How to dress up a casual dress

How to dress up a casual dress

Regardless of your personal style, "sleek chic", minimalist, or edgy, every fashionista needs casual dresses in their wardrobe. They're not only lifesavers when you're having one of those "I have nothing to wear" sort of days, but with the right accessories, your fav casual dress can be transformed from meh to hello, I'm here! 

casual dress with heels


We love how easy dressing up a casual dress can be. Get creative with your accessories and remember repurposing an old outfit is one step away from fast fashion. Of course, there are occasions when a new dress is in order, but for Sunday brunches, chill b'days and nights hanging with the gals, semi-cas' will do. Ultimately, styling a casual dress will depend on the actual dress. The colour, style, and length will all affect the accessories you choose. We've got expert tips and tricks to pep up any casual outfit and avoid looking fashionably challenged. 

What is a casual dress? 

Before we get into how to style a casual dress, let's clarify what we mean by casual dresses. They're the everyday dress - think flowy, comfortable and relaxed. It might be a midi dress or a maxi, an off-the-shoulder or wrap dress, or a t-shirt or aline dress. When it comes to crafting a dressy casual look, you might need to play around with different types of accessories depending on the shape and style of the dress. 

5 ways to style a casual dress for a more formal look? 

Say goodbye to boring! Whether you're meeting the girls for brunch, having a hot first date or in an important business meeting, never feel underdressed. You don't need a stylist. Follow these five simple tips to dress up any casual dress. You'll be such a pro you'll never be without a "semi-casual" outfit again. Here are five ways to easily dress up casual dresses for an instant day-to-night look. 

1. Blazer 

Move over, Fran Fine, the days of shoulder pad blazers are over. Once a powerful accessory to exude sophistication, now we're all about throwing on relaxed everyday blazers. They’re the perfect way to transform your casual dress into a dressy vibe. When styling a blazer, choose an unstructured fit, stick to lightweight materials (think linen or cotton) and consider the length. If you want to make a statement, choose a bold colour to contrast your dress, or if you'd prefer a more subtle look, pair with a neutral coloured blazer. 

2. Belt 

We all know belts are great for keeping your pants in place, but it's the styling versatility we love. Thick or thin, leather or metal, buckle or tie, knowing which belt to style with a casual dress is essential in nailing the day to night look. For example, if your causal dress is flowy like a t-shirt dress, use a belt to cinch the waist. You might need to play around with a few styles to get the perfect fit. However, usually, a thin leather belt works a treat. Belts add structure for a more fitted look and add contrast with their colour and texture.  

Casual blue dress with heels

3. Bag 

Don't get us wrong, we love a fashionable tote more than the next person. But when we're talking about dressing up a casual dress, maybe leave the tote on the door. Mini shoulder bags are the must-have accessory this season. The cult favourite is an instant upstyle to any causal dress. Make a statement with a bright colour or keep it classy with a neutral tone and texture. 

4. Heels

It's hard to pinpoint what it is exactly, but as soon as you add heels to an outfit, whether a t-shirt and jeans or a casual dress, they elevate the look. Take your favourite everyday dress and pair it with sleek heels for an instant upstyle. The heels you choose will depend on the event. If you're going straight from the office to Friday night drinks, maybe keep a pair of black slip-on heels handy. Get out the bling when the occasion calls for a more formal dress code. And dates or dinner parties are the perfect occasions for showing off your boot heels. At the end of the day, any heel will dress up an outfit, play around with different styles and have some fun. 

How to dress up a casual dress

5. Jewellery

Never underestimate the power of jewellery, particularly when transforming an outfit. Whether it's a chic and subtle pair of gold hoops or bold and colourful statement earrings, pairing jewellery with a causal dress will give off glam vibes. It's not only earrings that make a statement. The right necklace, bracelet, and watch can also transform a relaxed look. We especially love chain necklaces ATM. They're super chic and add a touch of 90's elegance. 

When to dress up a casual dress

There are no hard and fast rules when you should dress up a casual dress. However, here are our thoughts. As we're an ethically conscious brand, we think you should try and dress up a casual dress when the event calls for dressy casual. Think brunches, dates or dinners - when casual is too relaxed and formal is too styled, meet in the middle with semi-cas’. 

While we're all about ethical fashion and up-styling your current wardrobe, there will, of course, be events when you need a dress code appropriate outfit. Black tie, cocktail or semi-formal, we've got a range of stunning women's dresses to suit any occasion. We're all about creating dreamy collections that'll stay with you for a good time and a long time. 

Cindy x 

Founder of Somaia Collective

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