One Dress Four Ways


Tips on how to style one dress four ways for spring and summer to have the dress great for work, weekend, weddings, and beyond by Wardrobe Oxygen

Spring and summer is dress season.  Without having to worry about staying warm and covered up, dresses are a great one-piece way to be ready for work, weddings, weekends, and beyond.  I love a ponte or other refined knit dress with a subtle fit and flare or a-line shape because it's so darn versatile.  I always have one in my wardrobe because it's the perfect spring go-to for so many situations.  I recently received this dress from Talbots and thought it a great time to show how one dress can be styled four ways for four very different situations.

Styling one dress four ways featuring a pink knit fit and flare dress from Talbots with a Soma denim jacket and Nike Blazer low top sneakers in black

Dress: Edie Knit Fit and Flare Dress c/o Talbots (LP) | Jacket: Style Essentials Stretch Denim Jacket c/o Soma (L) | Silk Bandana: Rebecca Minkoff (old; similar) | Sneakers: Nike 

This is a spring running around town uniform for me.  Knit dress with pockets, denim jacket with pockets, comfortable shoes, and an accessory to pull it together.  Throw some Skimmies under the dress and you're covered for both chub rub as well as a visit to the playground after school.

Styling one dress four ways featuring a pink knit fit and flare dress from Talbots with a pearl statement necklace from Stella and Dot and an ivory Loeffler Randall tab clutch purse

Earrings: cabi (old; similar) | Necklace: Stella & Dot (old; similar) | Bag: Loeffler Randall (old; found it on eBay, similar) | Shoes: Nine West

For a day wedding, a shower, a house of worship, and more you can easily glam up a dress like this with the right accessories.  Nude-to-you shoes give a spring vibe and look dressy.  Pearls are always a great choice especially for spring.  Add a rosy lipstick with a bit of shine to complete the look.

Styling one dress four ways featuring a pink knit fit and flare dress from Talbots with a black bi-stretch blazer from Ann Taylor for a work outfit

Blazer: Bi-Stretch One Button Blazer c/o Ann Taylor (14 Petite; previously seen here and here) | Shoes: Nine West

Such a dress can also work for the office.  A fit and flare style works well with a one-button blazer since they both nip in at the waist.  It doesn't have to just be a blazer; such a dress looks great with a cardigan, a moto-inspired jacket, and depending on the dress and your shape, with shorter collarless Chanel-inspired jackets.  I also find this silhouette of dress looks great with flats.

Styling one dress four ways featuring a pink knit fit and flare dress from Talbots with a Roberta Roller Rabbit floral cotton tote, white EVA BIrkenstock Arizona sandals and a straw Panama hat from Banana Republic

Hat: Banana Republic (similar) | Bag: Roberta Roller Rabbit c/o SkinMedica (Etsy alternative) | Shoes: Birkenstock | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

This kind of dress transitions great into summer, and I love them for beach weekends.  Throw on with sandals or flip-flops for easy dressing for lunch or heading to the beach.  While I wouldn't take the same dress I wear to work to the beach, you can look for a lower-priced alternative or give well-worn dresses in your closet a new life with this role.

styling one dress four ways

To be honest, I found this dress to be more casual of a fabric and fit than I expected based on the website photos and description.  I consider it more of a heavier weight jersey than a ponte or other refined knit.  However, I chose to use it to show the versatility and how you don't have to stick to black or navy to achieve such versatility.  Also I love that this dress is available in Misses, Petite, Plus, and Plus Petite and also comes in black.  It's also machine washable and dryable.

This concept of dress can be found at most every price point and in most every size.  I've search the internet to find a variety of colors and styles and have them in the carousel below.  If you are reading via email or RSS you will need to visit the site to see them.  I've set it to show the price; click the image of a dress to visit the site and learn more:

Shop Knit Fit and Flare Dresses:

Shopping Tips

  • Solids are more versatile than prints.  A solid can dress up and down more easily, plus it is less memorable.  Also, solids usually can look more expensive than a print.
  • Choose a heavyweight knit.  Look for terms like scuba and ponte, which are used for a dense, heavyweight knit that will help the dress shape better and not cling.  A heavyweight knit that is tightly woven (not sweatshirt or sweater material, something more dense) also looks more polished and can better fit in a dressy or business situation.  If you live in a warm climate or wish to have a lighter-weight fabric, look for matte jersey as it's equally versatile and doesn't cling.
  • Minimize details.  As with prints, details will be more memorable and make the dress less versatile.  Also, details can age a dress making it look dated after a season.  Watch out for cut outs, embellished necklines or hems, mixed media (part of the dress knit, another part a different fabric), and superfluous buttons or zippers.  
  • Keep it classic.  Sleeveless to elbow length sleeves, a round or soft v-neck at a height that is comfortable for you, a covered back, and clean lines will make this a dress that is truly versatile, timeless, and easier to dress up and down.
  • Find a dress that hits right above, right in the middle, or right below the knee.  Any shorter or longer and it won't be as versatile.  As for where exactly it hits around the knee, that is up to you and your comfort level.  If you find a midi dress that is otherwise perfect, a tailor or even your dry cleaner can easily shorten it to the perfect length for your body.  For an unlined knit dress, the cost shouldn't be exorbitant. 

Shop the Looks:


  1. RoseAG
    April 9, 2019 / 6:36 am

    No ironing!

    The length can make the dress hard to find. A lot of them are mid-thigh. This one is a good length, sometimes a web site will have a Tall size and that will have a better length for someone who wants to be able to bend over without exposing her skimmies.

  2. Tala
    April 8, 2019 / 8:35 pm

    Great post. Really impressed how well you styled the dress. It is hard to make the same dress go from beach-y to dressed up. All 4 look great, but I love the version with the little scarf and black tennis.

  3. Alison
    April 8, 2019 / 5:34 pm

    Very helpful post! Thank you!

  4. Bette
    April 8, 2019 / 5:27 pm

    I love your use of the phrase “nude to you” for your shoes — and since you mentioned Skimmies, I’ll give a shout-out to their wonderful range of skin-tone offerings.

  5. Lisa Talbot
    April 8, 2019 / 2:32 pm

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! Gorgeous!!!!!!! I’m so excited to try this with the nude heels and necklace 🙂

  6. JMS
    April 8, 2019 / 12:02 pm

    Love that color on you!

  7. April 8, 2019 / 10:46 am

    Okay, you convinced me! You look super cute anyway you style this dress so I’m going to give it a go. I have ordered the red dress with frill sleeves from City Chic which should arrive just in time for a family birthday in the country side. I’ll let you know how it turns out 😀

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