Spring is here! The season of dresses and weddings and bright colors that would normally give us pause. I personally love dresses- they are easier to fit than pants and oh so much prettier. But when I took an inventory of my closet, I realized that there are really only two dresses I wear on a regular basis. I have a couple with tags still on (the horror!) and none of my party dresses have been worn more than twice. My skirts are really the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe, mixing with everything from sandals to riding boots to glittery stilettos.
In the midst of this season of the dress, Ann Taylor has done something truly magical- they have made a skirt that can play dress-up as a dress! Matching skirt and shirt separates have gotten a bad reputation due to a plethora of unflattering mother of the bride outfits, but these chic spring looks will garner nothing but compliments.
The key to a great separates outfit is to make sure the colors or patterns match, even if the fabric is slightly different. The outfit to the right has a lace top, but I paired it back to two skirts, one lace and one cotton. This gives you the opportunity to play the part of designer and decide what look works better for you.
When wearing a peplum ensemble, whether a dress or separates, I like to add a colored skinny belt at the horizontal line to add more definition, especially in an outfit that is a single color or pattern. You are in complete control over your outfit so take a moment and make it truly feel tailor-made to your body and preferences.
A separate skirt and shirt allow for a more tailored fit, especially if you have long legs and a short torso, or vice versa. Instead of paying extra for tailoring you can now buy your skirt in Tall and the top in Petites.
Instead of buying a dress only for special occasions, like that wedding you just got the save-the-date for, you can get use out of the pieces all season long. Pair the top back to denim, under your suiting or with other skirts in your closet. The skirt can be added to your work rotation (just add an oxford or shell and a cardigan!) and then take it out on the town for drinks on the patio.
Although peplum is a huge trend right now, there are options for anyone not willing to jump on the bandwagon. If you are not doing peplum, then your top should be tucked into your skirt, no exceptions. The main challenge is making sure that you avoid an awkward meeting of prints- when wearing separates it is impossible to have the patterns match up perfectly as they might in a real dress.
The two outfits to the right solve this problem by having a solid waistband, which creates a thin barrier between the pieces. The outfit to the left does not offer this, so I have paired it with a wide belt to cover the seam between the pieces.
The last and biggest benefit to being bold and wearing separates pieces instead of a dress? You won't have to worry about showing up to an event in the same outfit as someone else. As someone who showed up to junior prom wearing the same dress as a classmate, I can personally vouch for the awkwardness. Now you can not only be the best dressed, you can relish in the fact that you were the only one who wore it and that you'll get plenty of use out of the pieces for the rest of spring and summer!
What other events do you have to dress up for this spring and summer? Let me know in the comments!