The Distinctive Power of a Dress That Is Also a Trench

Ansley Morgan lives in Athens, Georgia, where she is a freelance writer, stylist and brains behind Read Between the Hemlines

I didn’t start truly “dressing for myself” until I graduated from college, trading in my collection of oversized sweaters and lace slips for colorful vintage clothing that felt much more me. Accepting my true sense of style and zest for experimentation resulted in a loss of identity, but in a good way. I realized I didn’t need to limit my wardrobe to a single style persona; I could dress like a refined grandmother on her way to tea one day and a seasoned rock concert attendee the next.

This shift presented a new challenge: Curating a closet that could adapt to whatever identity I happened to feel like embodying on a given morning. I started being more thoughtful whenever considering a new purchase, analyzing every way I could wear one piece before making a financial commitment. As I scrolled through the Tibi end of season sale my eyes immediately landed on this dress. It checked off all of the boxes, it was as versatile as my constantly changing style. I could already imagine endless possibilities and fashion personalities, which is why when Man Repeller challenged me to style one piece across five different outfits, I knew it would be the perfect fodder. Keep scrolling to see how it went.

1. Your Sophisticated Aunt

The best thing about this dress is that it’s not just a dress. It also transforms into a wonderful coat that is the ideal warmth for winter in Georgia. Since Monday is my day off (I work at a restaurant on the weekends) and I had to run a few errands, I decided to dress for comfort and paired the dress-turned-jacket with a vintage silk shirt from Atomic, my favorite vintage store in Athens, and a pair of Lucky Brand jeans that secretly feel like sweatpants (well, I guess it’s not a secret anymore). Stuart Weitzman boots and a Chanel bag pulled everything together in a sleek way. I’m pretty sure the key to being comfortable but looking fancy, is accessories, which is why I also added earrings and a headband from Amazon that always makes my mom ask when I will be holding royal court.

2. The Cheerful Dog-Walker

Tuesday is my other day off and technically my Sunday. It is also when I get to catch up with my dog, Sadie, so she can fill me in on what she has been doing all week while I was at work. Once we are all caught up over coffee and kibble, it is time for a walk. The real winter cold is just beginning in Georgia, but this day wasn’t too bad. I wore a Rebecca Taylor sweater over the Tibi dress to provide a light layer of warmth as we strolled through downtown. Tall boots from Bed Stu also kept me warm. I decorated my hair with my Repeller clips from the MR Buffet and my ears with vintage clip-ons from Highland Row Antiques in Atlanta. To ensure my hands were available to assist Sadie, I strapped a Phoebe-Era Céline bag on like a fanny pack, and we were on our way.

3. The Conservative Biker

Thrifted leather coat -- similar here, vintage earrings -- others here, Olivia Rose Tal shoes via eBayThrifted leather coat -- similar here, vintage earrings -- others here, Olivia Rose Tal shoes via eBay

On Wednesday there was a significant drop in temperature. It was the perfect opportunity to wear a leather trench I recently got from my local thrift store. I almost didn’t purchase it, out of fear of looking too much like a character from The Matrix, but now I have no regrets. Another versatile aspect of the Tibi dress is its optional collar, and the colder weather provided the perfect opportunity to try it out. I also wore vintage earrings that look like black and white cookies and Olivia Rose Tal shoes I bought on eBay.

4. The Upscale Librarian

Thursday was the warmest day of the week (the weather can’t make up its mind in Georgia). I decided to let the dress do most of the work this day. I got dinner with a friend that night, so I dressed it up with Gucci tights, a Paco Rabanne bag, and heels from Vagabond Shoemakers. I added some shine with vintage earrings, a clip from Valet Studio and a necklace from Young Frankk.

5. The Low-Key Townie

Friday called for drinks with friends on a cold evening. I pulled on my favorite Everlane pants and a Proenza Schouler tee I just purchased on sale. I wore Tory Burch hoops in my ears and my favorite docs on my feet. I transformed my dress into jacket form, added a Free People beanie with my Shrimps clip as hat jewelry, and deemed the outfit complete.




Photos by Jan Solomon. 

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