Dress You Up #10: S.


Remember Dress You Up? Yeah, we had a hiatus, but now we're back with a special edition. Today, I'm going to be dressing up my friend S., who has some special requests. S. is currently a size 14, but is rapidly losing weight, and needs some transitional clothes. She's also recently been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that leaves her very sensitive to the sun, so sun protection is important. Finally, S. is a busy mom-of-two who is about to return to school, so she needs an easy-care, versatile wardrobe.

This is the extremely adorable S:

The first thing I did when thinking about style for S. was go pick a few pieces from the specialty sun-protection wear websites she sent me. Unfortunately, those clothes are both very expensive and not the most stylish or flattering things in the world, so it seemed like the best bet to pick a few things and style around them, using other clothes. This first outfit is styled around a cute sun-protective skirt:

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #1

J Crew longsleeve t shirt
$17 - jcrew.com

Slimming top
$7.99 - aeropostale.com

MIA strap sandals
$48 - zappos.com

Forever21 cuff jewelry
$4.80 - forever21.com

I like this for several reasons. The lightweight white long-sleeved tee over the colored tank provides sun protection for S.'s arms and shoulders, but still leaves her looking summery and not overheated. She'll still need to use sunscreen on her legs in this ensemble, but it will provide coverage between her neck and her knees. I also really love the idea of S. in these fun colors, especially for summer. Finally, the elastic skirt waist will allow S. to wear this skirt through a couple of sizes.

This next outfit is built around a sun-protecting hoodie. I definitely think S. should get one of these, in a bright, fun color. Here, I've paired it with simple khakis and a tank top, and accessorized with a bright necklace and sneakers. This will give S. almost complete sun protection when she needs it, and she can easily ditch the hoodie and still have a cooler, casual outfit. I love the neutral tank and pants together with the bright accent pieces, too, and think they'd be super flattering to S.'s increasingly svelte figure.

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #2

Madewell striped tank top
$20 - madewell.com

Gap pants
$50 - gap.com

Converse trainers
$40 - delias.com

Beading necklace
$14 - nordstrom.com

The third sun-protection item I chose was this long, featherweight hoodie. It reminds me a lot of the Prairie Underground cloak hoodies Sal wears sometimes, and I think it would be a great wardrobe piece with or without extra sun protection. One way it would be easy to wear is the one I've styled here, with skinny jeans and flats. I also really love the turquoise and red combination for S--I think she would look wonderful in it. This outfit is very simple, but seems totally comfortable and fun.

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #3

J Crew crew shirt
$30 - net-a-porter.com

BP. ballet shoes
$50 - nordstrom.com

ALDO bangle bracelet
$18 - aldoshoes.com

Zara feather earrings
$9.90 - zara.com

I noticed several pairs of wide-legged, lightweight pants in the sun protective clothing I reviewed, but none of them really did it for me, so I decided to style an outfit using non-specialty pants of a similar style. Here, I paired a white linen pair with neutral, boho-influenced accessories and a metallic-accented tunic top, and I think the outfit is both sun-friendly for S. and really, really cute.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #4

Old Navy empire waist tunic
$25 - oldnavy.gap.com

Mid rise pants
$27 - alloy.com

ASOS leather shoes
$43 - asos.com

Nine West copper earrings
$24 - ninewest.com

Armani Exchange wooden jewelry
$38 - armaniexchange.com

After I'd exhausted the sun-protective clothing websites, I gave some thought to what non-specialty items are particularly good for sun protection. This outfit features two of them: the maxi dress and the floppy hat. Both are on-trend, both would be adorable on S., and both would offer good sun protection. Here, I'm pairing a great maxi with a floppy straw hat, Toms, colorful bangles and belt, and an optional lightweight shrug to protect S.'s shoulders.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #5

Hive Honey bohemian dress
$50 - piperlime.gap.com

£19 - debenhams.com

TOMS slip on shoes
$48 - nordstrom.com

$28 - topshop.com

ALDO summer hat
$20 - aldoshoes.com

TopShop orange belt
$25 - topshop.com

Two more current trends S. can take advantage of to increase her sun-wearable wardrobe are loose, lightweight, long-sleeved tunic tops and long-length shorts. Here I've paired a mid-sleeve lengthed tunic with Bermuda shorts and flats, which will only give limited sun protection, but is a lot better than short shorts and a tank, forcing S. to sunscreen up only her lower arms and legs, rather than her whole bod. Also? I LOVE these shoes.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #6

Old Navy khaki bermuda shorts
$20 - oldnavy.gap.com

Poetic Licence blue flat shoes
$39 - shoostore.com

Feather jewelry
$8 - nordstrom.com

Plastic sunglasses
$9.99 - pacsun.com

On days where full sun-coverage really is key, one suggestion I have for S. is to make the most of both the maxi skirts and the tunics that are currently popular, and pair them! A wide belt will keep all that fabric from looking boxy, and there are endless variations on this casual chic boho them. I like this one because of the interplay of colors between the tunic and the skirt pattern, as well as the surprise yellow sandals.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #7

Beaded tunic
£25 - debenhams.com

Gypsy skirt
$20 - amazon.com

ASOS leather sandals
$34 - asos.com

Nine West beaded jewelry
$24 - ninewest.com

Forever21 buckle belt
$5.80 - forever21.com

So how about remixes?

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #8

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #9

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #10

So what are my overall tips for S?

1. Buy only a few things from the expensive specialty stores, and make sure they are fun, colorful things you'd like to wear anyway.
2. Make the most of the drapey, long, boho styles that are in right now. Embrace the natural maxi coverage they offer.
3. Have some fun with shoes and accessories.
4. Colors, colors, colors! I love turquoise and red for you, but really, whatever colors YOU like will work.


LOVE IT!!!! Those are some great pieces, Grace. I'm going to keep some in mind for myself.

LOVE IT! Especially the 3rd and 6th!

oh my gosh, I love it all! Great job!

W.O.W! This is so beautiful, and color combos that I wouldn't have thought to pair look AMAZING. You outdid yourself and I think S would look smashing in all of it!

You seriously rock at this, Grace!! I bookmarked a couple things for myself.

Lands' End* has some sun protective classic stuff. It's often in their overstock and thus cheap. They have some proprietary name for it but I can't remember it.

*Disclosure: I work for the company that owns Lands' End but that has nothing to do with my recommendation. :)

FYI, Idye sun blocker is available at several places (Dharma trading, Amazon, Joanne fabrics) Toss it in with the wash and ANY fabric can become a sun blocking fabric.

You know what I need you to discuss? How to wear boots properly this season. Especially tall boots. Skinny jeans tucked in -- is it still ok?

I like the Oriental-themed combination of the red tunic and the Gypsy skirt, it's unexpectedly romantic and delicate.

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