Expanding Your Travel Wardrobe: Dresses with Skirts

What?? You may be thinking. Wear a dress with a skirt? That sounds ridiculous! I thought so too, until a night a couple of years ago. I was at my favorite wine bar with a group of friends. One of my girlfriends had on a super cute gray sweater tucked into a black skirt. “How did you get that to tuck in so nicely?” I asked. She motioned me closer. “It’s a dress!” she whispered, and pulled up the bottom of her black skirt a little to show me the bottom of the gray sweater dress. Brilliant! Another way to use the same items in different ways, especially in packing.

So. How does it work? Sometimes it’s as easy as, 1) put on dress; 2) add skirt; 3) leave the house. Other times, not so much. There are a few things to look for when combining dresses and skirts for the most successful union.

  1. Different types of material. It helps the dress and skirt not cling if they are different materials, for example sweater and cotton, or silk and wool.
  2. Different silhouettes. The dress needs to have a more fitted line, where the skirt needs to be a little wider. Think a pencil dress with an A-line skirt. This way the skirt will lay more nicely. For example, this sweater dress from Banana Republic with this circle skirt from Ruche.
  3.  Lengths. Obviously the skirt needs to be longer than the dress. It also helps if the skirt has a bit of structure, like this wool skirt from JCrew.

One typical reaction from people when I’ve extolled the wonders of dress+skirt is that they’re worried it will be too warm. That is totally valid–this is definitely more appropriate for colder months. But the benefits? You can pack fewer things and have more outfits! My favorite look is my super comfy gray sweater dress with a maroon A-line skirt. I’ll wear the dress with tights and boots one day, and then with the skirt and flats another day. Less to carry, more to wear? Win!!

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