the skirt that was a dress

Two things you won’t believe.

1. This photo was shot in my bedroom.

2. That skirt is actually a dress!

Thus marks my first attempt at blogging about fashion. If you tell me not to quit my day job, I’ll probably run back to the kitchen and never leave.

I wanted to start blogging about fashion because a) I’ve developed a little bit of a shopping problem and need to stop or else Dexter will starve and b) I really wanted to make an effort to actually get dressed every day instead of wallowing in my ratty pajamas until noon. During the week, I really only leave my house to run errands, work at the studio or take yoga classes. None of that really entails fashion; however, it makes me feel better about myself to plan and wear outfits. I have this crazy theory that the days I take time in choosing an outfit are the days I feel the most productive….even if no one else sees me but my cat and the fifteen year old cashier from Safeway.

Back to the dress that became a skirt! I’ve been wanting to buy a maxi skirt but haven’t found one that I absolutely love. I like the idea of maxi dresses but in general, don’t really think they’re flattering on me because I’m a little small up top (if you know what I mean). I have more of a boyish frame and have trouble with a lot of flowey dresses for that reason.

But then I found this maxi dress for 40% off at the Banana Republic outlet a few weeks ago and thought why not! Maybe I’ll stuff my bra. But then when I put it on and went out to dinner on the 4th of July, I really didn’t like it anymore at all. Until I turned it into a skirt, that is.

To turn this maxi dress into a maxi skirt, all I did was roll the top down and place a belt over the extra material. I’m hoping it doesn’t fall down…Dexter would probably blush.

Maxi Dress: Banana Republic Outlet

T-shirt: Target

Necklace: Target

Belt: Urban Outfitters

Sandals: Gap

Bracelets: my mom’s closet

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  • jenna
    July 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    what a fun bedroom! I love the idea of getting as many uses out of one item as possible. i would never know it was a full dress! I also hope your belt is secure that would make for an embarrassing jaunt to the grocery store if it wasn’t!

  • Hester aka The Chef Doc
    July 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    What a great idea! I would have never known that was a maxi dress πŸ™‚ I even looked for the extra material rolled up underneath your belt and it doesn’t look like there is any at all!

  • Sana
    July 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Bahahaha, I love the idea of turning a maxi dress into a skirt!

  • Mich
    July 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Very cute idea! I love long dresses in the summer time and have had success with the “halter” style for my small shoulder/chest area. Also, your last blog about fashion totally inspired me to head to H&M and snoop around. I did come home with a skinny gold belt! Can’t wait to wear it! Love your blog!!

  • Corey @ Learning Patience
    July 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Super cute! Knowing me (major klutz) mine would fall down! Loving your blog! xoxo

  • rachel @ the faded apron shared table
    July 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    this is really cute! the outfit is very flattering — makes you look super tall & lean. love the color combos, too.

  • emily
    July 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I think that outfit is super cute! You don’t need to roll down the dress though; can’t you just layer the t-shirt over top?

    • We are not Martha
      July 22, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      I LOVE doing this with maxis but I definitely just layer the t-shirt right over the dress! That way you don’t have to worry about anything falling down or any bulges! πŸ™‚ [chels]

  • Aileen
    July 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I’m excited to read your fashion blog posts! I always love new ideas. So glad you post where everything is from too πŸ™‚ What if you wore that belt with just the dress? How does that look? Just another way to where your cute maxi dress. I’m with you…I like the idea of maxi dresses but it is hard to find flattering ones.

  • Haleigh
    July 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    You look fabulous! Love the red skirt/dress πŸ™‚

  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)
    July 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I love the banana outlet.. I have felt the same about maxi dresses- I’m small/petite all around as well, so I just feel silly in maxis even though I think they’re super cute. Loving the fashion post idea, btw! Keep it going..

    PS. I just started reading “The Kitchen House” and it’s AMAZING- thanks for the recommendation!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    July 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    1. cool bedroom!
    2. I’m trying to figure out how that belt is holding up the dress if you rolled it down. Must be on there tight!

  • Katie at Faith & Funfetti
    July 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Love the idea of using one of my maxi dresses as a skirt. Very cute! (Although, one of the reasons I love maxi’s is because of my ….er, small top. No bra? Yes, please! haha)

  • Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories
    July 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Cuuute! I work at home, and I totally agree with you on the mental perks of dressing up–even if you have nowhere to go! πŸ™‚

  • Courtney
    July 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I think it’s funny that you feel self-conscious in a maxi dress since you are small up top. I have an hourglass figure and I’m pretty curvy (.i.e. top heavy) and I feel pretty self-conscious in dresses like that because no matter what I have cleavage. I guess everyone has insecurities no matter what their figure looks like!

    • Jess
      July 22, 2011 at 8:03 am

      Amen, sister! I finally found one that a) I don’t feel self conscious in and b) I don’t feel like I’m in a maternity dress! It’s got a full back and a v-neck (ie, no spaghetti straps) and a more substantial fabric – all key, in my opinion!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    July 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Jenna your outfit is adorable and I totally know what you mean about feeling more productive when you get dressed and put on clothes other than workout or yoga clothes…even if “no one else sees me but my cat and the fifteen year old cashier from Safeway.” Couldn’t have said it any better myself!

    Once you become a mom, or if that’s ever on your horizons, the urge to wear nothing but yoga/workout clothes gets even stronger! I try to get dressed in something other than my Be Present yoga pants…but usually fall short. lol

    • Ingrid
      July 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      i am almost always in yoga pants since i became a mama too!

      • Baking N Books
        July 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

        I’m not a mama at all! But am always in shorts (summer) or sweats…quite lame. Blech – I have image issues though and get really frustrated at the mall. As much as I love it and all the beautiful clothes – it never fits right or I feel awful in it.

        I love your innovation though Jenna! – and your effort to get dressed when you don’t “have” to. πŸ˜‰

      • Sarah @ Sarah's Modern Bites
        July 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

        I don’t have kids but I love love love wearing my yoga pants!! I have them cropped, as leggings and bootcut…. I swear you can dress them up! haha no one ever knows!

  • Whitney
    July 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I just bought that dress a couple of weeks ago! It’s got a lovely top half, but I also covered it up the other day with a denim top tied at the waist! And today, I’m wearing a different Banana Republic maxi dress as a skirt! This is weird. Haha

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Modern Bites
    July 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I love the use of color! Grey is always tricky I find. That belt is gorgeous. It totally dresses up your outfit and brings it all together. The green in the necklace is really fun too! I think having fashion posts is a great idea and a fun addition to your blog! Who doesn’t like to get dressed up and look good!? It’s always nice to have a second (well I guess hundreds in your case here haha) set of eyes. My boyfriend isn’t the most reliable source at home hahaha

  • Ingrid
    July 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    if you want to make it a maxi skirt permanently, ask a friend that can sew even a little bit. it would be super easy to cut the top off and add some elastic and voila! love the maxi skirt :o)

  • Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine
    July 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Such a cute post Jenna. πŸ™‚ And cute outfit! Please, keep blogging about fashion. I like it. And cooking and baking and whatever else you feel like sharing! I just love your blog in general!

  • Prerna@IndianSimmer
    July 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Love the dress and I can relate with every word that you said!

    July 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    You look adorable!
    I like that you are adding fashion to this blog. You make everything fun. I look forward to your blog everyday. You are such a positive, upbeat, and funny person.
    I know I am probably way older than your average reader (I am 45) but I look forward to seeing what you are up to every day.

    • Debbie
      July 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      I thought I was the only 40-something reading her blog daily πŸ™‚

  • Priyanka
    July 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Congrats on your new endeavors.
    Loved the bedroom wall…..m a bit architectural inclined, so thats wht caught my attention first,
    Then saw your outfit, loved the combination…..the belt is awesome πŸ™‚

  • Jocelyn
    July 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    super cute, jenna! what a smart idea. keep the fashion blogs coming! πŸ™‚

  • MMiller
    July 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Love the outfit! You look great in it! I sometimes treat myself to breakfast out at a restaurant…Just for getting up and dressed and out of the house!

  • R. Chandra
    July 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    ooh, so with you on maxi dresses! i want to like them, but never feel pretty in them. more like i’m kind of wearing a sheet.

    i love the eclectic feeling of this outfit, and the brick wall in your bedroom! πŸ˜‰

  • Fancy
    July 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    That’s your bedroom?! How cool! I think your outfit is super cute πŸ™‚

  • Running Betty
    July 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Ahh, the maxi skirt. Just one more reason to put off shaving my legs!
    Couldn’t you just wear the dress as a dress and put the shirt over?
    I <3 brick walls.

  • jenna k
    July 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    cute outfit! and i love the idea of rolling down tube maxi dresses into skirts. i bought two maxi dresses LAST summer, and still haven’t worn either of them… problem.

  • Jess
    July 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I love this outfit! Keep the fashion posts comin’!

  • Emma Ruth
    July 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    i’m built similar to you and have found american apparel makes fabulous chiffon maxi skirts with a clinched waist and works with everything. they have them in fun colors and some sheer washes that you wear a little slip under… which can make you feel a little feisty.

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    July 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Ooo fashion posts! I have the belt too πŸ™‚ love love!

  • Molly
    July 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    ah I love it! You are too cute πŸ™‚

  • Sarah Elizabeth
    July 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Putting together a cute outfit definitely makes me more productive as well! I’m a recent grad looking for a job full-time, so it’s easy for the blog-reading to take over and the actual job-hunt to go onto the back burner.

  • Janna
    July 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I think fashion posts are a great idea. I’ve noticed there has been a shift to more “lifestyle” blogging, which I think is awesome. I recently started a blog about Philadelphia, but it’s more about my life here, so naturally food is one aspect. I think you could wear one of those crop tops on top of the dress and it would be cute, maybe even a sheer one?

  • Lauri (
    July 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    You are too cute! Love the necklace!!

  • Kristin Murdock
    July 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Oh love it! Great bracelets, too, Mama ELR! I have been thinking the exact same thing about writing a little about fashion… it’s so fun and really a great motivator to get dressed in something other than stretch pants.

  • Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles
    July 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Way to break into the fashion blogging! I like it! πŸ™‚

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    July 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Gosh I have zero fashion sense. I always need friends to reference or have them pick clothes out for me.

  • briana
    July 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    your shift to more fashion posts couldn’t have come at a better time for me! love this look!

  • Katie G.
    July 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    love it! love the skirt/dress and love your necklace! also…the brick wall in your bedroom is so cool and makes a great background!

  • Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance
    July 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    You can cook and you have a sense of style! Touche πŸ˜€

  • Cait's Plate
    July 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm


    • Cait's Plate
      July 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Or rather “I die.” πŸ˜‰

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal
    July 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Aw, Jenna you’re adorable! I love the color of that dress… πŸ™‚

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    July 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Super cute!! Can you please come to Ohio and be my personal shopper? I really stink at fashion… especially accessorizing!

  • Felicia (Natural and Balanced)
    July 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    love the belt! i really should try out maxi dresses… although i have a bit of a shopping problem too and thats not the best idea πŸ™‚

  • Karen
    July 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Very cute, Jenna! You are so fun!

    (If this gets out of control, maybe you should consider putting your credit cards on ice again?! That was hysterical! And effective, I recall.)

  • Em
    July 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    πŸ™‚ Adorable.

    Dresses can become skirts and long skirts can become dresses with the help of a belt!

    Looking forward to more of your fashionable self!

  • Melissa
    July 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Great idea! I’v put a shirt over the maxi dress, which can be hot! But didnt think to add the belt. Love the brick wall!

  • Ashley
    July 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    So the Macy’s upstairs in the mall in SR with the gargantuan Forever 21 that you must have been at last week…always has great clothes…on sale. I was literally just there but too lazy to shop. Picked up a lot of great stuff (100% silk baby!) in the past though!

  • Spkeang
    July 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I always slap a tee or top over all my slips and dresses. Nice way to layer/stay warm in Seattle and have a sort of night look for later.

  • Mary @ stylefyles
    July 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    very cute – I have a similar colored maxi dress that lets the girls hang out just a bit too much. I always wear it as a skirt when I put it on for work!

  • Liz @ iheartvegetables
    July 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    That is so clever! And I’m super jealous about the awesome bedroom wall. It’s the perfect backdrop! I hope you take more fashion pictures!

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    July 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    hahaha love it, cute post, Jenna πŸ™‚
    Heidi xo
    p.s. totally jealous of your bedroom wall, I love brick inside!

  • Kelsey @ aslolife
    July 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Love the idea, especially with the belt. I’ve always been a little scared of long skirts but I think I might just have to give this a try!

  • The Healthy Engineer
    July 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve never bought a maxi dress; I’m too afraid since I’m only 5’3 and I don’t have a slender frame.

    I will try them on ONE day…we’ll see

  • Baking N Books
    July 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Also – how do you get your photo edges “Blurry” like that – that’s intentional right?!

  • Ida
    July 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I like the mix of food and fashion! I also love the exposed brick wall.

  • Ashli Phillips @
    July 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I love finding pieces that you can mix and match and at the same time change up their use! The more flexible it is, the more options you have as a wardrobe. You definitely can’t complain about that!

  • katie @KatieDid
    July 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    You look stunning in the outfit! Im surprised you can’t see the bunched fabric you must have done a meticulous job at folding it over! I vote keep doing the fashion segments, its always nice to mix it up!

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith
    July 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I find that when I look better, I feel better and work better as well. Otherwise I tend to get really lethargic and unproductive!

    I have a maxi skirt, but I’ve never thought of pairing it with a belt the way you did. You’ve just given me a great idea for my Wear a Dress Tuesday! (

  • Nelly
    July 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    1. You look totally gorgeous.
    2. I would kill for a bedroom wall like that. Or any interior wall, really.

  • Samantha
    July 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Totally understand staying in the PJ’s until noon. I even rationalize walking my dog in my nightgown. It kinda looks like a dress, right? Right? Anyway, just want to say that I’ve been lurking on your blog since I read about it in β€œHealth” magazine. I love what you’re doing, and I’m completely on board with you adding more fashion posts. I’ve been stalking β€œJ’s Everyday Fashion” for outfit ideas, so I’m looking for all the help I can get. Gotta find a way to punch up my nightgown.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Alex
    July 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    LOVE the outfit and I LOVE that wall!!

  • Rita
    July 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    My 8 year old just said that was a very pretty skirt. πŸ™‚

    I agree.

  • Marie
    July 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    This is totally off-topic, but I’m dying to know what you thought of “Widow of the South”?? It’s been in my to-read group forever.

  • Boden Coupon
    July 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Your skirt is so cute. A majority of Boho dress usually can be weared as a long skirt. I love the skirt’s colour, it’s very beautiful.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    July 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    You look absolutely lovely Jenna!!!

  • Erin
    July 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Props to you! ‘ve thought about doing a fashion type thing too as motivation to look cuter at lab. But it’s lab, and I find it very hard to get cute before working with yeast and chemicals all day.

    BTW, I have that belt too and it’s one of my favorites!

  • Katrina
    July 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Cute! Such an awesome idea.

  • Katie
    July 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Love it! I would love to see some more fashion posts. I’m going through a huge shopping phase at the moment as a result of meeting my boys family in Brazil in two months! Stress! Need to find perfect outfits! x

  • Eileen
    July 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Super cute!!! Keep the fashion posts coming!

  • Mauimandy@The Grains of Paradise
    July 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    You are too cute! I started blogging about fashion, beauty and my island on my food blog a little while ago too….Seems odd but they all seem to go together wouldn’t you agree?
    Much Aloha!!

  • Yolie @ Practising Wellness
    July 22, 2011 at 12:42 am

    you look beautiful! And you should definitely post more about fashion, because your outfit is rad…talk about ingenuity, lol! πŸ˜€ xyx

  • Sara
    July 22, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Love the look! I turned a tube top dress into a long skirt and love it!

  • Laura
    July 22, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I love this outfit! I haven’t seen maxi skirts work on all that many people, usually because it looks overly bohemian. Your outfit looks so easy but totally cute and chic.

    I’ve always been afraid of maxi dresses, but this year I’ve been obsessed with getting a couple. I haven’t bit the bullet on the one I’m obsessed with from Anthro, but now that I can wear it to work at my new job, I just may buy it.

  • Debbie
    July 22, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Cute! Love the accessories πŸ™‚

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    July 22, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Cute! I love repurposing things so that I like them πŸ™‚ Way better than getting rid of it or having to buy something else completely new.

  • Haley
    July 22, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Jenna, keep it up with these posts! I love seeing your easy, California spin on fashion. Lovely!

  • Kim @ Imperfectly Perfect
    July 22, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I completely agree about feeling more productive on days you take the time to get dressed. It always makes me feel better about myself when I know I look put together. That energy just flows into other parts of my life. I’m not the best at putting outfits together. I usually stare at the manequins in stores and pull an outfit from that. My sisters are great to take with me, even if my wallet doesn’t agree. πŸ˜‰ I was actually given a skirt by someone who is much taller than me. I did the opposite and made it a dress. It actually looks great!

  • Corrie Anne
    July 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Way to improvise!! You look adorable!! Keep sharing!

  • Taysa
    July 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Maxi dress with shirt over the top is my go-to weekend outfit.

  • Jackie @ That Deep Breath
    July 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I feel more productive when I get dressed up too! Maybe it’s because we want to show off our outfits so we leave our houses to get things done?

  • Em
    July 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Jenna you look totally adorable! But I’m a bit worried you are just one of these people who would look adorable in anything! :).
    Guess Im going to have to give the t-shirt maxi dress a try and see if it works as well for yours truly! xox

  • Katie @ peacebeme
    July 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

    it makes me feel so much better too to get dressed every day. that’s something I did last year when my fiancΓ© was deployed to Afghanistan, and I need to start doing it again since I spend so much time at home too.

  • Kim
    July 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I like the accessories a lot. The whole look is very summery. I love getting “dressed” every day, too! I also have an OCD about wearing makeup. I’ve found if I take 3 mins to brush some mineral concealer under my eyes, mineral powder on my face, and mascara on my lashes I feel my best and feel way more productive with my day.

  • Anna
    July 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I love your style, Jenna, and I really, really hope that you keep up these posts! Like you, I’m spending a lot of time at home and need an excuse to get dressed in the morning (and I may have a slight problem with shopping as well). I think this outfit is simple and chic!

  • Kiah
    July 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Love it! I think expanding your blog with some fashion entries is a great idea…keep ’em coming!

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  • Nicole
    July 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

    this is such a good idea!! I would have never thought of using a maxi dress to make a long skirt! Way to go!

  • Francesca
    July 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Hey, I’m “small up top” and I love maxi dresses! I’m wearing a strapless one right now, though with a little cover-up to make it work appropriate- the great thing about my figure is I can wear it braless! and I think maxis are soooo girly and flattering on so many people. I bet you’d look a lot better in one than you think- you just need the right one! a great staple for summer.

  • Melissa
    July 28, 2011 at 11:18 am

    gorgeous!!! ahhh you’ve just inspired me!! I have a maxi dress but don’t wear it often because I feel too dressed up. The tee shirt with belt make it great for everyday wear!! Thanks Jenna πŸ™‚

  • Jennifer
    July 29, 2011 at 10:42 am

    1) Love that brick wall! 2) You absolutely have an eye for fashion! The way you paired the T with the dress and belt is fabulous. Love the necklace too.

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  • Liz
    August 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I just found this post, and I was amused by it because recently in the Boston Globe a “mom” wrote a column about ACCIDENTALLY buying a dress, thinking it was the perfect skirt. She’d gone into American Eagle Outfitters, and after this “fiasco” realized that that wasn’t the place for someone her age to shop. I really didn’t see what was so entertaining about that story because, like you, I have intentionally bought a strapless dress to wear as a skirt! (And vice-versa, actually.) Sundresses with elasticized tops work the best.