Get strap happy

Marilyn Wetston, Special to QMI Agency
Don't struggle with a strapless dress all night. Buy some straps and get creative. (Fotolia)

Don't struggle with a strapless dress all night. Buy some straps and get creative. (Fotolia)

Petra writes:

My New Year’s Eve dress is strapless and looks great as long as I do not move. I don’t want to spend the evening tugging and pulling it up. Any suggestions?

Marilyn replies:

You are right to be concerned and smart to address this problem before you plan to wear your dress. A dressmaker can sew an elastic in a cage under each arm to make your dress hug securely against your body so you are comfortable.

Models have a quick fix. They use double-edge tape around the top of the dress to make it stick to you and stay put.

You can have the added security of straps as well. Either make spaghetti straps from fabric taken from the hem line or shop for a ribbon or trim that matches your dress and then make straps.

Your choice of fabric for the straps can add a unique element too. For example, lace, sequined or satin straps will each relate differently. Explore a fabric and trim store and you’ll be amazed by the limitless possibilities available to you.

The placement of your straps can also give your dress a variety of looks. You can criss-cross them at the front or at the back or run them straight over your shoulders. Use your imagination to secure your dress and re-invent it as you wish.

When you stitch or pin a strap of any width to the centre front of your dress and tie it at the back of your neck your dress will be secured and the look will be fresh and new because you have created a new focal point.

Adjust your dress so that it stays put for New Year’s Eve, then enjoy it on other occasions by creating different looks by using straps in creative positioning.

Your dress has flexibility and with a little advance planning it can sit securely so you can be entirely comfortable no matter how much or in which way you move.

Louise writes:

I have a slim red satin strapless dress and matching bolero jacket. It was costly. How can I change my look and recoup my investment?

Marilyn replies:

Think of your dress and jacket as separates and use them in the context of your wardrobe.

Slip on your red jacket whenever you crave colour or pizzazz; day or evening. It will shine and light you up. No need to wait for special occasions. It will work with most anything including jeans.

How to change your dress:

Change your colour scheme. Your outfit will speak differently by the combinations you create. Red works with almost every colour so whatever you do will be fine. Dress sedately with black, contrast with soft white or make it earthy with camel or brown. Enjoy whatever colour scheme you pull together.

Change your metal and your statement will shine in a different way with each, whether it's gold, silver or copper.

Change your coverup. Add a shawl, shrug or jacket and your topper will change your look. A chiffon throw or a mohair shrug — each has its own voice.

Play with the addition of straps and position as you wish (see my answer to Petra above).

Make your dress into a skirt. Simply slip a sweater or top over your dress and accessorize.

Use your slim red dress under a skirt so that you have a red satin bustier as part of your outfit.

Your satin ensemble will add spice to your wardrobe. Use your imagination and enjoy the variety of looks you can create.

"Wardrobe Doctor" Marilyn Wetston is the owner of Marilyn's in Toronto's fashion district, the host of a weekly radio program and the author of columns helping people with their fashion dilemmas. Visit her site at