What’s your shopping strategy during this time, friends? Are you shopping? Just using these posts as a voyeuristic escape? Maybe a little of both. We get it. This is such a weird time.

As for me, I’m sticking with my quarantine shopping theme of only recommending timeless pieces you won’t…well, regret when normalcy resumes, and when I was browsing around online and saw that J.Crew brought back one of my favorite purchases from last year, I knew I had to do…something. I always love the idea of a white dress, but so many of them seem too…precious. And living with a young kid — precious just doesn’t cut it.

Holy Shift! 1 White Denim Dress, 11 Outfit Ideas

Despite that, however, this crazy easy white denim shift dress was one of the pieces I wore most last year. I think it has something to do with the shape — it’s a little bit retro, a little bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. (Note: this season’s version doesn’t have a frayed hem, but the way it’s hemmed, you could cut it/fray it yourself if you’re drawn to that detail, in particular.) The white denim is completely no-show and SO fresh. And because it’s denim, it’s easy to treat if it succumbs to a little mom’ing. (Read: you can really go at it with a dab of OxiClean and toothbrush if need be, and it won’t snag or tear.) Like I said: easy.

A dress like this is so simple and straightforward that it doesn’t need a lot of styling. (Hallelujah, I say. The less thinking required, the better.) BUT, that doesn’t mean that we can’t show off its versatility a little. Below, I paired it with a few of my closet staples to demonstrate how I’ve been wearing it over the past four seasons. These ideas are so simple, friends — and you can imagine that, even within this collection of pieces, there are a hundred more combos I could have produced. And that’s not even getting into the realm of statement jewelry, scarves or bags. So many possibilities.

Here we go!

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

1. With Booties. Or Kicks. Or Heels.

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Taupe Booties (TTS) // Stan Smiths (size down half) // Gold Heels (TTS and surprisingly comfy!)

I snapped these straightforward pics just to show that, even without any styling at all, this is dress is, for lack of a better word — good. Easy, roomy, flattering. Pockets! For reference, I’m 5’5″ and wearing a 0, so you can see where/how it hits.

2. With The Almighty Trench

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Heels – Out of Stock (same style, different color; OR similar color, different style) // Trench – Out of Stock (same style, different color; TTS)

I’ve waxed poetic about this trench for almost a year now. It’s never not going to have a place in my closet, and this outfit is another example of how quickly it can transform an outfit into something posh and interesting. Perfect for the office, but I could see wearing this for brunch or church, maybe a school function. You know, when those things resume.

3. An Easy Leather Look

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Black Booties (TTS) // Leather Jacket – on sale! (runs small; I usually wear a 0-2 and sized up to a 4. Note: more sizes here, and Revolve offers a price-match guarantee)

One look at that shit-eating grin in the first picture and you can just tell how freaking at home I am in this outfit. A leather jacket can really (almost) do no wrong, friends, and you know this one is a fave of both me and Laura. It breaks in so beautifully and is just edgy enough, especially with the double buckle collar. I love the juxtaposition of the white with the tougher feeling of the jacket fully zipped, too.

4. Put A Sweater On It (3 Ways)

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Black Booties (TTS) // Cashmere Cardigan – Past Season (Similar)

This long cashmere cardi is so lengthening, but I would really love to see this dress with something even chunkier, with a bit more volume. Whoa, maybe like this, which I’m now sorely tempted to snag. Or a something a little more cropped — like this, which feels a little in shape like S’s beloved Free People shrug that has long been sold out.

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Oatmeal Sweater (TTS; secondhand here NWT in an XS) // Olive Sweater – Past Season (Similar here or I love the proportions of this) // Taupe Booties (TTS)

You know I love a monochromatic look — and oatmeal and taupe always feels so steadying yet modern (at least for me, who avoided neutrals like this for much of my early adulthood). But I think I like the more oversized profile of the olive green sweater even more with this dress. Less preppy, and the longer hem and boxier fit mirrors the silhouette of the shift dress a little bit better. Point being, you can get away with a range of sweaters with this one.

5. Or a Sweatshirt

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Sweatshirt – Past Season (Almost Identical) // Stan Smiths (size down by half)

No big revelations here, but even the most basic sweatshirt I own looks fresh in this instance. I think any sweatshirt that’s not overly fitted would work here — you don’t want something that’s going to restrict that lovely, tenting shape too much. There’s a solid tennis vibe going on when paired with the Stan Smiths, and I like it.

6. A Little Bit Sk8er

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Bodysuit (TTS) // Vans (TTS)

The Vans here totally steal the show. Made the look even a bit more of a throwback by layering a bodysuit underneath. This one is from Leith and is SO flattering and comfortable. Thick and stretchy without being too hot; doesn’t ride up. And the v-neck is the perfect neckline — it doesn’t compete with the neckline of the dress at all.

7. A Little Bit Mod

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Turtleneck (TTS) // Leopard Boots (TTS; also love the details on these)

Another opportunity to layer, this time with a tissue turtleneck. So easy, because the shape of the dress affords you a little room for a layer underneath, without any fussing. The higher shaft leopard boots give this a bit of an Austin Powers edge — again, I’m totally OK with that. I’d even layer an oversized chunky cardigan over this whole thing in the fall. If you really want to lean into the look, add a headband.

8. The One With The Graphic Tee (duh)

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Graphic T (TTS, but I sized up for a slouchier fit) // Black Booties (TTS)

Any slightly oversized tee will work here. I usually wear an XS/S and went with the S in this instance. I tried knotting it, too, and it was…fine. But since this dress doesn’t have a nipped in waist, it actually looks better with something that hits a bit longer and looser (much like the olive sweater versus the oatmeal sweater up there). Would layer a denim jacket, a leather jacket or even the khaki jacket (see No. 11, below) over this, too. And you know I’d also swap the booties for sneakers here.

9. Denim on Denim

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Trucker Jacket (TTS) // Vans (TTS)

Told you guys these were going to be simple! But in short, it works. It works even better with a hoodie layered underneath, but I totally clutzed on that photo, and it’s blurry enough that I had to ask Chris if he topped up my wine while I wasn’t looking when I first saw it. So let’s use our imaginations, k? Then again, there’s not much that you can’t pair with this Levi’s Ex-Boyfriend Trucker Jacket. (It’s intentionally oversized — wearing an XS here.) Breaks in perfectly, too.

10. All Buttoned Up (Over or Under)

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Button Down (Same cut, different pattern) // Heels – Out of Stock (same style, different color; OR similar color, different style)

I used to like J.Crew’s boy cut shirts — now I kind of love them. The straighter fit feels a bit less structured than a fully tailored button down, but as such they’re so much more versatile. This playful print is years old, but I’m loving this gingham version.

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Button Down (Similar) // Taupe Booties (TTS)

Layering the shirt under the sheath dress is maybe a wee bit more country club-meets-See’s Candy employee than I would typically go for…but guys, I would still totally rock this. I like the quirk factor. And it’s especially good layered up with a khaki jacket over the top if you were actually trying to add some warmth (see below). Realistically, I’d probably be even more likely to wear this with Stan Smiths, but one can only take so many pictures…

Oh, and here’s my little trick for turning almost any not-too-fitted button down into a little bolero-ish jacket: tuck the collar under and knot the ends. It really works best if the fabrication is a bit on the thicker side, or the pattern has some “weight” to it. (A plaid flannel would do the trick, too.)

11. Khaki Chic

This white denim shift dress from J.Crew is a bit retro, a bit modern. The frayed hem keeps it casual. It's no-show & SO fresh. 11 outfit ideas, here.

Dress (TTS) // Jacket (Similar) // Taupe Booties (TTS) // Heels – Out of Stock (same style, different color; OR similar color, different style)

This feels so old-school Banana Republic, which just tickles me all to heck. I’d wear either version to the office, but the whiskey color of the pumps with the khaki jacket is just especially good. The exact color in the pumps I’m wearing is sold out, but I love Everlane’s pump in the same buttery cognac shade.


Shop All Outfit Pieces Worn (& Mentioned) In This Post

Phew.
I’m always literally sweating at the end of these try-on sessions. (Who says I’m not getting my cardio on while sheltering in place? Ha.) Got a favorite look? I’d love to hear it.

Stay healthy, friends.
xo,
Em

Guys! Follow me on Instagram for more peeks into our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!

11 COMMENTS

  1. I really wanted to order this. It looks so fresh and I have lots of the items to pair with it. But, it doesn’t come in petite. It also doesn’t seem to have the frayed edge anymore. Not sure if it’s wise to cut it off to shorten it and create the fray…thoughts?

  2. Joy – YES. I was just thinking the same – that I’d happily chop it off. I do this allll the time to denim, even skirts and dresses. There was an old denim midi dress from Madewell that looked like a maxi, so I just hacked off the hem. It unravels over time, but never so much that it’s a problem. If anything, I just trim the strings every so often.

    • Mine was from last season, and the only difference is the current one doesn’t have the frayed edge, and the current one has different button details on the back. (Last season was a single button.) That said, the way the dress is hemmed, you could cut the edge and fray it yourself without fear of it fraying too high up if you were really drawn to that detail, in particular. And it fits TTS. I’m wearing a 0 and I’m about 125 lbs, 5’5″. Hope that helps!

  3. I love this post and your strategy of only purchasing classic timeless pieces. I have been eyeing that leather jacket ever since Laura posted about it a few years ago. I even tried it on in store last fall, but did not buy it because of the high cost. Half price was too good to pass up though, so I just ordered it! Thanks for a fun post.

    • Awh, thank you for the feedback. And so glad you were able to snag it on sale — Laura’s taste is too good, huh? I’ve definitely already gotten my monies worth out of it!

  4. I have the exact same dress from last year and LOVE it. I hadn’t thought to layer a sweater over it, so as soon as this pandemic craziness is over I’m gonna have to bust this baby out again. And that leather jacket looks yummy… Thanks!!

  5. I read this post about 53 times (I love all of these looks, Emily!) and finally decided to get the leather jacket. I did have to go through Revolve since All Saints was down to only a few sizes, and I wanted to report that Revolve did price match. Their service was really fast, and super helpful. Thanks again for the post!

    • Hi Catherine! Awhhh, I hope you end up loving it! And THANK YOU for confirming that their price match guarantee was a success. So good to know!

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