Restyling a Mannequin in Checks

Happy Wednesday, ladies. We seem to be coming down to the wire for Christmas. I saw Santa at the mall yesterday which always puts me into the spirit. I popped into Ann Taylor and the store was alive with stunning colors but I zeroed in on this mannequin. Being short, I thought it looked rather frumpy for me so I played around with it.

BELTED MIDI FLARE DRESSThis mannequin seemed very tall and the dress is a midi length so I really needed the petite version which was sold out.


It was way too long to work as a dress for me so I tried wearing it open like a duster. I’m not a fan of self-fabric belts so I tied that in the back to try to contain some of the fullness. I wanted a simple cream-colored turtleneck but they didn’t have one so I resorted to this tunic sweater. The proportions were off so I tucked it in, but it’s really too long to do this.

The gray pants are actually pretty cool but I would have preferred them in misses, not petite to elongate the look as much as possible. They’re a pull-on style which can be dangerous but oh so handy during the holidays.

In the end, this midi dress was not savable for my silhouette but I want to hear your ideas for your shape. How would you style it?

I saw a lot of great things while I was there so I need to remember to check out Ann Taylor more often. Do you wear their clothes?

Ann Taylor is giving 50% off your entire purchase plus free shipping with the code SHOPQUICK, sale ends tomorrow. I linked a few interesting pieces in the widget below and ordered some cashmere because 50% off is when I buy the good stuff.

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

What would/could you do with this dress?


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  1. Jennifer, a few days ago you mentioned that you were loving your new Bombas brand socks. They do make great socks. I have some other socks that you might like to check out. They’re called Wander Woman socks (no, that’s not a typo. It’s really Wander, with an a). They are similar to the Bombas brand, very cushioned and comfortable. I bought mine from Amazon.

    I apologize that this comment relates to an older post and not your mannequin.

    1. No worries, thank you, Judy. I always, always appreciate recommendations. Thanks

  2. Karole Sherlock says:

    I love the way you styled this dress as a duster and while the tunic top does not tuck, the illusion is striking. With a tuch-in sweater and regular length pants this outfit would be a keeper.

  3. Ranch Wife says:

    I love your idea of converting this to a duster. I would probably add a long necklace and some black boots. Our lifestyles are very different (I’m a ranch wife), but I so enjoy your posts. I’m not a shopper, but you have encouraged me to pull things together and hone in on a clothing style that fits my lifestyle. I’m aiming for classic and timeless. It’s a work in progress. Even a ranch wife needs to go to town on occasion and wear something other than her chicken-coop-cleaning attire. LOL. Thank you so much for helping me restyle my closet.

    1. I’m so pleased I have been able to help and inspire you!! This makes my day

  4. Margaret schembri. says:

    I am so pleased the dress designers are featuring dresses in longer lengths. Nothing is so disturbing but to see a very chubby legged person in a mini length dress. I like the checkered pattern on the dress as I have texted before black and white are very chic. 👌

  5. OMG! I love, love this! Have a shirt dress at home that I will try!

    1. Awesome. I love wearing dresses that way

  6. Kathrena mtjoy says:

    Your Magic touch. Changing frump
    To darling! Tight neck so I ‘d definitely have tight pants, maybe red for holidays or dark green. Nice outfit for warmer weather locales
    Or silk long Johns under the outfit for us snow babes.

    1. Kathryn’s, may I ask where you purchase your silk long johns?

    2. LOL! I think it’s best for warmer weather too

  7. I think you had a great idea for styling. I am not really a fan of checks, so would pass on the dress. But, if someone begged me to please wear it, I would add a wide black belt and tall black boots. I feel it needs a pop of color somewhere, so something red ie handbag.

  8. First, I would have 6 inches cut off the bottom — LOL.
    I agree with others that I wouldn’t wear it, but I think that it could be helpd by replacing the self belt with a thicker black belt — better yet a belt over a longer black vest. Styling it as a skirt might work as well, by wearing it with a thicker weight pullover sweater – maybe even a turtleneck. I think, though, that my suggestions simply mean that it’s a pretty frumpy dress, and why go to a lot of trouble when your money could be better spent on something nice?

    1. Great idea about wearing it as a skirt

  9. Put on my black ,fitted, buttoned in front jacket and white boots, I’ll try it.

  10. Constance says:

    I must say, pretty dowdy looking. Not sure who could pull it off, or who would want to.
    I do like the turtleneck and gray pants. 😊

  11. Good try but for me too much print even in black and white.

  12. Catherine says:

    This dress is crying out for some tall person to sweep into a holiday gathering wearing it with some tall, high-heeled boots on and a little red cardigan over the top. Petite people: Beware! Do not purchase the regular size and then pair it with white athletic socks. 😬

  13. Carol Khoury says:

    I really like the menswear vibe of the pattern. I know it’s currently fashionable to diss black, but I’d put a black turtleneck under it and a wide black belt. Then I’d add tall black riding boots over black leggings. The duster look could be another option with that and cinching the waist with the black belt with the dress gathered behind as you show in your restyle. It may need to be shortened a wee bit, but it definitely needs to be broken up a bit which the addition of a belt or the tie back duster look accomplishes.

    1. I know the color black seems to be under attack these days. I love my black turtleneck:)

  14. Leslie Greaves Radloff says:

    Not something I would wear. At 5ft 3 on a good day..standing tall, I’d be swamped by pattern, which resembled Crazy Quilts but in Harrington and checks. And then the body shape of model in AT picture is so , almost androgynous, that it’s hard to imagine the dress on someone with more flesh. However, those grey pants and cream top already have a place in my closet, though I did not buy AT or Loft. Old Tribal pants and even older NM sweater.

  15. I love black and white but I wouldn’t attempt to do anything with this dress. It just wouldn’t work for me. I really like the knit pants!

  16. Linda Henderson says:

    I like the restyle.

  17. I like black and white but the dress is so busy! It might work with a jean jacket and tall black boots?

  18. Would not consider this dress at all. Don’t wear midi dresses or skirts as I am only 5’5” and they are way too long for me, and secondly the print is not one I would ever give another look at.

  19. Joann Czarny says:

    I am tall, but I would not wear this dress. To me, the pattern is frumpy. Maybe I would try it in a different pattern, if the fabric was more of a crepe or something flowy.

  20. The dress is cute but way to long for me. I like how you uses it as a duster. Very classy.
    I like Ann Taylor. They always have sophisticated styles that are always classic.

  21. Love using it as a duster. I do this with a couple of dresses I don’t use as dresses anymore. I like the print. I lean toward black, so might do black turtleneck & pants. Do need to check out that tunic you used, though. I like the vertical line. Cheers!

  22. It’s just odd to me that they would feature a polyester dress at this time of the year. Brrr! Your restyled look is much better but still nowhere on my personal radar.

  23. I agree with the other comments, it’s too busy a print for me. Your choice for making it into a duster and pairing it with neutrals is a great idea!

  24. I would wear this dress in a petite size for work (office) with a black blazer or sweater that would tone down the pattern. It is a small-ish pattern that would work for my petite frame, and having a solid topper would allow the pattern to be an interesting background near my face for video calls. I’d pair it with my black leather knee-high boots and simple jewelry in silver, or maybe a pop of bright red. I have a Talbots leopard print dress that works the same way – overwhelming pattern on its own, but a nice background under a dark topper. I get compliments on that outfit every time I wear it. I would not wear it as a duster.

  25. Susan McCannell says:

    The link to the pants kept showing the dress.

    1. Thanks Susan, I fixed it

  26. I do not like the dress as is. For me, it is too much of a pattern. It would feel overwhelming on my petite frame. However featured as you are wearing it would be doable. But still, it would not something that would draw me.

  27. Paulette Levy says:

    I like your idea of using the dress as a duster, but clearly would need the petite as I’m an inch or half inch shorter than you are. I rarely wear dresses and not midi length , though they are on trend.
    It would look very nice as duster with a column of color-turtleneck and narrow pant and little boot (pointy toe) in a single color.

    1. I like your outfit idea. Thanks for sharing Paulette