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6 Ways to Turn a Work Dress into a Casual Dress

You’ve mastered the art of pairing dresses with sneakers. Now, it’s time to take it to the next level.

By Madeleine Kim

I’m not proud to admit this, but I have at least ten dresses sitting in my closet that I haven’t worn for over a year. A few are special-occasion dresses, but most are versatile work dresses—think the Rachel, the Marie, the Dylan—that used to be part of my regular rotation. My wardrobe has become much more casual since I began working from home last March, but for some reason, there are a few former office go-tos that I can’t bring myself to get rid of.

Keeping clothes I don’t wear feels wasteful, especially when I could be selling them on Second Act. But since I don’t want to part ways with my favorites, I needed to find ways to fit them into my current lifestyle. Luckily, a few small styling tricks can transform your work dresses into outfits fit for casual days at home, weekends, and beyond. Here are six new ways I’ll be styling my old office standbys.

Add a (Better Than) Denim Jacket

I’d argue that a Better Than Denim jacket is the quintessential Power Casual layer, because it both elevates casual pieces and dresses down formal styles. For instance, if you pair the Anna jacket with cashmere joggers, it elevates your whole ensemble. But wear it on top of a classic work dress, and you suddenly have a weekend-ready look.

Wear It with Sneakers

This one’s a no-brainer: Swapping formal shoes for sneakers instantly gives dresses a more casual vibe. The key to pulling this off is to choose a pair of sneakers that look polished and intentional. The M.M. x Koio collaboration sneakers feature clean lines that ensure you won’t look like you’re mid-commute. Pair them with the Marie dress and Claressa hoops for an outfit that can take you from brunch to errands to a stroll through the park (what a lovely weekend you’re having!).

Wear a T-shirt on Top

Want the ease of a dress and the relaxed vibe of a T-shirt? No problem—just wear both. Try the super-soft Leslie T-shirt over the stretchy Rachel dress for a comfortable, weekend-ready ensemble. This outfit has the look of separates, but wearing a dress in lieu of a skirt provides extra warmth (and versatility, should you find yourself in an unexpectedly dressy setting). Pull the outfit together with a unique belt, strappy sandals, and silver hoops.

Add an Oversized Sweater

Formalwear traditionally features tailored cuts that are closer to the body, so adding an oversized layer immediately creates a more casual (not to mention cozy) outfit. Create a relaxed-all-over look by wearing the luxurious Lea sweater over the James dress. Throw on some neutral flats, and you’re ready for a crisp fall afternoon.

Add a Sweatshirt

If you want to go even more casual, there’s nothing easier than a sweatshirt. But! To keep your outfit on the polished side of casual, it can’t be just any sweatshirt. The Athens half-zip has a sporty shape, but our sleek jardigan yarn keeps you looking totally put-together. Pair it with the matching Vincent dress for a streamlined, monochromatic moment.

Tie a Sweater Around Your Waist

It’s a small detail, but it makes a big difference. Tying a sweater around your waist creates an on-the-go, nonchalant, weekend-ready aesthetic. Try the slinky knit Dylan dress with the lightweight Chadwick sweater for an outfit that looks like you tried, but not too hard. Bonus: If you get chilly, just pull on the sweater and get cozy.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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