. Seriously, you may not realize that when you alight on this site, but my closet has done a 180 since I started this blog. Does that make me a better person? OF COURSE NOT!! But I truly believe that our style should evolve and show off our personality.

THE OTHER THING I’D LOVE TO POINT OUT is trying to embrace our bodies. I bring this up only because one of my friends said to me “you have a great body, you should show it off”. YET we all have great bodies. I know it’s slow, but I think the tide is turning to realize that ALL sizes are wonderful.
Remember my Perfectly Imperfect post? I hope you’ll read it again (I try to reread it every quarter) because I still wonder who decided that one size is the right size!!

Hacks when your dress is too small

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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