The all-occasion dress

You already wore it to a wedding, now what? With a little imagination, just one dress can get you through all of your social obligations for months to come.

The dress

J.Crew Cotton Cady Claudine dress $275, at

Wear it to ... the office
“The best advice I have is to pare down your outfit. You should focus on one or two things that complement each other. Don’t put something in your hair and on your wrist and wear a bright shoe—it’s overkill. Only one part of your outfit should really stand out,” says Tom Mora, vice president of women’s design at J.Crew.

J.Crew summerweight cashmere cardigan, $158, at Streets Ahead silver leather belt, $54, at Wink, 1050 Lexington Ave at 75th St (212-249-2033). Sigerson Morrison silver leather wedge with raffia, on sale for $368, at Sigerson Morrison, 28 Prince St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-219-3893).

... a destination wedding
“Taking a dress already hanging in your closet, one that you’ve worn a million times, and having it altered is a great way to extend the life of your clothing,” explains Jerry Pozniak, tailor and owner of Cameo Cleaners. “Here we’ve created a dress that looks completely different, fits like a glove and speaks to your personal style. Our charge to a client for this ‘makeover’ would be $175 plus fabric costs (about $30),” Pozniak adds. Roma Matuszewska, head seamstress at Cameo Cleaners, added length by sewing three different shades of fabric to the bottom, giving the dress a more sophisticated look.

Cameo Cleaners of Gramercy Park, 284 Third Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts (212-677-3949).

... girls’ night out
“I think Bill Cunningham, the photographer for the Times, inspired people to be a little more flamboyant in their dressing,” says Marcy Blum, celebrity wedding and entertaining expert ( Women are now a bit more outrageous and fashion forward,” Getting creative with accessories will revamp almost any outfit. First we pinned up the hem of the dress with safety pins to give it the look of a bubble skirt. Then we took a versatile jersey scarf and came up with at least five new ways to alter the dress’s appearance.

American Apparel sheer jersey scarf, $15, at Frank and Kahn red skinny patent belt, $130, at Cole Haan Marina sandal in gunmetal, on sale for $240, at Cole Haan, 620 Fifth Ave at 50th St (212-765-9747).

... job interview
“I would suggest throwing on a fabulous jacket. If you get one that falls right at the waist, then it looks like you’re wearing a skirt,” says Blum. We took heed, and crafted an outfit that will take you all the way into fall. You can easily layer basics you already have in your closet—a turtleneck, a fitted jacket and a pair of opaque tights—to transform this dress into a cold-weather ensemble.

Vince heathered jersey coverstitch turtleneck, $85, at Rodebjer Blackpool jacket, $498, available August 1st at Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard St between Broadway and Crosby St (212-219-2631). Frank and Kahn yellow patent belt, $130, at We Who See In Between oxford, $78, at

... dinner with the folks
“Add a wide belt or casually tie a large scarf around your shoulders to give the dress an updated look,” suggests Mara Urshel, president and owner of Kleinfeld’s Bridal. Normally, we wouldn’t advocate wearing a crop top past age six, but when paired with this versatile wraparound leather belt, you get a surprisingly simple (and different) outfit—perfect for any casual dinner or night out with friends.

American Apparel Baby Rib Crop tee, $18, at B-low the Belt Baby Wrap leather belt in chocolate, $134, at Wink. Michael Kors Pearl ankle wrap wedge, on sale for $336, at

... on a weekend getaway
Throwing a lightweight vest and a funky belt on top of this dress turns it into a pulled-together yet casual outfit—perfect for everything from brunch to dinner.

Cole Haan Darianna Sandal in luggage, $395, at Blue Blood vest, $205, at Atrium, 644 Broadway at Bleecker St (212-473-9200). Sylvia Heisel multicolor belt, $95, at

... to a party
You may not have the superb draping skills of Rami from Project Runway, but you can still transform this simple frock into a rockin’ party dress. We gave the skirt a bubble-style bottom by pinning up the hem, then we wrapped a versatile American Apparel shawl around the bodice and tucked in one of the dress’s straps to create the look of a Grecian one-shoulder dress.

American Apparel unisex sheer jersey scarf, $15, at Cole Haan Nami Air OT Pump in natural linen/red patent, on sale for $210, at

... on summer Fridays
You spend most of your life at work, which means you can never have too many office-appropriate ensembles. Adding a shrunken blazer adds a bit of sophistication and gives the appearance of an empire waist, which is flattering on almost everyone.

EROS Alice jacket, $264, call Chartreuse at 512-674-3664 to order. Sylvia Heisel multicolor belt, $95, at Cole Haan Marina Sandal in gunmetal, $395, at