Styling Dresses Into Skirts

by Oddlilbean

I'm going to be honest here and admit I have more dresses than I want to admit. I'm not quite in the three digit range, but it's certainly getting close. Since I basically thrift my entire wardrobe, with the exception of a few small business purchases, it's easy to justify when most of my dresses fall under the $10 mark, and I rarely throw anything away (this is a collection a decade in the making). That being said, the majority of my closet is dresses. I love the ease of a dress. You can just throw it on with a pair shoes and be out the door, or you can take your time and style it up with all the fixings and turn it into a completely new outfit every time. Everyone has their vices. Dresses are mine.

Because of my dress-heavy closet, I often end up using dresses as skirts by throwing a top over them. The first time I had this epiphany it was amazing because it opened up my wardrobe to hundreds more styling options without spending a dime, especially for things like pattern mixing or layering (if you're into that sort of thing)! So, in this post I'm just going to walk through a couple looks I put together using this styling trick to hopefully deliver some style inspiration!

This is the look that started it all! My mom gifted me this beautiful hand-beaded crop top by a friend of hers (which you can find here), but I was struggling on how to style it since it is a crop top, and I am an elementary school art teacher. I can't be showing off my stomach to seven-year-olds. At least that's what they taught me in the hour-long ethics seminar I had to attend for hiring, which could mostly be summed up into "DON'T TOUCH THE KIDS" repeated over and over and over again. Just got to use my handy dandy spray bottle to squirt water at all those pesky first graders trying to hug me.

But back on track. I ended up putting it over a dress and fooled everyone into thinking it was a skirt like the evil mastermind that I am. I was actually surprised by the amount of people who didn't realize it was a dress since you can see the waistline, but I guess it was more subtle than I realized. Originally, I planned to pair it with a black skirt/dress to keep the focus on the top, but it just wasn't giving it the fun vibe I wanted. With the dress I landed on, the pattern is so busy and predominately blue, so it lets the focus still be on the bolder top. And adding the blue earrings helps bring it all together!

Here's another look with the same principle in mind, a crop top thrown over a dress. In case you can't tell, I love to mix patterns, but I'll go more into that in a future post. I call this my "elephant outfit" because it combines all of my clothes and accessories with elephants. I'm not sure know how this happened. I'm not even a huge fan of elephants, and yet here we are, almost 28 years into my life rocking an "elephant outfit".

Everything here has been thrifted from either Goodwill or flea markets.

Sometimes it's also just comfortable to throw a soft shirt over a dress. It's nice not having to worry about cleavage or bra straps or whatever else we might have to worry about as a potential wardrobe malfunction. Since I work with kids, it is something I have to give more thought to than I would like, but it is what it is. With an outfit like this, I'm worry-free while feeling comfortable and cute.

The inspiration for this outfit was a dragon fruit. I felt just a little clever putting it together.

The dress here is vintage and from a thrift store back in Kansas City. The top comes from a store called Vintage to Vogue in Greensboro, NC. They no longer have this top available, but they have many other interesting vintage-inspired items!

Last but not least, look number four. Again, the idea is the same though this time it is a cardigan I buttoned all the way up to turn into a sweater. I also belted it at the hem to make the "transition" between top and skirt more seamless and look less like a cardigan thrown over a dress...which is what it is.

This outfit is also entirely thrifted from Goodwill and a flea market.

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3 of 5 comments
  • Bgray Bgray on Aug 14, 2021

    Love the dress/top combinations! I also have several dresses and have layered them with a top for a different look...mostly because I am always cold so need the extra layer for warmth, LOL. I have a couple maxi dresses that I like to layer with a shorter banded dress...the band holds in the fullness of the maxi dress just below my knees and gives the appearance of a tight ruffle. Fun ideas...thanks for sharing.

    • Oddlilbean Oddlilbean on Aug 16, 2021

      Oh, that's brilliant! I don't have too many maxis since most are too long for me (short girl problems), but I'm definitely going to have to try that as a solution. And also 100% yes to the extra layer of warmth :)

  • Michele Tatro Michele Tatro on Aug 14, 2022

    Girl, you are adorable AND unique!