How Would You Style This Mannequin

Happy Wednesday ladies. I had all sorts of grandiose plans for what I was going to accomplish yesterday, but they all fell apart quickly when I had an unexpected afternoon nap. I never have them so I was unprepared for the stupor I woke up in. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had one. Anywho…it shot the afternoon and I didn’t want to be absent on Wednesday so I thought it would be fun to style an outfit.

Tiered dresses seem to be having a moment, at least at Banana Republic. Here are a few I snapped in the window last week.


I’d love to hear how you would style these. Could you make it work for your shape and lifestyle? It’s fun to get inspired by how you might wear something.

To mix things up, I’ll go first and share what I would do…

I would first check to see if these were available in petite because a dress this length can be tough to wear for a short gal…which I am. They are, so I would move on to consider other styling issues. I prefer a V-neck over a round neckline but I’m not as fond of floral so that would be a tradeoff.



The v neck has an elasticized waist, but the white one has an empire waist. My long torso has a hard time with empire waists so I’d need to wear the non-petite which might mean I would have to hem it. On that same note- although they appear the same length, the one on the left is a midi and the one on the right is a maxi. They appear the same length here so I’d call the 800# to get specific dimensions and the actual garment lengths.



The white one comes with a self-belt which I’m never a fan of so I’d replace it with a leather belt as they’ve done on the mannequin. I’m also not a fan of seeing an elasticized waistband so I would add a leather belt over it too. The length of both dresses would have me looking for a slight wedge or low-heeled sandals.

Since they’re both sleeveless, I would wear a white linen shirt, unbuttoned over the top and tied at the waist, or toss a denim jacket on top. If the temperature was beastly hot, I’d let bygones be bygones and not worry about the skin on my arms one bit. I find most women are more concerned with their own arms anyway and not looking at ours.

In the end, the empire waist would be a deal-breaker for me because I wouldn’t want to hem the dress plus they’re not flattering with my broad shoulders.

Online shopping is challenging so we need to learn to be a bit of a detective before we order.

How could you style these dresses and which would work best for you?


Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.

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  1. Ruth K
    March 19, 2021 / 7:47 am

    I love summer dresses! First off, I would have to check the fabric content. If it’s almost all cotton or rayon, then it’s a go. Otherwise, the fabric doesn’t breathe enough and is too hot.
    The white one is out for me – I don’t like the higher neckline, and I would worry about show-through. I really like the floral, v-neck one. I would want to try it on to see if the proportions are right – I am 5’4″ with more of a pear shape. I would use a white grosgrain ribbon for a belt, and wear a white jean jacket and neutral sandals.

  2. Canadian Elizabeth
    March 18, 2021 / 1:12 pm

    Agree 100% with Paulette Levy’s comments. Would also consider sandals and a closer fitting unfussy straw or cotton sun hat.
    At 5’4”, prefer dress length just barely above the knees.
    Really appreciated your analysis, Jennifer.

  3. Cherie
    March 18, 2021 / 9:26 am

    I love, love, love both of them. However, being short and older with those horrible wrinkly arms, they’re not for me. I did appreciate the comment about throwing a shirt or jacket on to cover up the arms! I appreciate your honest comments about your body type and what works best for you. Wish I were the same size and shape so I didn’t have to even think. LOL. So much fun to read the comments and learn new ways of thinking.

  4. Maribeth conklin
    March 17, 2021 / 4:22 pm

    I think they are really
    Pretty for TBE right body type. I like midi and maxi styles but don’t care for elastic waist or empire waist lines not a good look on me…I would not buy!

  5. Sue
    March 17, 2021 / 4:04 pm

    Just a comment about dresses. I’d LOVE to find a summer dress that had a few specific features. If you can point me in the right direction, I’d be grateful. Midi length so I don’t have to show too much leg and feel comfortable in sandals. A thin, cool lining of the skirt so no slip is required. Flatteringly fitted v neck or scoop bodice but loose fit skirt. Sleeves to cover upper arms. I don’t usually wear prints but in summer a pretty floral print can be lovely. Is all this too much to ask?

  6. Teri
    March 17, 2021 / 2:45 pm

    Hmmm. I’m leery of tiered dresses and skirts–and I’m seeing a lot of them online–as they tend to have a sort of “country” look. I’d have to try them on to see, but the number of stores that allow you to try on clothes is still limited, and I’m not motivated enough to order this potentially “frumpy” style online, only to have to send it back. As I’ve grown older, I tend to gravitate toward simpler, or even minimalistic sorts of clothes.

  7. Penelope
    March 17, 2021 / 12:51 pm

    Summer dresses… for me they must be opaque or a slip is needed.. adding an unwanted layer.
    I like tiers. The issue I have with the white dress is the gathering /pleats from the neck down. Those tend to spread out and around the bust which is not a look I like. Same with vertical stripes. The empire line is not my favorite.. unless it is a very loose fit.
    I love a nice belt with dresses and I agree with you about self belts.
    The print dress is very wearable for me. And I like the small floral fabric. Pretty and feminine. The tiers are not multicolored ( which tends to make me look chopped up/ shorter) and I like the fullness. Not too much.

    • Pat
      March 17, 2021 / 5:08 pm

      While I like the look, the tiered dress does not always look good on me as I am only 5’2″. I would be more drawn to the print dress and would add a leather belt and some flat sandals and denim jacket.

  8. Frances J Johnson
    March 17, 2021 / 10:46 am

    I’m much too short to wear anything that is tiered.

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