Hat worn for fancy

Summer Style : How to Make a Casual Dress Look Fancy

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Get fancy with a t-shirt dress

Summer Style : How to Make a Casual Dress Look Fancy

The idea of how to make a casual dress look fancy is what the three of us tried to do with t-shirt dresses. Just because the material of a dress or any clothing is something you think of as fancy or casual, doesn’t mean you can’t wear it the other way. This is one of the concepts I have for shopping your closet and making your wardrobe work harder for you. It can be boiled down to 2 words: “stop categorizing.”

Quote of the day: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” Benjamin Disraeli

Other ideas:
Versatile Styling: How to Dress Up a Casual Dress
Interesting Variety with Your T-Shirt Dress Style

Lesley admits she even wore this t-shirt dress to her husband’s funeral only with a kimono over it. Therefore, for this example, she wanted to do something different. As she says, the look would be perfect for a high class afternoon summer wedding. And no one would know that it’s “just” a t-shirt dress.

Lesley and How to Make a Casual Dress Look Fancy

How to make a casual dress look fancy with a top over it

Dress: Old Navy~~ Top: Alfini~~ Shoes: Silhouettes~~ Earrings: ~~ Purse: The Sack~~Hat: Sonnie

The biggest secret to how to make a casual dress look fancy is to take the focus off the dress. You can do this with so many different focal points, but Lesley’s top and hat are two of the pieces that take the cake.

Related post: Another casual dress made to look fancier

By wearing an interesting top with a beautiful print and asymmetrical detail, Lesley has put all eyes on the top half of this outfit. Not that the bottom half isn’t good, but you don’t even recognize that this is a t-shirt dress.

Insider tip: Remember your dress can be more than just a dress. You can layer over it and under it in so many ways.

Some tops work easier for this trick of layering if they already have a hemline that isn’t just straight across. Of course you can always work magic with elastic bands too.

T-shirt dress for woman over seventy


Even though I wore a hat with my t-shirt dress also, Lesley’s hat is definitely more of a fancy look. But even if you don’t have a fancy hat, don’t forget you can always tie a scarf around the brim to give it a dressier flair. Just like the way Lesley wore it here in the past.

Hats are really quite wonderful. If you haven’t embraced all they can do for an outfit, I recently wrote about that here. Or I also wrote a beginning guide to style a hat.
And don’t think you have to spend a lot of money on your hats. If you don’t find them at the thrift stores, there are many fabulous ones at the younger girl’s stores. Remember, stores don’t have age limits so you can visit any of them!

Insider tip: You can use hat tape to make any hat smaller. Don’t forget that hat tape can also be used to make a cuff bracelet fit better too (as seen here).

Upgraded Jewelry

As Lesley says the upgraded jewelry is a perfect way of how to make a casual dress look fancy. If you always just wear your small, stud earrings, they won’t be shown off as much or stand out.
Even though you might think that your gold or silver jewelry is fancier, don’t count out the colorful pieces that pull the outfit together. Your earrings are right next to your face and thus can get loads of attention.

How to make a casual dress look fancy with heels
Yellow heels and purse

Summer Shoes

This isn’t the first time Lesley has worn yellow shoes. In fact, the three of us styled them last year as an ode to summer. For those of you that think you would have nothing to wear them with, I beg you to think again. I really can’t think of a color they wouldn’t go with wonderfully.

Notice that Lesley is pulling the yellow out of the print of her top with the yellow shoes, purse and earrings. Yet the yellow in the top is very subtle, and without these accents of it in the rest of her outfit, you might not even notice it.

T-shirt dress and how to make a casual dress look fancy

Lesley even shared that this exact same t-shirt dress would be perfect for a casual lunch on a patio if paired with sneakers and a light sweater. That’s how you switch things up in your closet easily!

Would you have guessed where we took these photos? It’s at a hotel/restaurant in Scottsdale called Valley Ho. The entire vibe of the place is from the 50’s and 60’s and the food at the restaurant was wonderful.

How to make a casual dress look fancy

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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