That basic hanging in your closet is more versatile than you think.

By Rebecca Daly
Updated June 04, 2018
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A basic shift dress is the perfect one-step outfit, but when you add glitzy accessories or a waist-defining belt, you can wear this wardrobe staple anywhere. Here are three easy ways to upgrade a standard shift dress, making it perfect for date night, a weekend hang, or an important day at work.

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Shift Dress, Accessories and Belt
Credit: Brian Henn

For Date Night: Add Fancy Accessories and a Belt

Heels and a clutch elevate this casual staple to a date-night go-to, while a cinched waist gives the boxy silhouette a more structured, flattering shape.

To buy: Babaton Patricio dress, $135; Suzanna Dai Turks earrings, $220; Forever 21 Faux Leather Braided-Trim belt, $7; Urban Expressions Bahamas clutch, $60; Etienne Aigner Martini heels, $148;

Shift Dress, Jacket and Sandals
Credit: Brian Henn

For the Weekend: Add a Jacket and Sandals

Laid-back, summery pieces—a denim jacket, a gauzy scarf—create a versatile warm-weather outfit just right for wandering the farmers market or boardwalk.

To buy: Babaton Patricio dress, $135; Loft Banded Collar Denim jacket, $90; Dear Drew by Drew Barrymore Central Park Square scarf, $68;

Shift Dress, Trousers and Pin
Credit: Brian Henn

For Work: Add Trousers and a Pin

A strategically placed brooch transforms a T-shirt-style frock into a draped tunic you can wear to work.

To buy: Babaton Patricio dress, $135; Ann Taylor Chelsea Skinny pants, $79; Nicole Romano Miramar necklace, $275; Pono by Joan Goodman Angle bracelets, $50 each; Alexis Bittar Crystal Encrusted safety pin, $125; Zac Zac Posen Earthette Accordian Shoulder bag, $450; CC Corso Como Jackey Slingback flats, $119;