Mom Style: 3 Casual Dress Outfits

by - September 24, 2020

how to layer dresses for fall

As a mom, and a working one at that, casual outfits that are cute but functional are a must. Outfits that don't require a lot of pre-planning are even better. Cue comfy dresses that can take you from the grocery store to a play date and beyond. In my case, these easy-to-assemble outfits are perfect for a day spent distributing magazines where I want to look put together but also stay cool.

Pairing sneakers with dresses isn't something that comes naturally to me. While I appreciate the comfort level, I prefer to wear shoes that give me a few extra inches of height. In fact, just a few years ago you wouldn't have caught me wearing sneakers with a dress, not that I had the right type of sneakers to make it work mind you. So, sneakers and dresses are a relatively new #ootd trend for me, and I still feel like I struggle to pull it off effortlessly. That said, sneakers are the key ingredient to a casual dress outfit, which is why all three outfits that I'm sharing in this post features them.

The other thing that ties all three of these outfits together is a third piece. These completer pieces (vests, jackets, etc.) are the easiest way to take a summer dress into the fall. You can also use a scarf, but I rarely do because most of them add way too much bulk to the upper half of my body. These final layers are what we'll be focusing on for the purpose of this post.

By the way, all three of these outfits were worn in real life while I distributed magazines at the beginning of September.

Sizing info: I'm 5'2" and normally wear size 6/8 or medium in dresses and tops, size 6 in pants, and size 7 in shoes.

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black dress with utility vest and neutral sneakers

Black Dress + Utility Vest + Neutral Sneakers

First things first: if you do not have at least one simple black dress in your closet, you have a serious style hole to fill. I have several black dresses in various styles and fabrics, but this halter neck jersey one is by far my most worn. It's so versatile, i.e. easy to layer.

Once the season changes, I always feel a little out-of-place if my shoulders are bare, but 80-degree weather is still too hot for a jacket. A utility vest is a nice, casual way to take a simple black dress into fall without overheating. This one, especially, is ridiculously light-weight. It's from a few years ago, but I linked to a a couple of similar options below.

My faux suede taupe sneakers are the perfect casual finishing element. I originally bought these to wear during the summer but honestly feel like I'll be able to style them so much easier in cooler weather.

Outfit Details
Dress: Forever 21 (old - similar, similar)
Vest: JCPenney (old - similar, similar)
Shoes: Old Navy (exact, wearing size 7)

striped dress with denim vest and converse

Striped Dress + Denim Vest + Converse

Much like the simple black jersey dress, a striped dress is a must-have for your closet. It's the epitome of a casual dress that's perfect for most mom duties. They're easily layered, as well, and I get so much use out of this one.

This particular combination is one that I fall back on pretty frequently, with some variations in the shoes. I don't know what it is exactly about the denim vest with this dress, but it just works so well. I like how the vest adds structure to an otherwise loose dress. My vest is a few years old but I linked to a few options below.

My Converse felt like the perfect punctuation point on this outfit. It's hard to tell in the photo but they're faded blue so they tie in nicely with the denim. Also, Converse are just cool shoes that work with most outfits.

Outfit Details
Dress: Old Navy (old - similar)
Vest: StitchFix (old - similar, similar)
Shoes: Converse (exact, wearing size 7 in athletic navy)

purple dress with white jacket and leopard sneakers

Solid Colored Tank Dress + White Jacket + Leopard Sneakers

Knit tank dresses are my jam all year long. I have them in solid colors and prints, but for the purpose of today's post we're keeping it basic. It doesn't really matter what color you choose. I went with this plum color because it felt like fall. My dress is from last year, and while this particular color isn't available anymore this style is still going strong in a bunch of other colors.

A white denim jacket may feel counterintuitive for fall, but I like the juxtaposition of the lighter color paired with a really dark base. It helps keep the outfit from feeling heavy. This jacket is still available in all sizes, and at my Walmart at least it had been marked way down.

Do you have a pair of leopard-print sneakers? You need some. Because they're a sneaker, they keep the outfit casual but the leopard print adds a dose of fun. I grabbed this pair off an aisle endcap in Academy last year for about $10 and wear them all the time. This exact version isn't available anymore but they do have a black/gray leopard print version. Otherwise, I linked to some traditional leopard print options below.

Outfit Details
Dress: Walmart (old - similar, similar)
Jacket: Walmart (exact, wearing size M)
Shoes: Academy (old - similar, similar)

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