Professional Dress on a Budget: One sheath dress, four ways

One of the most frequent comments I hear as a stylist during my complimentary consultation is, "I don't have money for a whole new wardrobe". And my response, "You don't need an entire new wardrobe, just a few key pieces and some imagination". That is what I'm going to share with you today; how to take items already in your wardrobe and create 4 distinct outfits that you love. Once you learn and master these tricks, creating fab looks on a budget will be effortless. Ready? Let's go!

The first look is an update on a traditional look: a sheath dress and a blazer. If you're like any one of the professional women that I work with, you have a plethora of black, tan or navy blazers and/or business suits to choose from. So why not pair the suit jacket with a colorful dress for an update? Add a sassy necklace and a great pair of pumps to the mix and you are ready for business and brunch meeting. If you're REALLY daring, purchase a printed or colorful blazer...go ahead...I dare ya!

Next, we have one of my favorite looks, a sheath dress with a wrap cardigan. This pairing is GREAT for my hour-glass and apple-shaped ladies who want to bring the eye upwards and accentuate a small waist. Use a heavier knit fabric or cashmere wrap sweater in the Fall/Winter and a light rayon-mix wrap sweater in the Spring and Summer months. Add a light necklace and small earrings to accentuate your bare decolletage (neck area and shoulder bone) and a statement ring and you're good to go.

One of my favorite things to pair a dress with is a cardigan. A good knit cardigan can cover a multitude of sins, whether it be flabby arms, not-so-narrow waist or just as a throw on for those cold days in the office. Purchase a good 3-4, including your obligatory black and switch them out with varying scarfs or jewelry. Cashmere is awesome for this time of year, but don't be afraid to purchase a few lighter knit fabrics and pair them with a long sleeve sheath dress. Layering is key for the Fall.

The last look is my fave. Perfect for those of you who have to go from work to dinner with a client, or your significant other. Class up the look with some bold jewelry and an investment bag and you are good to go. Remember to go a little heavier on the eye makeup as you're leaving the office. Takes you right from day-to-night, all in a smudge of eye shadow on the lid ;-)

So, as you can see, we took the same dress and gave you 4 different looks with 4 different feels. It wasn't that hard right? Just a little imagination and creativity and you have looks that can carry you through the entire year!

As you look for more tips and tricks to creating a wardrobe you love on a budget, please check out this FREE podcast I did with my amazing business coach, Kimberly Pitts of UIMPACT, on how presentation and professional dress can increase your revenue. You can listen to it here.

Well loves, spend this weekend putting a few of these looks together and tag me on Instagram @IamDionneDean to show me how your look came together. Can't wait to see what fabulous looks you come up with!


Dionne Dean