Turning Summer Dresses into Winter Skirts

Turning Summer Dresses into Winter Skirts

It’s summertime in New York and I’m on holiday, but such is my devotion dear readers, that I am writing you this blog post from my bed in Park Slope.  Today is the day for an important post – one that will hopefully inspire you to expand your wardrobe exponentially this winter without buying a ton more clothes.

This all came about because I was confused. Confused as to why I, one Megan Blenkarne of Wellington, had purchased a number of sleeveless dresses when I live in Wellington.  It’s summer for approximately 8-12 weeks (depending on the year, it may be even shorter) and the rest of the time it’s too cold for this wuss to have bare arms. I needed a solution, post haste, and after a bit of quick thinking I came up with this.

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It’s not rocket science: it’s wearing a jumper over a dress.  It’s genius because (with some care) it makes basically every dress in your wardrobe into a skirt that you can then wear with boots and woollen tights and enjoy allllll winter long.  See?  Expanded exponentially.

You’ve quite possibly worn a jumper over a dress before, but here are my tips that will ensure it looks fun and cosy instead of “I threw this on to feed the chickens”. 

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First up, the jumper itself is key.  I wanted to acquire the absolute minimum number of jumpers to make this work so I bought one black one.  It has a high neckline, to hide all dress necklines.  It also has – and this is important – no waistband at the bottom.  It doesn’t change tension.  This is important because it stops the jumper from bagging up weirdly, and it ensures you’re your second step is a winner.  It needs to hit you across the hip line (below your natural waist) but above the pubic bone (this is approx., since all bodies are different).  You may have to search for two winters to find an option, I am sorry but also join the club.  

If you’re fuller busted than me then you may find this super high necked silhouette a bit imposing on you (because the line between line and shoulder is longer between waist and shoulder, due to the line of the bust).  Honestly, feel free to lean into it with scarves or jewellery to break up the lines, but if you aren’t feeling it then a simple cross front jumper will doing a super job with your figure (although won’t create the same “skirt from a dress” illusion). 

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For our second act, we belt it.  Get a belt that fits your waist comfortably without too much excess, and belt it at your natural waist (the beauty of this is that you can redefine your waist line if the dress is slightly off).  Looking at these pictures I think I should have belted this slightly tighter, but you get the gist!  This is key to the illusion, because after belting you will front tuck (only the front) your jumper, thus fooling others into believing you have tucked your jumper into a skirt waistband.  Mwahahahaha! Genius.

And here’s why it’s genius – comfort.  Tucking a chunky jumper into a waistband of a skirt makes that skirt feel smaller and tighter, and I am just not interested in feeling uncomfortable in my clothes when it’s already uncomfortable being out and about thanks to the cold and rain (and wind).  You can of course also pull this off with real skirts – tuck that jumper into the belt there too! Also, I’ve just realised this would totally work with a jumpsuit too - hurrah!

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To finish this off, I decided to do a classic winter trick and add interest with accessories – in this case, cowboy boots and a Perspex clutch.  I feel like we all get hermit-y and boring in winter, because there’s water everywhere all the time and all we want is to be cosy.  However, fight that feeling, because never do you need a glittery “Feeling Lucky” clutch and some silly boots more than the depths of August when it feels like it’s always dark outside.  Your feet and legs will still be warm, and your possessions will still be dry, but you won’t feel like you’re consigned to wearing the same three skirts over and over with a rain poncho from the $2 shop – well worth a bit of effort.

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This dress and these boots were from a costume shop closing down sale (the dress is silk, and had been inserted with a modesty slip on the back, suggesting it was being worn back to front; the boots are leather and the best $20 I’ve ever spent on shoes). 

The clutch is from Orla Kiely and plays a dual role as home décor.

The jumper is from Cotton On via The Iconic.  I searched for TWO YEARS, you guys.  Sometimes you just buy the item that shows up and you promise to look after it (and hope it doesn’t turn to crap).