Dave surprised me with a trip to Sonoma last week to celebrate our 7 year anniversary, and saying I was excited but panicked at the surprise would be a huge understatement. I’m not a fan of surprises, especially surprise vacations, since I like to have time to pack for what’s in store! With only thirty minutes to plan outfits for exploring wineries and hanging by the pool, I threw a few things into a bag, including this dress I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to keep or return. 

Loose, flowy dresses aren’t usually my style but Dave really liked the print, so instead of immediately sending it back, I decided to challenge myself to make it work by giving it a slight modification. My favorite revamp? Adding a belt and changing-up the silhouette.

The trick is so simple, but often forgotten because we usually think of wearing belts with pieces that have built-in belt loops. But cinching the waist of a looser dress like this one can instantly change the silhouette, adding structure and femininity to what could otherwise be a boring shape outside of your style esthetic.

I ended-up wearing it both with and without the belt later in the day and the shape grew on me! The print of this dress along with the slightly off-the-shoulder top (a major trend this summer), won me over, and I loved having the versatility. While I usually opt to cinch right at my natural waistline, I recommend experimenting with placement where you’re most comfortable. A lower placement can give the illusion of a drop waist (a great option if you have a straight up-and-down body type) and a higher placement will give you more of an A-line silhouette – my personal favorite for my own pear shape. For a more corseted look, try layering two belts, which instantly adds some edge to any dress.

Bottom line: if you don’t have a collection of great belts, now’s the time to add a few to your closet!

How To Give A Boring Dress New Life How To Give A Boring Dress New Life


Dress: Caslon (wearing 1X), here in XS-XL

Shaping Shorts: Spanx (wearing XL), plus size here

Shoes: old Sam Edelman, great option here + wide here

Belt: Old Navy

Bag: Cult Gaia

Earrings: Cristabelle

Sunglasses: Celine, similar here under $6

Lipstick: MAC Neon Orange