Tuesday, August 22, 2017

How to Make a '90s Dress Feel Fresh

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Whenever I go back to my mom's I have a tendency to raid the closets in search of something long forgotten in need of a new life. After nearly a decade of doing this, the pickins' are pretty slim, but every now and then, something surfaces that I can see has potential. A jewelry bag filled with my old band pins, a cool knit hat... those type of things, and more recently, this button up rayon dress of my mother's that she wore in - I'm guessing - the early '90s.

On the hanger, it's pretty dowdy and shapeless (the brand, appropriately is "Puddin' Shop", which makes me cringe just typing it). But along with the cheesy brand name and square silhouette, I also saw potential: a v-neck that would sit low on my chest, functional buttons up the front, sleeves that fell just right, and most importantly, a self-tie waist. Turns out, this dowdy dress was pretty easy to style in a more current fashion, and it's quickly become one of my favorites this summer (I wore it home recently, where my mother exclaimed, "is that my dress? Huh... I guess I was pretty stylish", uh yeah mom, why do you think I've been stealing your old clothes since middle school?).

If you find yourself at a thrift store with a similar dress in hand (or hey, at the back of your own mother's closet), a few tips for styling it up just right:
  • Unbutton those buttons. A full button placket allows you to make the neckline lower and the slit higher. I love the contrast between a fairly modest dress and showing lots of skin. Bonus: it'll keep you cool on these last hot days of the summer.
  • Use the self-tie or make your own. A self-tie waist lets you add shape to an otherwise shapeless dress, a silhouette that the late '80s and early '90s loved for some reason. I like self-ties over belts, which to me can feel too rigid, but you do you.
  • Add the right accessories. Chunky jewelry, the peek of a black bra, a bag that feels current. 
Of course, maxi dresses will always be in style. If I'm working from home and want to feel dressed without the effort, my go-to formula will always be maxi dress (loving these) + lace-up sandals (like these) + silver jewelry (forever a favorite). It always makes me feel done, without feeling too done up.

FYI - For three days only, save an extra 20% off select sale items from ShopBop!  Offer valid through 11:59pm est on Aug. 24th. Restrictions apply.


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