denim dress, summer edition

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dress: Old Navy (mostly sold out online, but there were lots in stores when I bought it last week and in two colors. also, runs pretty big - I'm a 10/12 and am wearing a small) // shoes: Old Navy // purse: Frye c/o Shopbop // bandana: Madewell (similar)

photos by Chelsea Francis

If there's one item in my closet I can't live without, it's a denim dress. This is my go-to for cooler months, and I've been looking for a sleeveless option pretty much since March. ASOS is usually my go-to, but I just wasn't finding what I was looking for, meaning I've been summer-denim dress-less for months! 

If you've been following this blog for a minute, then you know that my closet favors Old Navy heavily. Not only are they an affordable option, but shopping there has become a social activity with my girlfriends on weekends. I try to only go once or twice a season as to not fill my closet with only pieces from one store, so I hadn't actually been in a while when I picked this dress up. 

I do have a rule when it comes to Old Navy that I don't think I've ever shared here, but is totally relevant to this outfit. I do not buy anything that is printed from Old Navy, (with an exception of stripes, of course!), and instead stick to basics and solid-colored items. Why? As cute as so many of their floral and other prints can be, I find that they look dated especially quickly. I can spot a floral blouse on a woman in a coffee shop and tell you what season of what year she purchased it. The last printed item I can recall buying was this orange dress, which was my go-to the fall/winter after I bought it, but refused to touch it the following year. 

Here's a little test for how I decide to buy something at Old Navy: if I had told you the dress I'm wearing was from Madewell, would you have believed me? If the item doesn't have that signature Old Navy look (but does have the store's price tag), it's likely a fit for my closet. I can wear this dress for summers to come and not feel tied to a certain year or store - the style gets to become my own! I apply the same rule at stores like Target and Loft that have super recognizable patterns offered each season.

I don't typically believe in shopping rules that restrict from wearing something you love, but this one has helped me create a closet that feels like me instead of too much like a particular store. In this same outfit, I broke what is probably considered a major fashion rule: my waist isn't cinched! Even six months ago, I never would have picked this dress up, but after falling in love with my flamingo dress that has a similar shape, I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did! I've already worn the dress another way (post incoming) where I added a belt, so I'm excited to share another way to style this little chambray shift!

How do you feel about shopping rules? Do you have any you try to abide by - or favorites to break?


More Old Navy Chambray Dresses

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