The convertible dress is typically a jersey, stretch-satin or stretch-tulle dress, typically with a full half-circle or circle skirt and two very long, very wide straps attached at the waist. You can tie the straps in different ways to create a playful dress for the beach, a covered-up style for lunch with the in-laws, or even a variety of more formal styles, depending upon the fabric. Some of these frocks include a wide bandeau-style top for extra coverage and come in lengths from knee-length to floor-length. Learn how and when to wear your convertible dress to look chic and feel comfortable for any occasion.

Keep It Casual

For a casual look, opt for either a midi-length or a maxi-length convertible dress in a soft, matte jersey fabric. If your dress came with a separate bandeau for modesty, wear it for more casual styles, or add a contrasting one for additional coverage, particularly across the back. With the straps at the front, bring them over your shoulders, crossing in the back. Wrap around, crossing as needed to form a sash at your waist and tie securely. Spread the straps out front and back as wide as desired. This is a comfortable and covered-up style, suitable for lunch with friends, but dressed up enough for a dinner out.

At the Beach

Whether you’re packing for a beach vacation or a few days at the lake, a convertible dress makes an easy and pretty cover-up that can go from lounging to a restaurant with ease. Choose a lightweight jersey or a light synthetic fabric for quick-drying. To wear your convertible dress as a strapless cover-up, hold the dress at your waist and drape the left strap over your left shoulder. Wrap the right strap over the left side of your bust, then wrap the left strap over the right side of your bust. Cross at the back, wrap to the front, then wrap again to the back and tie. Arrange the folds of fabric at the front as desired.

All Dressed Up

For a dinner date or a cocktail party, choose a dressier fabric, like a heavier matte jersey or a fabric with some shine. Create a halter neckline by crossing the two straps in front of your neck, bringing them to the back and twisting them. At the waist, bring the two straps to the front, then around to the back and tie. As an alternative, you can create a sexier one-shoulder style by bringing first the left strap and then the right over the left shoulder. Twist, wrap and tie as you would for a halter style. The twist-back styles are quite easy to neaten on your own, without help, since the back straps are quite well-secured.

Formal and Fabulous

Formal convertible dresses may be made of stretch satin or stretch tulle, in a midi or floor length. Any of the styles work for formal wear in a more formal fabric, worn with sparkly jewelry, but the convertible dress can also create an elegant and regal cap-sleeve style. Give each strap a snug twist before bringing it over the shoulder. Cross the straps in the back, the wrap and tie at the waist as you would for any style. Arrange the folds of fabric at the waist and bust to create a very wide waistband and shapely sweetheart neckline. Have a friend check the back of your dress and tidy up if needed.