Life’s too short not to take a well-calculated sartorial risk or two. When the season’s coveted cutout shoulder trend feels blasé, why not pull a classic Man Repeller move by styling your favorite going-out dress for the daytime? Yes, we’re dead serious. Who’s to say glistening sequins, come-hither necklines and thigh-grazing slits can’t serve double-duty for the a.m.? Be it an extra glam outing to your favorite coffee shop around the corner or a day of back-to-back-to-back meetings in the boardroom, here’s your chance to pull out ALL the stops. It may take some imagination and strategic layering, but the end result will be SO worth it. Get ready to turn some heads with these 14 DDG frocks (everything from summer slip dresses to sultry lace-up shifts) that will take you from boardroom to happy hour, no sweat.
1. C/Meo Collective All Cried Out Spot Dress ($190): More tasteful than envelope-pushing, this flowy abstract printed dress ticks all the boxes. While the modest hemline balances out the sneaky cutout at the neck, the breezy side slits are perfect for balmy afternoons. Pro tip: Combat any overly air-conditioned cubicles by throwing on a streamlined blazer and opting for menswear-inspired loafers with a tough-girl edge.
2. Free People Magic Garden Party Dress ($500): Get ready to swoon hard for this sequined and vintage-inspired beaded dress that’s worthy of a garden party or seaside wedding. The easy-breezy trapeze silhouette will not only keep you cool under the scorching sun, but it’s laid-back enough for a morning stroll along the beach. Throw in a flower crown and ankle-strap sandals to solidify your inner boho babe.
3. Tobi Wilhelmina Maxi Dress ($92): Not so fast! This black entrance-making maxi need not be restricted to a slew of black-tie affairs. Despite the deep v-neckline, side cutouts and dramatic front slit, it can be toned down with the right accessories. Think: A low-key fedora and retro sunglasses from the ‘70s for a Miami-bound getup that transitions from dawn to dusk.
4. Millie Mackintosh Embellished Shift Dress ($186): Late summer festival vibes, right this way! Style this embellished lace-up dress with cowgirl boots and a black Panama hat for an afternoon spent at the fairgrounds jamming out to good tunes. It’s also ideal for a bachelorette weekend in the Napa Valley countryside.
5. Missguided Tie Front Bottom Shift Dress ($40): So much YAS. Any slinky metallic frock that can be dressed up with sky-high platforms or pared down with athletic kicks is good in our book. Show ‘em what you’ve got with this flashy gold number featuring a tie-front accent that would look ah-maz-ing with combat boots and a too-cool-for-school bomber. Rad hoop earrings not required, but definitely appreciated.
6. Missguided Cape Kimono Belt Cheap Bodycon Dresses ($56): Enter the show-stopping LWD that won’t draw side-eye from HR (not on our watch, anyway). Between the cape kimono style and that sleek black slash, this secret weapon in disguise is guaranteed to slay around the clock. Draw eyes away from the risqué neckline by tossing on some dazzling statement earrings and applying a bold red lipstick.
7. Free People Sweet Dreams Slip ($98): You heard it here first: Embellished slip dresses can be worn beyond the bedroom. With a little layering magic (just toss this bad boy over a white t-shirt), you’ll be ready to hit up a summer music festival in 60 seconds. Finish off your punk-inspired look with some lace-up ankle boots and a studded ear cuff that demands attention.
8. American Apparel Metallic Jersey Short Sleeve Tunic ($42): When it’s too hot to deal, this is the shiny jersey dress you toss on over denim cutoffs to stay sane in the summa-time heat. Say sayonara to the stilettos and hello to some throwback Adidas pool slides that channel a sporty look all day err’day.
9. Free People Retro Love Suede Dress ($168): You gotta love a retro suede dress with this much ‘70s appeal. Balance out the short silhouette with metallic lace-up gladiators (or over-the-knee boots come fall) and vintage sunnies for a glamping trip in the mountains. Come BTS time, don’t hesitate to team your new favorite layering piece with a Victorian lace blouse and throwback clogs.
10. For Love and Lemons Maxi Dresses on Sale in Wild Rose ($49): Add this ethereal rose-print maxi to your packing list for Maui. Between playing tourist and checking out the oceanfront view from your villa (life is hard), this sheer tie-front dress will fit the bill. Leather sandals and perfectly wind-blown hair are obligatory as you work on that natural sun-kissed glow.
11. Zara Long Shiny Dress ($70): Take this metallic slip dress from the red carpet to the streets with the help of a leather moto jacket and some backless mules. (Or, on a sizzlin’ hot summer day, a denim jacket effortlessly tied around your waist will do.) It’s just the thing to wear while exploring the streets of SoHo and meeting up for midday cocktails. Once the temps dip for good, layer this hero piece over a ribbed sweater and throw on a black knit beanie for a model-off-duty look.
12. Reformation Cabot Dress ($248): Wear a silk gown beyond after-hours? Can do, indeed. This deep berry, floor-length slip dress can be adapted for daytime with a white v-neck tee or a borrowed-from-the-boys patchwork denim jacket. Round out your lazy Sunday uniform with an oversized crewneck sweatshirt and high-top kicks.
13. Native Rose Sequin Dress in Camo ($146): If girl-off-duty is the name of your style game, then this camo sequin mini dress will be right up your alley. Don’t you dare be intimidated by the flashy sequins — when teamed with an army green anorak and “ugly” flatforms, this Rihanna-esque getup will give you an excuse to adopt an athleisure look.
14. Nasty Gal in Tattoo Deep Mini Dress ($148): Whether you have a fancy brunch planned with bae or a trip to Italy up your sleeve, you need a daytime casual dress that puts the va-va in the voom. This embroidered bodycon mini fits like a second skin — not only does it flatter in all the right places, but it still manages to leave just the right amount to the imagination. For conservative work environments, DO slip on an oversized black blazer and heeled loafers.
Would you wear a going-out dress beyond after-hours?