back to top

10 Ways To Wear Your Special Occasion Stuff For Non-Special Occasions

Your social life doesn't need to resemble Olivia Palermo's in order for you to get maximum mileage out of your cocktail dresses. Here's how to dress them down.

Posted on

Got cocktail dresses gathering dust in the back of your closet? Your most expensive stuff shouldn't be reserved for weddings only. Try dressing those pieces down with these tricks.

1. Put a Boot on It

You’ve heard it before: Shoes can make or break an outfit. They can also determine its level of dressiness. Putting a boot of any kind with a dress automatically toughens it and makes it more daytime.

2. Leather Love

Add edge to a frilly frock with a leather or denim jacket. Cropped styles work best with most dresses to make your look more casual but also more fashion forward.

Dress: Pyramid Collection $89.95

Jacket: The Great Social $249.95

Shoes: Madison Harding $189.00


3. Turtle Power

We've seen turtlenecks of every shape, color and style on the runways lately. They're not as useless and dated as they seem — try layering one underneath a shift dress to make it daytime appropriate.

4. Don't Do Your 'Do

Your hair and makeup have a huge effect on how polished you look. So if you want to wear your dressy things to a casual brunch or something, try a messy topknot, ponytail or side braid. Or just leave it down and wavy.

Dress: Tibi $355.00

Turtleneck: Etsy $21.00

Shoes: Aldo $40.00

Watch: Aeropostale $14.75

5. Cover Up

Throw a chunky sweater on top of a dress to turn it into a skirt. Contrast — between a casual top and dressy bottom, for instance — always adds style to a look.

6.Non-Sparkly Jewelry

Jewelry can dress up an outfit in a big way, but some jewelry has the opposite effect. Try a chunky watch or casual materials like brass, leather or galvanized metal to make a look less pristine.

Dress: Karen Millen $240.00

Sweater: Oasis $48.00

Boots: Vince Camuto $109.99

Necklace: Butterfly by Matthew Williamson $12.00

7.Flatten It Out

Again, it’s all about the shoes. Kick off those heels in favor of flats and you’re ready for brunching instead of cocktailing. (Unless, of course, we’re talking Bloody Marys, but the outfit still holds.)

Dress: Ted Baker $365.00

Sandals: L'estrosa Abelie $96

Necklace: Ben Amun $245.00

Bracelet: Alkemie $143.00

8. Belt It

A belt can actually dress down a dress a lot. Try something wide in brown or black leather for some necessary roughness.

9.Hats On

With the exception of, like, the papal tiara, most hats are casual by nature. So top off your look with a fedora or floppy hat.

Dress: Alice & Olivia $297.00

Sweater: Vila $86.00

Boots: Zara $49.90

Belt: ADA $40

Hat: Forever 21