If you know me (and if you’re reading this right now there’s a good chance that you do) you know that I like to keep my style simple. In fact, for the LONGEST time I didn’t even think I had a style or that the fashion world was something for me. I am a jeans and tshirt kinda girl. I do not do my hair or makeup and I do not follow trends.

This may sound kind of funny coming from an impact entrepreneur who works for an ethical fashion company. Maybe even a bit disingenuous, like I’m trying to be someone I’m not in order to sneakily gain your trust or something. But to be honest, it’s the truth. I never saw myself as a fashionista, and I will admit I may have done a bit of impolite scoffing at people who were. (Sorry about that.)

In reality though, we are all part of the fashion industry. Maybe we do not keep watch and buy new trends or are bold and unique in our style, but we all purchase clothes and care about what people think. Our clothing affects how people see us and the impression we give, and so whether we realize or not, we think pretty carefully about what we wear and the message it may send.

It’s taken me some time, but I generally am okay with the message I am sending with my wardrobe. It’s simple, casual, and approachable, and that’s who I want the world to see.

At present, especially since starting work with Sseko Designs, I have become intentional about the clothes I wear. Previously, I spent very little time thinking about what I was buying and wearing. I clearly had a specific style (we all do) but I did not curate it or think about it. If I bought a sweater that was like 3 other sweaters in my closet, that was fine because I just had simple taste. But decades later that adds up to a lot of duplicate items that create a lot of chaos and laundry. I did spend quite a bit of January 2018 cleaning my closet, and sorting through clothes, and creating a wardrobe that was more functional and easy (as is my style anyway). This included adding some staple pieces that were extremely versatile. Not only do I want to be intentional about where my clothes come from (and who made them, and if they were treated and paid properly), but I want to also be intentional about what those clothes ARE. What are their function? What purpose do they serve in my daily life?

Enter this black shift dress. Everyone knows a little black dress will go FAR in your closet. They rarely go out of style, black is a color that looks good on everyone, and you always have occasions that pop up last minute that require the flexibility of the LBD. It’s not that I’ve never owned one before, but I’ve never owned one that made me quite so creative. I am evolving into a person who can wear the same piece multiple ways, for multiple occasions and be proud of that fact, instead of worried that others would notice I was re-wearing something. Like I am some kind of Kate Middleton-esque celebrity that people spend time caring about how often I wore this one blue shirt to preschool drop off. A key component to an ethical wardrobe is wearing what you already have, repurposing clothing, and choosing pieces that are not only versatile themselves, but that also go with a lot of other items in your closet. A capsule wardrobe and minimal wardrobes also have similar goals and virtues.

We are all a work in progress, but I am really excited about the black shift. It comes in two sizes that fit 0-16 (no really!) and can be worn SO MANY ways, with SO MANY things. I had so much fun playing around with looks (instead of organizing my closet…ha) and am excited to share them with you!

Which is your favorite? Do you have a versatile piece of clothing that you can wear lots of ways?

Share with me here or tag me on Instagram @myeducatedstyle. I’d love to see how creative you are!

6 ways to wear the black shift dress
My closet is practically empty and it makes me weirdly happy.

Style 1: Super fun and flowy with the multiway shawl, also from Sseko Designs. The new bold prints this season are AMAZE. You can also see how unashamedly obsessed I am with the half moon necklace. #sorrynotsorry

Style 2: Super old cardigan gets new life with the shift dress! Pop of color is nice, warmth is necessary this time of year in Michigan, and the structure is also helpful on smaller frames.

Style 3: Tied with a scarf belt to give it some structure and color. I pulled the top out a bit which evened up the bottom hem and gave it a more empire waist look to it. That mini ring tote though…all the heart eyes for mint leather – available from my personal stock, just ask!

Style 4: JEAN JACKETS ARE BACK! I don’t care what you say, the 90s are here and I’m all over it. The stiffness of the jacket gives the dress some structure if you want less flow. The black leggings are a great addition, especially if you’re taller than me and want more coverage. Suede brave necklace with your favorite charms and a classic clutch complete the look!

Style 5: Well, I guess this one is kinda cheating, but I wanted to show you how fun the v-neck in the back is!! Definitely gives the dress a different look. It also changes the jewelry you can wear.

Style 6: SOLO!! Here I am wearing it with burgundy tights and black knee-high boots.

So, to be honest, you will still see me in that shirt and jeans at school drop off most days because Kate Middleton I am not. However, I love having a casual and fun option to wear when I want to spice it up a bit. By only shopping once and buying ONE item, I am able to now create several different outfits for different occasions. While we do sometimes pay more for ethical brands, we do end up spending LESS overall on our clothes budget, which is a WIN WIN in my book.