Dress Styling Options

Various solid color separates in the wardrobe allow us to style prints or statement pieces differently. A variety of accessories and basic neutrals mean I can always find something to wear from what I already own. I am never successful when I have to go “emergency” shopping for an event.

I wore this print dress when we enjoyed Sunday brunch in the Blue Ridge Room at the Omni Grove Park Inn. There are numerous other ways to style it, but I wanted to give you examples of two other options. From brunch to business to the beach, a dress can fill many needs.

The other items shown are more than a year old. A similar belt is here. The black satchel is now on sale here. My skincare routine is here. The lip color I’m wearing in these photos is Orchid here.

I often get asked how I decide to wear nude shoes over other colors. The more skin exposed, the more important nude shoes become. If you want to elongate your legs, nude shoes and hose (or bare legs) will do the trick. Every horizontal line you add will make you look shorter and broader. Horizontal lines can come from the clothing layers and designs but also darker, heavier shoes and belts.

After avoiding dresses for more than a decade, I now embrace the midi-length for versatility and comfort in hot, humid weather.

Passers-by stopped to snap this photo for us. Sunday was Mr. Mickey’s birthday, so I treated him to his favorite champagne brunch. The Sunday Brunch at the Omni Grove Park Inn just reopened a couple of weeks ago.

A navy blazer over a chambray shirt and tan slacks is a favorite combo for Mr. Mickey when the dress code calls for “Resort Casual.”

Shopping links sometimes allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. A summary of recent outfits is here.

  1. I am not sure I am ready to embrace the short sleeve midi dress look for me just yet, but you certainly are rocking the look.

  2. You look beautiful, elegant and dignified! Very becoming look!
    Thank you for the encouragement to try different things, it’s a challenge sometimes, because we’re not sure how to make new things in our closet work.
    You continue to teach us how versatile our garments can be!

  3. I enjoy wearing dresses in the summer for the some of the same reasons you mentioned. Dresses are much cooler and I can have a little fun with prints. You look happy in all the photos of you and Mr. Mickey. Isn’t love grand!

  4. This is a good look for you Susan and perfect for warm weather. Belated happy birthday to Mr Mickey who looks very dapper!
    You are right, tbe “emergency” purchases most often turm out to be losers. Haven’t done that for a very long time. With age comes wisdom.

  5. I bought this dress too! I love how you show the different ways to style it. Looking forward to wearing it many times this summer.

  6. Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey! You are a good looking couple. Susan you look marvelous in a dress. Thanks for the styling options.
    How do you decide how long the strap should be on the cross body bag?

  7. I love that dress AND the sleeves that are a tad longer! Thank you for the examples. I always find them so helpful. Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey!

  8. Love your dress and the way you style it. I am a big fan of dresses in the hot weather. Even simple Tshirt dresses around the house and yard are much cooler than shorts and Tshirts. When I make a run to the grocery store or an errand, its one and done. Slip on some sandals and I’m ready to go!

  9. That dress with the accessories looks very chic. I particularly like the look of the nude shoes you chose to wear with the dress! Perfect. You are a very chic couple…I’m sure you’ve been told. Hope Mr. Mickey had a great birthday!

  10. I love this dress on you, Susan! It’s lovely in each way you’ve styled it. I really can’t even pick a favorite since each look is different but equally gorgeous.

    Mr. Mickey looks great too, and I agree about about his ‘resort casual’ style choice—totally classic at any age. My son started wearing this combination as a pre-teen and it remains a much used style in his wardrobe as a grad student. As a matter of fact, it was pretty much a go-to for all the young men in his Catholic high school and university for award ceremonies, the theater, symphony, etc.

    I’m thrilled to hear that the birthday festivities were a great success. You are such an active couple, always out on the town or taking road trips. It seems like you both enjoy retirement to the fullest, as well you should!

    A quick question about my Beautycounter lipstick… I did order the plum and received it today. I love the color but I’m finding it a bit drying to my lips and it doesn’t apply evenly for me. My lips are a bit dry anyway, so I tried applying a lip balm as a base, which helped with the dryness but made the uneven application more noticeable. Have you ever experienced this, and if so, do you have tips for a nice, even application?

    Thank you so much,


    1. Skincare is always a priority for me. I use sugar and honey to gently exfoliate my lips a couple of times per week or as needed. I also use the Lip Conditioner in Peppermint often. These tips keep my lips smooth and soft. I start by using a lip pencil to line and fill in the shape of the lip fully. During the day, I add lip color when my lips feel dry. Blotting and layering allow the color to last longer.

  11. I’m curious to know what undergarments you choose for dresses. I always feel the need for a slip but maybe I’m overdoing it?

  12. Great example to remain openminded with our wardrobe options. So easy to get stuck in a rut as we age. Sharing what works for you and the mindset behind it has been helpful. You always look so stylish and age appropriate which is not easily accomplished!

  13. Love the dress and love the Omni Grove Inn! I agree with you on wearing nude shoes with dresses and skirts and usually follow that style !

  14. Susan, you look beautiful in dresses! I love feminine dresses and have continued to wear them through my 50’s even though my legs aren’t my best feature. I appreciate your helpful styling tips and tricks so much.

  15. What a handsome couple you and Mr Mickey make!
    Both of you are impeccably dressed! Thanks so much for sharing your fashion style and tips!

  16. You and Mr. Mickey are a beautiful couple. Thank you for your inspiration. I’m so glad you have each other.

  17. I absolutely love the nude shoes you wear. I don’t have any nude shoes but need to purchase a pair now that I see how great they look with so many things. I always try to match my shoes to my outfit but now see that I don’t need to do that. Great dress.

  18. You and Mr Mickey are so great together. I love your outfits, ideas, and beautiful pictures

  19. Oh…how I love the Grove Park Inn!!! Fond memories as my husband and I were married on the Sunset Terrace!!! You both look amazing…happy & healthy!! ❤️❤️

  20. I have a tip for you. I have found the newer moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics originating in golf shirts and the like are now readily available in many woman’s sportswear, including casual and dressy slacks and tops. No more 100% cotton for me. Cotton used to be the best to wear in hot humid climates, but the new moisture wicking synthetic fabrics stretch, breath and cool you. You should consider switching to them over cotton jeans and such, which is hotter, heavier, tends to wrinkles and also needs ironing.

  21. You look lovely in that dress. The brunch menu looks scrumptious. I tend to over indulge at buffets and I’m sure you don’t! Do you choose tiny portions and only healthy items? Thank you for sharing.

  22. Hi Susan, you always look delightful in dresses , Mr Micky as alway immaculately dapper.
    Take care Pamela from Wales U.K. x

  23. Your mention of emergency shopping reminds me of a dress I have. It’s still hanging in my closet and worn once for a wedding. I like the dress but my lifestyle is more casual to get any use out of it. Your example is perfect to get use out of a nice dress and changing it up for different occasions.
    Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey who is looking sharp. Your a very good looking couple.

  24. I have been eyeing this dress. May I ask what size that you bought ? Talbots has changed their sizing lately.

  25. Thank you, and Happy Birthday to Mr Mickey! ❤️I’m new to your blogs and I appreciate each and every one of them!

  26. Susan,

    Thank you for making my morning. You are the most stylish woman I have encountered in years. I so look forward to your emails. You always give my day a lift. I send you warmest wishes.

  27. Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey… You both look so stylish! Love all the pictures you share…..

  28. Hi Susan
    I’m interested in the belt. It’s difficult to find cool belts. the one you’re wearing looks great.
    Did you take the tie belt off the Talbots dress? It looks as though it is attached.
    Another good post. I too have looked more for dresses recently.
    Another Susan

    1. I bought that navy and silver hook belt at Chico’s about five years ago. The self-belt was threaded through those little string loops they often add to dresses. I cut them off and kept the tie belt. I won’t likely wear it in the future since it makes the waistline look thicker. I prefer a “real” belt if I add one.

  29. Another pretty outfit! I do remember when you didn’t embrace dresses — you look beautiful in this dress. Happy Birthday to Mr. Mickey.

  30. Happy Birthday to Mickey!

    You look so good in your dresses.
    I too have avoided dresses, but for most of my life! My weight loss is now 11 pounds and it has made all the difference in what I feel comfortable in. It finally feels great to put on a dress for any reason I can think of without being embarrassed! It opened up my wardrobe choices and I am having fun. Being short, my best choices are just above the knee or maxi. I need some toning now, but walking is finally enjoyable and after seeing results motivating!
    Calorie counting for my weight loss was my answer.

  31. I cannot believe how versatile that dress is! Never would I have been able to give it three such different and beautiful looks. Thanks so much for this, because I love dresses also. And it’s on sale!

    Beautiful you and handsome, debonaire Mr. Mickey are such a great-looking couple.

  32. I got this dress myself at Talbot’s a couple of months ago and am wearing it like crazy! I found the print so versatile, I got the pants too…

  33. Beautiful dress. You look lovely. Currently in my closet, hangs my wedding dress from 2002 (second wedding) and a black skirt. Being plus size, I normally steer away from dresses. But, I’m going to the gym, losing weight and have rekindled an interest in dresses. You’ve inspired me more with this article. Keep the inspirations coming! Thank you

  34. Happy birthday to Mr. Mickey! You are a very handsome couple and you always make me smile! Thank you for sharing your style expertise and lives with all of us.

  35. I love your style! You look so nice in all the outfits you show us. I’m new to your blog & am so glad I found it. You’re really inspiring me! I look forward to new posts. You & Mr. Mickey make a great couple, he’s an equally fine dresser! Thanks!

  36. I have to try dresses again.( I have avoided them for many years )
    I love your picture in the park.
    You look happy and very elegant.

  37. You all make a Very attractive couple. Happy belated birthday to Mr. Mickey. Enjoy your blog & you have given me many ideas. Thank you

  38. I appreciate your suggestions especially when you explain your reasoning. I am befuddled now though and need your help. I am attending a summer wedding – 5 PM – and need to choose a dress. Unlike you, I have longer legs , small bust, and a troublesome middle. ( thick waist) do I need to cover less than athletic upper arms? And, I’ll
    Need a wrap as evenings are cool in Colorado. Befuddled (PS. I am 71 – 5’ 6”)

    1. Look for an empire waist or A-line dress with 3/4 sleeves. Fabric will make all the difference between elegant and upscale casual. The higher waistline will focus on the most narrow part of your torso while the rest of the dress skims over your middle. Here is one example, but there are other similar styles and evening wraps on the same site.

  39. Read all your blogs and have been for a while— have to travel to Va and NC soon and will be learning from your versatility in combining outfits to pack more lightly — may be visiting some of your favorite spots and will keep an eye out for you and Mr Mickey — I’m grateful for all your wonderful advice— thank you

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.