How to Dress Up a Casual Dress

Posted by Shopthemint Team on

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There’s nothing like wearing a comfy, casual dress during the carefree days of summer! Styled with sneakers or flip flops, they make great bathing suit cover-ups and instant everyday outfits. While casual dresses are easy choices for more low key affairs, they’re often versatile enough to be appropriate for fancier occasions, too. The trick is all in how you style them!

From starting with the right foundation to completing the look with fashion accessories, here’s how to dress up a casual dress.

Step 1. Start with the Right Dress

You can’t begin to dress up a casual outfit unless you have a solid base that’s already equipped with the potential for a *glow up.* When shopping for casual dresses, pay special attention to fabric, color and fit.

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  • Fabrics that are thin, but not intentionally sheer, can sometimes come across as much more casual than others. Look for fabrics that offer full coverage -- one tip is to hold the dress up to the light to make sure that you can’t see right through it.
  • Rich, solid colors generally appear more elevated than super bright shades. Classic navy or black are great options for casual maxi dresses, as are muted prints like pastel tie-dye.
  • Find a size and length that fits you well and consider investing in some slight tailoring if you feel you need it. 

Comfort is also so important when picking out your casual dress! Find something you’ll feel confident in even if you wear it all day.

Step 2. Put Your Best Foot Forward

Once you have the dress, it’s time to decide on a pair of cute shoes to style with it! It’s easy to elevate a casual dress with some shoes that have pizzazz. While there’s certainly a time and place for flip flops and sneakers, it’s best to steer clear of these options if you’re trying to plan a dressier look.

  • Platform sandals are very comfortable but give off a much more elevated vibe than flip flops. Look for styles that have special details, like a fun print or glittery detail.
  • Classic pumps add elegance to a basic casual dress. Black is a go-to, but you could go with something colorful, also.
  • Booties offer just the right amount of rock star edginess to take a casual dress to the next level.

Step 3. Accessorize Wisely

Accessories are pretty magical -- all it takes sometimes is a pair of earrings or a sleek clutch to completely transform a look. This is totally the case with casual dresses. Elevated accessories can make that casual dress just as perfect a choice for a big night out.

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  • Statement earrings help draw attention to your pretty face, helping your overall outfit seem more elevated and fancy.
  • Wide brim hats are both cute and practical for daytime events, and they’re also a little bit unexpected (in a good way).
  • A sleek envelope clutch in glossy leather or shimmery silk can pull together any look.
  • Layered chain necklaces are super trendy right now and offer major street style vibes.

Step 4. Complete the Look

Once you have your outfit together, it’s time to complete the look. While a “messy bun” and unpolished nails can be totally appropriate for a casual ensemble, when you’re prepping for a dressier affair, a little extra time spent on getting glammed up can make a huge impact.

  • Try sleeker hairstyles like a chic chignon, a braided topknot or glossy waves. You can even upgrade your fancy updos with some dazzling hair accessories.
  • You don’t have to head out for a mani-pedi, but well-groomed nails can help elevate a look. Swipe a coat of understated polish for a little bit of shimmer or experiment with gems, tips or designs if you’d like!
  • Have fun with your makeup, whether it’s with some false lashes, super dewy skin, a bold lip or a little extra contour. If you’re looking for inspiration, the smokey eye look is a classic.

Paying attention to your hair, nails and makeup is key for an overall poised and polished look. It elevates your entire outfit, even if the dress itself is on the more casual side.

Dressed to Impress

Casual dresses are total closet staples that you can find at the Mint Julep Boutique. With the right accessories, you really can dress them up for fancier events. All it takes is some planning mixed with a little bit of creativity to make the most of a casual dress’s versatility.