Business Casual Superstar: Styling a Dress as a Tunic

by HumaR | August 5th, 2010   

By Huma Rashid

Is it just me or are dresses getting shorter and shorter? It’s not just me. Remember the good old days, about 3-5 years ago, when all the supermodels and actresses were wearing dresses 5″ above the knee and it was super racy and scandalous? Those standards seem downright Puritan right about now.

And if you’re like me, you love dresses, but you don’t want to prance around in something that invites the rest of the world to be your gynecologist. That’s not empowerment; that’s cheap. Aside from the medical exam thing, you don’t want to be responsible for the rise in men’s accident rates, per MSNBC.

I used to get really frustrated when I saw the cutest dress and then realized…that was only half of it. And then realized, no, that was the whole thing! It hadn’t somehow been torn in half before being put up on the rack – that was the whole darn thing! And since there was no way I’d be caught dead in a dress that short, I’d put it back and mosey on over to Burqas ‘R’ Us, where they sell pencil skirts and knee-length dresses.

But after a while, I was just sick of having to pass up on adorable dresses because I didn’t want to look trashy, and like I was wearing a shirt. I decided that I was going to embrace the shirt-like nature of a lot of those adorable dresses by styling them as shirts.

And that’s what I’ve done below, with a super cute little number from ModCloth that simply HAS to have been mislabeled as a dress. Because, come on.

ww27 Business Casual Superstar: Styling a Dress as a TunicParis Blues Skinny Jeans ………. $15
Great New Lace Dress ………. $47.99
Leaf Cardigan in Beige Heather ………. $23.99
Zipper Trim Flat ………. $9.99

Let’s talk about what I did. I found this adorable lace dress and, after I was done trying to find the rest of it, decided to pair it with skinny jeans. Skinny black pants would also work wonderfully, it’s up to you, not to mention your office dress code.

I found this cardigan at Kohl’s with a pretty leaf motif in red and green. Leaf motifs are popping up everywhere, and I don’t mind them at all. Plus, this cardigan has banded sleeves and a banded bottom, making it good for skirts and dresses, which is what this lace shirt claims to be, so it’ll be just fine. Yes, they’re not technically worn with pants, but you can make it work with the longer tunic underneath, even though the cardigan has its own shape.

For flats, I wanted something in a nice, pretty, vibrant red to tie into the sweater and pull this whole thing together. (Remember, I usually add sweaters or blazers to sleeveless tops because it’s the office and your dress code may very well not allow for sleeveless tops.) These flats were not my first choice by any means, but were the only ones that fit my budget and didn’t look completely terrible. Again, I’d go with really cute bright red ones, but I’d probably lose the zipper and go with more of a rounded toe, although a pointy toe would elongate the legs. Again, it’s up to you.

And that’s how I might go about styling one of my cute, alleged dresses into the shirt it actually is.


I love using dresses as shirts! They are getting shorter and shorter but paired with a really thick pair of sweater tights or skinny jeans, they do make cute shirts!