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Dresses As Tops—How Your Dresses Can Do Double Duty and Look Super Chic at the Same Time

When exactly did dresses become shirts? It seems the “not a mini dress but could double as one”  has been the trend for quite some time now. You know “dresses” that fall less then half way down the thigh. In the sixties and seventies these were known as mini dresses. They generally had a distinct look and cut to them which gave them that classic mini dress look, it was a specific style and worked when done well. But today it seems so many dresses just look like the manufacturer ran out of material or the wearer mistakenly took a top for a dress. What happened to dresses that come to the knee? I think part of this is due to the fact that it is cheaper to make these kinds of dresses because it does indeed use less material, and of course this is more cost effective. But if you are tall and happen to wear a smaller size then the problem is compounded—big time.  Obviously when someone who is 5’4″ and wears a size four dress and then you have someone who is 5″8″ and wears the same size four dress, the hemline is not going to fall in the same place.






A friend and I discussed this problem last weekend when we were shopping in Soho. She is 5’6’’ and went from a size ten to a size four—a size which she now maintains. Her height of course remained the same, but she was now wearing dresses that were four sizes smaller then she was previously wearing. And she confided that she was now running in to a problem I have been dealing with all my adult life.

And I have made this mistake so many times—buying a “dress” only to wear it out one or twice to realize that it was way too short

A smaller size generally means less material and so if you are 5’6” and above but wear a two or a four, nine times out of ten your “dress” is going to look like a long top, or you will look like you are trying to dress like a twelve year old. And I have made this mistake so many times—buying a “dress” only to wear it out one or twice to realize that it was way too short. These rejects would then sit in my closet for months unworn, until one day I got the idea to wear them with jeans or trousers. I have a whole section in my closet next to my tops that is filled with these former “dresses”. But I had no idea that the whole dresses with pants look is actually a thing. When did this become a thing? Well no matter, I for one love this trend. You can do short dresses, long dresses—maxis with slits that would never be appropriate for the office suddenly are office ready when paired with slacks or jeans. And why stop at dresses? You could even do a mini skirt with pants. I have a whole bunch of mini skirts that I never wear anymore. Perhaps I could breath new life in to them with this trend. And what say you? Would you do this trend? Have you  ever done this?

Images via 1 Vogue  :: 2 Cosmo  :: 3  Refinery 29 :: 4  Zanita  ::  5 The Runway Chef  :: 6 Krystal Bick


  1. I could pull this off with a summer light dress cool way to incorporated and get a use out of them.

  2. I love wearing dresses with pants! It’s a total game changer especially since I never wear dresses above the knee but wearing them as tunics allows me to have some shorter styles in my closet as well.

  3. I am loving looks 2 and 4, and am always a fan of maximizing the utility of a dress! I am lucky to eb short in this case,
    Such an inspirational post, thanks for sharing!
    xx, Elle

  4. You know, this is the one thing I’ve never actually done! But after seeing some of the examples you’ve posted, I’m actually pretty inspired.


  5. This seems to be the trend nowadays, purposing your wardrobe and making the clothes work for different occasions. I’ve been seeing dresses worn as top and skirt too which is really cool as it shows how creative the blogger is.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  6. As a short girl, I have the opposite problem and drown in the extra fabric; however, I do like the dresses over jeans look. I wore it a lot in college 🙂

  7. very inspiring outfits


  8. This article is very deep. I am impressed by the vision of the author.

  9. I’m on the shorter end, at 5″4″ so most of my dresses aren’t going to pass for tops, but I love this trend nontheless. I do love long tops because I have a long torso. I would totally rock this trend with some of my cami dresses!


  10. I feel so inspired!! Love this post and love this look as well. What a brilliant way to think outside the box!

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