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How To Make Your Garments Work For You by Melissa Kirkley

Do you ever spend the time and effort creating a beautiful dress to wear for an event, only to wear it once? You tell yourself you’ll wear it again to the next fancy affair, and your beautiful creation eventually gets lost at the back of the wardrobe, never to see the light of day again.

I recently made this stunning Wardrobe by Me Mirri Dress in Purple Pleated. The fabric is stunning – it has a beautiful sheen and drape, it was incredibly easy to cut and sew and the pleating creates a subtle interest which is perfect to create a standout garment. I chose to line the skirt with DTY in African Violet to smooth out those lumps and bumps as well as ensure it wouldn’t be see-through.

Now, let’s see how I can make this dress work harder in my wardrobe and get more bang for my buck by reducing the cost per wear.

I have styled this dress 5 ways to show you how versatile a dress can be.

  1. A day at the races – I have let the dress do the talking and added simple silver accessories to keep it elegant and feminine – shoes, bag, earrings and sparkly sunglasses and a fascinator.

 All set for the races

  1. Cocktail party – By swapping out the bag for a sparkly clutch, black and white sunglasses, silver drop earrings and an interesting belt, I have added a little more drama, giving the dress a bit more of an edgy feel.

 Ready for drinks at a cocktail party

  1. Art gallery visit – Going to see art means it’s time to add a pop of colour with the scarf and belt. You’ll also notice the addition of some comfy sneakers and a bigger bag that can fit a bottle of water and some snacks.

 A fun day at an art gallery


  1. Market Day – I like to be able to ward off a sneaky breeze when out in the open air, and the addition of a denim jacket adds a casual and fun vibe. And who says scarves are just for your neck? Wearing it around your head not only keeps your hair in place but brings some fun and colour. Add a cute little bag, sparkly sunnies and comfy sneakers and you’re ready for a full day at the markets!


  1. Changing Seasons - Don’t forget the importance of layering when creating a new look for your dress. Here’s how to extend the wearability of the dress throughout seasons by adding some layers. Start with a top with long or ¾ length sleeves belted at the waist and a pair of point-toed shoes. Pop on a scarf, sunnies and matching earrings and you’re good to go!

 Warm for the changing season



  • Do you sell fabrics please, or just readymade?

  • Hi Melissa, i am invited to a cocktail party early May. i do not possess such a dress. I love what you have done to your dress making it suitable for such an occasion. Can you tell me please how and what favric you used to make your gorgeous silver belt. i would love to make one as I’m sure if i invest in making or purchasing a cocktail dress, i may never get to wear it again….. all the expense for 1 evening. TIA Helen L

    Helen Lutz

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