For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Styling a Shapeless Dress.

Fake Fabulous | Styling a shapeless dress.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I buy things (dresses especially) after falling in love with the idea of how I might look wearing it.

This fantasy usually bears no resemblance to the reality of how I actually look in it.
More often than not, these dresses end up unloved and unworn.
Eventually getting donated to the local charity shop.

We all do it from time to time, don't we?

Fake Fabulous | Styling a shapeless dress.

This dress is one that I picked up after falling in love with the bold (but simple) striped design.

Unfortunately, this dress is basically a long vest top.
It has zero structure, and is not even lined.
Oh dear!

Unless you have the perfect body (which I most certainly don't!) dresses like this can be very unflattering.

3 Major Problems with this Dress.

  1. No lining.
  2. General lack of Shape and Structure.
  3. Poor Fabrication and Design placement.

It was a charity shop buy (for less than £10) BUT the original price would have been about £90.
Not to be sniffed at!
I was determined to wear it.

Fake Fabulous | Styling a shapeless dress.


Many modern dresses are unlined, and not just the cheap ones either!
Some of the more expensive brands sell unlined dresses at lined-dress prices.
Often, the quality is seriously lacking, and we are just paying for the name on the tag (which I snip out anyway).
Depressing stuff.

An unlined dress has the tendency to cling, exposing (and highlighting) every lump and bump.
The seams of your underwear are on full display.
Even the dimples on your thighs are for public viewing.
Not a great look, at any age.

How can we fix it?

An all-over (and bold) pattern can help but, the only thing you can realistically do with a plain dress, is wear a slip.

{Well fitting, and seam-free, undies are a must}

A full-slip (if the top of the dress allows) or a waist slip, both work well.
Reducing cling, and allowing the fabric to skim.

{I would never recommend a body shaper, or a tight slip, but this is only because I don't like wearing them myself... if you feel good in them, then go for it!}

Wearing a slip does not fix the problem as well as a proper lining would, but it definitely helps a little.


As I said before, this dress is basically a vest.
The idea of such and effortless shape is great but, the reality is a little more challenging.

The front of this dress is low, without any shape or structure, which can result in the 'droopy-boobs' effect.
Older (and larger) boobs can look dragged down in this style of neckline.

My boobs are not large, and don't have the ability to hang down very far, but a design like this can drag them down anyway.

How can we fix it?

A decent bra helps, but there is nothing much I can do about the visual effect of this particular dress design.
The only trick in my arsenal is to distract the eye upwards using a chunky necklace and a big smile!

A wide belt could have helped (a little) but would have interfered with the overall pattern.

Speaking of which....


This dress is made of viscose and elastane.
A cheap and cheerful modern fabric.

{I sometimes miss the crisp cottons, soft linens and itchy wools of days gone by.}

Viscose is a great modern fabric (in many respects) but can also be unforgiving.
Especially if the design is not so flattering either.

I am convinced that whoever designed this dress was not thinking about normal women, with normal bodies.
Yes, a woman with a dancer's body is going to look great in it, but she would look great in anything anyway!

The rest of us don't need any help making our mid-sections look wider.
Especially anyone over 40.
Or a mother.
Or both!!

This design placement (involving white rings around the midriff ) is not going to do anyone any favours.
Not many women want to draw the eye to their middles (or tummies) which this does.
This dress is a tricky item for sure!

How can we fix it?

I wanted to keep the cleanliness of the design, but lose some of the thickening properties, so I added a cardigan (it was only 13 degrees) and a sheer scarf.
These two items help to break up the lines around the middle of dress, and tone down the chunkiness.

A longer cardigan, or waistcoat, would work well too.
If it is too hot for cardigans, jackets and gilets (lucky you!) then a lightweight scarf works on it's own.

Fake Fabulous | Styling a shapeless dress.

The only thing that is perfect about this dress (for me) is the length.
It is a true maxi length (I am 5 feet 6) and has plenty of sweeping swish and drama.

This low level hemline allowed me to wear a pair of casual gutties, for a laidback and comfortable feel.

Fake Fabulous | Styling a shapeless dress.

My little "Samantha" bag, finished this look off perfectly.


DRESS: Phase 8... from a charity shop. This one is gorgeous!
BAG: c/o Yosa
CARDIGAN: c/o Bonmarche...this one is beautiful.
SCARF: My daughter's!  This one is cool.

Fake Fabulous | Styling a shapeless dress.

Do you own any unflattering and shapeless dresses, or other items?
Please share in the comments... or contact me.
I love hearing your thoughts.



  1. I know you talk about how the placement of the small white stripes at your middle are unflattering, but I almost think they act like a belt (needless to say, I'm only see this in a photo with other items on top, but still....)
    You, of course, have made a ugly duckling into a swan, Samantha because this outfit really shines.
    Of course, you do realize you could cut off the top portion and redesign it into a maxi skirt if you want?

    1. Oh Jodie, I wish I was that good with a sewing machine! I would definitely make a pigs-ear of it! I don't think I care enough about it to take it to a tailor....maybe I could donate it to a bustier friend? A larger bust and curve of a hip would make this look fabulous! XXX

  2. I see and understand all of the "issues" that make this basically cute dress a problem. I think you made some great moves with layering, jewelry, and cardigan. I think you need a scarf with a big snap of color and something equally as graphic as the dress. Red scarf/big white polka dots or yellow /white dots or big multicolored graphic cartoon flowers...??

    1. I tried colour Judy but it looked like I was trying to hide something, even though I was trying to hide something! Hahaha

  3. I see and understand all of the "issues" that make this basically cute dress a problem. I think you made some great moves with layering, jewelry, and cardigan. I think you need a scarf with a big snap of color and something equally as graphic as the dress. Red scarf/big white polka dots or yellow /white dots or big multicolored graphic cartoon flowers...??

  4. I think the idea of Jodie is great! Although I think because you wear it with sneakers, you give the outfit such an,,you,, touch, that I actually like it!

    1. Thank you Nancy! I am sure Jodie's mum would make this dress into a fabulous skirt. XXX

  5. oh yes, I'm guilty of trying to buy 'the style' and then finding that I bought a pretty unflattering cloth!
    But you rock your dress with a cool layering and lovely accessories, and adding your own touch (those cute sneakers are a fav!!). I'm a huge fan of viscose fabric, but I've never had a viscose maxi dress, as it would get sticked to my hips and that's something I hate particularly!. On the other hand, I love viscose floaty t-shirts and tops!
    Nice advice about wearing slips under no-lined dresses. I'm used to wear pettipants under my skirts and they're perfect (and pretty old fashioned too, mwhaha)

    1. I recently saw a culotte-style slip Monica and it looked great! Much like a pair of pettipants but cooler and looser. I must get myself a pair! XXX

  6. You did a stellar job of styling this dress Sam! I'm like you, I see things that I think in my mind will be completely fabulously cool on me, while not considering the fact I have substantially more up top and am substantially shorter than the model wearing said item. There are always tricks to get around the problems though! :)

    1. You are right Debbie! We try our best to work with what we have. :oD I needed more up top and less around the middle to make this look it's best. I know why it ended up in the charity hard to pull off. BUT, it is very comfortable so I might just hang on to it for a while longer. Thank you for your comment! XXX

  7. I'm probably the odd person out, but I actually think the stripes at the waist are flattering. They draw your eye away from the hip and abdomen area (which could be problematic for many of us), and instead, bring the eye up to the narrower portion of the body. In any case, you've made a great outfit out of this.

    1. Thank you Riley, for your thoughts... I see where you are coming from. I suspect the dress would look better on someone with more in the way of curves. I may give it to a friend of mine who is more of an hourglass. You are right, those stripes will look great on her...drawing attention to her teeny waist! Thank you :oD XXX

  8. You did very well. Both in problems with this dress and how you solved them. Brilliant job.
    I once had a grey boyfriend jacket.... looked terrific and cute on the little sales girl. Made me (5ft74) look like a man. Took me ages and lots of help from others to style it well. In the end I got fed up and gave it away. Took my loss, licked my wounds and forget about it.


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