Making my wardrobe work harder: the floral tea dress

Ways to wear a tea dress

I’m all about buying laundry baskets and toasters at the moment, so more than ever this year August has been the month that I need to make the most of the clothes I already own rather than buying everything that takes my fancy. With that in mind, I thought it was about time I did another instalment of Making My Wardrobe Work Harder.

I mean it’s also about time because oops – it looks like my ‘plan’ of making this a one-per-month series didn’t quite go as I expected. Sorry about that! Not that I think you’ve all been on the edge of your seats thinking ‘but where is Sophie’s next ‘one item, four looks’ post?!’ of course, but I had expected to do it sooner. These posts take longer to shoot than my other fashion ones (because there are four outfits, obviously). If you have no idea what I’m on about, here’s how it works; I choose one item that I already own and style it four ways with other items that I already own, with the aim of making the most of my existing wardrobe. You can read the first one here and the second one here, should you so desire. Today I’ll be styling this adorable little red number from New Look.

What to wear with a red wrap dress

A floral tea dress is always going to be a versatile piece – so this might seem like something of a cop out, but I’ve actually been feeling pretty uninspired with styling of late, so forgive me for choosing such an easy one. I bought this a couple of months ago, but only actually wore it for the first time last week, so creating this post has certainly been helpful as I look to get more wear out of my dresses before summer well and truly disappears. Without further waffle, here are the looks!

Look one: The sun has got his hat on

How to style a tea dress for summer

I’m starting simple; this is a summer dress, so here’s a summer look. This is the kind of thing I would wear for wandering an old town in a pretty destination on holiday or when the sun is out properly here in England for a day exploring Norfolk villages. The tan colour of these minimalist sandals (from New Look, a few years ago) and my old tassel backpack is nice and gentle against the red, keeping the whole look light. I felt pretty breezy in this – and it made me want to get a holiday booked so I can make a note of it for my holiday outfit list!

Styling a tea dress for summer

Shoes – New Look | Rucksack – Primark | Necklace – Accessorize | Sunglasses – Primark

Look two: I might just be doing my weekly shop but I will wear this dress and you can’t stop me

How to style a tea dress casual

When it comes to dressing down a tea dress, does it get better than a pair of converse? Mine are pretty knackered but I’ve been lead to believe that the rule here is the more worn, the better. I’m not sure I completely agree – what if they like, have mouths? – but I’m happy to roll with it for now. I’m enjoying the fact that more people seem to be loving black converse this year; I do love my white ones and they would work just as well, but these ones deserve a bit more appreciation. Add a denim jacket and a basket bag and you get a pretty dress down day ensemble that still looks a little put together…plus we all like to try to give off those dress-and-trainers cool girl vibes at times don’t we?

Wrap dress casual styleWays to wear a tea dress

Jacket – Topshop | Trainers – Converse | Bag – Zara | Sunglasses – Primark

Look three: “Flat white with oat milk, please”

Wrap dress work outfit

Probably my favourite of the three looks has to be this one; I feel very me in it (probably because yes, it’s that damn mules and bag combo that I haven’t stopped rattling on about all summer again). I love that not only does this use the same dress as the previous look, but also the same bag, so it’s just shoes, jacket, jewellery and some hair/make up adjustments that gives this a different vibe.

To make the dress a little less twee and a little more ‘I may be going to the office or I may just be hopping around the city going to brunches and whatnot’ a pair of low heels and a boyfriend blazer do the job – plus I love how the masculine shape of the blazer contrasts with all the ruffles of the dress.

What to wear with a red wrap dress for work

Styling a tea dress for workStyle a wrap tea dress for worl

Mules – Marks & Spencer | Blazer – Topshop | Bag – Zara | Sunglasses – Primark

Look four: Time to transition

Styling a floral tea dress

I hate to say it – but we’re hurtling towards autumn at an alarming speed. I don’t want to have to put this dress to bed TOO soon, considering I’ve only just starting wearing it, so I thought I should also include something transitional. I’ve had this Topshop biker jacket for what must be around 4 years now, but it’s still going strong and it’s surprisingly warm; it also comes with a detachable faux fur collar for when you’re really feeling the autumnal vibes.

I supposed you could wear this with black tights too, but since the jacket is so warm (plus the fact that you know, it’s August and I refuse to get tights out in August) I can get away with wearing it without them even once we do get into the next season – as long as it’s not too chilly. The boots are super old and battered, so don’t look too closely, and the bag is also practically a relic. This will be a go-to outfit for the start of Autumn I think!

What to wear with a red floral dress

Jacket – Topshop | Boots – River Island | Bag – New Look | Sunglasses – Primark

So there are my four looks! There are so many other ways to style this thing too; I think it would be cool just with a pair of sliders, or you could stick on some heels and loads of jewellery for more of a dinner or drinks (or both) scenario. I forgot just how useful dresses like this are to own! That’s what I like about doing these posts, so hopefully I wont leave it so long next time.

Which look is your favourite? Is getting more wear from the items in your wardrobe something you need to do more of or are you pretty good at it already?

Ways to style a tea dress

Photos: Rob Poor

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24 thoughts on “Making my wardrobe work harder: the floral tea dress”

  1. We’re definitely hurtling towards Autumn, although yesterday it was humid as anything here! Love this dress and how pretty and versatile it is x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle


    1. It’s such strange weather at the moment isnt it! We’ve had some humid days here too although they haven’t really been ‘summery’, just weirdly warm and sticky. Thanks for reading lovely – I feel like it’s a good wardrobe addition 🙂 x


  2. Haha I love the names you’ve come up with for the different looks! You say this is an easy one but I actually find dresses the most difficult things to style differently – I guess I lack creativity past just putting it on haha! Look 2 is definitely my fave, I love dressing down dresses with trainers and you’d be the most stylish person in my local supermarket for sure!
    Amy xx


    1. Pahaha I started trying to think of proper names for them but couldnt make them consistent so just started typing anything 🙈 I love dresses with trainers too, it’s not always the most flattering on my stumpy legs but I go with it anyway. Thanks gal xxx


  3. I love all the ways you’ve styled this dress! It’s such a pretty dress! Definitely think the last one is my fave, I’m all about transitional outfits right now xx


    1. Ahh thanks lady! I can totally see why it might not work for everyone, I do love it but I have to only wear it with specific bras and if I was any taller I think it would definitely be too short – we get into dangerous territory when the wind is blowing haha. You’re right though, wrap dresses are always a winner! xxx


    1. Same here lovely – I’m awful for buying things and barely wearing them! (that’s why I started doing these posts haha) Thanks for reading 🙂 xxx


    1. I’m sure you will! I do tend to find I see a lot of tea dresses that I think are nice but I dont absolutely love too. Something about this one just made me buy it 🙂 x


    1. Thanks so much Jaz 🙂 I’m also obsessed with it, I’m sad that I’ll probably have to pack it away for the year soon haha xxx


    1. Thanks Ella – it really is so versatile, well worth buying and since I dont seem to get a lot of wear out of many of my clothes I’m just happy to be doing so with a few items haha xxx


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