Lessons in Layering: Turn Your Party Dress into…Something Else

Leandra Medine | December 1, 2011

It’s been some stealthy time since the last layering story and while my most typical tendency is to abominate the little black dress, this entire month is more about different hued little dress, enter the LRD. The holidays officially around the corner–oh honey, it’s December!–so I figured you may be able to use a few tips that would turn the dress you wore to your friend’s (my) birthday party, bosses holiday party or fancy family gathering, less about arms and more about actual human life, into less formal affair attire and more of the good stuff. You know, like supermarket shopping or bow hunting or even just something practical, fun and easy to wear while sitting home computer hacking and what have you. So without ado, I give you the quintessential holiday dress.

Mini, red, chiffon, winter friendly with sleeves, henley friendly with buttons, Man Repeller friendly with exposed vagina. I’d likely advise against roaming around town barefoot and tights. It’s cold and dirty out there. I just did it for dramatic effect. It’s my balcony anyway and that shit is cloroxed, I kid you not. So, let’s get layering.
plaid shirt: Fremont Mens (Thanks, Haim)
It’s likely no surprise at this point that the most immediate and effective remedy to a little dress of any variety is an oversized plaid. I’d even argue you may be tired of enduring this step but remember, boys and girls, clothes are purchased (or in this case, stolen) to be worn. And nothing is more gratifying than watching your garment transmute into oh, I don’t know, ten other ones? The plaid stays.
vest: Lublu
And here the party starts! It’s a shame you can’t feel or truly see the brilliance of these three fabrics rubbing up against each other like teenagers at a nightclub but I will redirect your attention to the fancy pockets on layer three! Texture, texture, texture. And nothing says “abominate me” like petaled pockets. I’d have been happy to stop right here, but stopping isn’t in my nature. I’m like a Red Hot Chili Pepper, you know, addicted to the shin-dig. So I didn’t.
bomber jacket: Cut 25
…And instead added a cropped bomber jacket to include but another dimension of texture. The trick about a vest so unique is to make sure you exploit that which makes it unique. This look would have been shot to shit if I’d used a longer jacket over the vest. Unless I’d placed the vest over the jacket which could have perhaps worked with a utility style, but then again, the silk is quite thin. We have to pick and choose that which we layer with what. See, whoever said man repelling was easy lied to you. I digress. Ultimately, we used a cropped style and gave the look some more overall edge. It’s a shame you can’t tell, but from the side, I truly did look like a fancy multi-dimensional tent.
purse: Antik Batik, bracelet: Pamela Love
And now, we accessorize.
booties: Opening Ceremony, necklace: DANNIJO
I haven’t whipped these babies out in a while. They were my most favorite find of 2009. I’d seen them in the “coming soon” tab on Opening Ceremony’s website that summer and at the time, had already devised a payment plan, only to learn OC didn’t ship overseas. I was abroad in France. A couple months after I’d returned, I stumbled into the Wooster Street Barney’s and they were, size six and everything. 70% off. Don’t little anecdotes like this that make you want to cry? No? Weird. Okay now, did you learn anything constructive today? Less about my general jackass-ness and more about diversifying the holiday dress? No? Weird squared. Go win a sweater.
  • Anonymous

    Lovely coloring, lovely layering

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14520938848031069893 Flaviana Boni

    Great post and love this vest!

    MY BLOG: Dress up for armageddon

  • http://www.modelovers.de modelovers

    Oh cool. Thank you for this inspiration!!!
    The Outfit is great. I love it!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07676698510440246459 Taye Anita

    love it – especially with the red dress! i'm not sure how you look this good with so many layers on! id look like two tonne annnie!!



    love from canada

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02532025846080696690 Xoxo ☺

    Love the final result fabulous clutch!! Xo

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18200704591621471005 briannelee

    I always love how you layer your jewelry. Great pieces!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17508037969782756867 sampenner

    i love this post! Can't wait for more posts about the LRD!


  • http://ifshakespeareworestilettos.blogspot.com/ EVIE

    Oh wow, biiiig love for that bag. And I love it when you find something you wanted the first time round in the sale! I hankered after a particular jumper all last winter but it was completely sold out, then I found it in the sale, in my size – I say it's most definitely fate! x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11209220366975722334 sacramento

    Fantastic layering. Love the frilly pockets of the vest, and that fab clutch.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01985239445969424147 Dena TsaL

    Great & inspiring post!!
    Style LimeLight

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08173346246747669074 Katharina

    I love the way you layering different pieces and creating different styles. Thanks for the inspiration!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14625802959152606446 Anna

    you're really good at layering… good job!


  • http://www.theavenuea.blogspot.com Nikki

    I love love love this outfit. thanks so much the tutorial. its great to see the thought process visually as well as in words


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12918661464750203232 Doni Brown

    That bag is absolutely amazing! I want one!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01406688056052163694 Mary


    Maria Onorio

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03766669407141855541 Eileenie

    So A-mazing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17315670147716759540 Apeshite

    LRD makes for an excellent nod to World AIDS Day, too. I love that clutch.

  • Me

    I liked your blog better when it was less well known, it was more "you" i guess. Now there's too much about trends and "giveaways" etc.

    I liked it because it was unique but now i feel like a lot of the stuff that i read on your blog i can easily read it on other blogs too!!

    don't forget to stay true to yourself and be the unique blogger that we all love!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14626127672641435637 Naina

    As I watch you pile on the layers of material, it's like magic. Better than the circus. Good job, Leandra, for being more enticing than the Mongolian chicks who flex and bend over each other.


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15804060850422665037 MyStyleVita

    Love the outfit! Thought of you last night, I bought my first Gryphon coat ever… now officially broke but super stylish.

    xoxo Jessica

  • http://mydalydose.blogspot.com Susan

    mentioned your blog today! love it. mydalydose.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00273517365832446003 Melissa

    love the layering and those boots are fab!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10886827011446856155 Pip

    Awesome layered look! You make it look effortless. 🙂 Love your blog so much!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00234018955991288723 Kat

    The shoes! I love it when the shoes I thought I would never have make their way into my life. It makes me smile 🙂

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15037990856185460889 Yuka
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13248457257839392171 Nuit

    ok. BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!

  • Miki

    Gee… amazing! How can you live like this?! Being interested to this stuff I mean

  • Karissa

    Very cute post. Love the bomber jacket! A tights/socks layer would be a great, cozy addition as well.


    P.S. Your exposed vagina line is unbelievable (in a good way).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00177120871160568245 Sheila’s Corner

    Love the red dress! Perfect for the Holidays!

  • http://www.dressanddish.com/ Dress and Dish: Lana

    I love Antik Batik! One of my favortie brands! Lookin good kid! xoxo

  • http://banejolie.blogspot.com/ ximena schuman

    I love this!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10456902592654842689 Alison

    Loving that clutch! Amazing layering there…

    <3 Alison

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04084967155915780511 Mix of Styles

    adore the dress, cool outfit, love it!


  • http://blog.bungalowco.com/ Sally

    Although I might hold on the flannel (or would do the flannel over the dress but maybe no vest and just the jacket), you look fab in this final ensemble — and each of the other two! Great neutrals and vivid, rich hues throughout… and who doesn't love a wackadoo pair of OC shoes.


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02021437966436827396 Stef @ The Chic Classmate

    Love the bag!!!

    <3 Stef

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15057101385427278906 The little world of fashion


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08802460803153602951 karina

    great look)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13348538467911825847 vanda

    Great layering you've got there!!!!!looks fantastic on YOU!!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13274138591141752873 ♥AdamAlexMommy.com♥

    that clutch is fabulous!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01514627554329642237 Vasilieva

    all the layers look pretty cool


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11286149288842617111 Lia

    LOL like teenagers rubbing against each other in a club. genius

    xGlass of Fashion

  • http://www.blondevivant.com Blonde Vivant

    Oh gosh…I'm cold just looking at you! one gust of wind and you got yourself frozen lady bits…you are a brave girl!

    <3 Blonde Vivant

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11619602287054788529 Amuna

    thank you for the tips 🙂

    ♥ Amuna


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01857198373293387490 things – collection

    simple and gorgeous!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02835853021499345956 kcomekarolina

    cool cool cool!!!

    xoxo from rome

  • http://www.funfashionfit.com Jani
  • http://www.citysoles.com City Soles

    Shop platform wedges Chicago

    Visit CITY SOLES in Wicker Park for European designer shoes and boots!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14531946171530002182 peony

    Oh i love those layerings! dress is amazing on you!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06841237588940938787 Lydia

    OMG that BAG!! I love it. I want it.

  • http://shopnatamari.com Natasha Williams

    Love the layering of the chiffon dress…but, I really want that clutch!

  • Anonymous

    I think I've got the whole armparty thing all worked out for myself… but i feel kind of clueless when it comes to earrings!? I mean, no inspiration there, for some reason. got any advice or ideas?


  • Anonymous

    Layering- posts are my favourite posts, please do them more often! Love from Sweden

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14654691178100203023 Roxanna

    You've got some RAD layering skills! Your clutch even looks layered…kind of.

    Nice curation Manrepeller Lady 🙂


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14427482520004426396 Hola Lola

    Obsessed with this look!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11690806954307433224 relish

    love your layering lessons!!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17797477198030786678 Lynsey Michelle

    This is by far my favorite thing in the world to do before heading to work. Just throw on a sweater and a blazer and pretend like I am not wearing a cocktail dress under all this…


  • http://vanillachic.wordpress.com/ vanillachic

    aw, i really missed the layering posts. this one is great, as usual.


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07094639948003466054 Loulou

    You just gave me a great idea of now to style a long black top I have that's similar to yours with the fancy pockets but mine doesn't have fancy pockets…Though now I really wish that it did. Love the dress!

    Loulou Downtown

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05359487128946293599 SAMANTHA

    perfect! that purse is AMAZING


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15157331294725300872 jas

    awesome! love the clutch


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12032334080461568945 Bostonista

    I like how you show how you layer step-by-step. I just wish I had your shopping budget!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14175109361864026758 Tori
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09248393354946033790 Angela

    Not so sure about the jacket, but otherwise, great layering!


  • http://soffisinglesstyle.blogspot.com/ soffi
  • Anonymous

    I live in London and had the same dilema with the OC booties! I desperately stared at them on the internet for months. I managed to stumble across a lonely size 37 in liberty 2 years ago (also in the sale at 70% off) and am still in love with them.

    Love it.

  • http://thrillofthechaise.com/ thrillofthechaise.com

    So cute. Love it. And the barefoot situation makes it even better 🙂



  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02989532803712447333 Ms. Champagne

    such an inspiring post, must go and try this with some of my winter dresses <3 I only thought as far as chiffon dress + cardigan + anorak!

    xoxo champagne


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00958336792939906996 Anna Chichinadze

    Love everything separately but not together 🙂 is it a man-repelling sin perhaps? :)))))


  • Miss D

    wow the purse is brilliant!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08294539074628344335 Ion Ainil

    I am in love with this purse…. And I realy like this outfit! Funny thing is, I wore something like it, the other day + a blod scarf!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11863329973732626014 Emanuel I.

    Awesome look…
    Nice the idea of whow-to…step-by-step!
    Congrats & thanks for all the ideas!
    You are inspiring!
    Kisses & hugs!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17735896581791951670 takeachicpill

    the clutch is phenomenal and your layering never ceases to amaze!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11882553836611272495 Merritt

    great dress – perfect color for the holidays!

    xo, Merritt

    The Style Scribe

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01915301502681425552 yvo

    love your humor and style! gr8 blog~

  • http://www.thefashionguitar.com Thefashionguitar

    You are the queen of layering!

    XO Charlotte

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09851704715959084478 Alizey and Saanieh Mirza

    I love these posts! They're our favourite 🙂 LOVE FROM DUBAI, WE THINK YOU'RE FABULOUS <3

    http://www.pintsizedfashionista.com xxx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17724927279303841934 Maria Luís

    Your genialy crazy! Love your blog!

    By the way, this is my own blog http://vilarealstyle.blogspot.com/

    Big Kiss

  • http://www.megustaonomegusta.wordpress.com megustaonomegusta

    AMAZING purse!! and great advices! love the way you write 🙂

    check out my blog http://www.megustaonomegusta.wordpress.com

    kisses from Argentina!

  • chysluna

    I love the pop of red color underneath all the dark, heavy, fabrics!

  • Amrita

    This is amazing, I love the pockets, and the purse is beyond gorgeous ! The way you write is hysterical ! 😀

  • Joe Lupo/Jesse Garza

    Who wore it better? 😉

  • pick a name

    you are too fukn funny!!!