5 Ways to Wear the Optimatium Dress

The Optimatium dress has proven to be more versatile that I’d thought. You know, a dress is often worn just on its own as, well, a dress. But once I got started putting it with other things, there were so many more possibilities.

Like to make one? The pattern is 25% off in my shop until July 27th.

Here’s some ways to wear it…

1. Scarf, hat and boots

The belted scarf is a look I recall from the early 1990s (?) but sometimes I see women wearing it now. The bucket hat (low waste) is another new pattern, which also has 25% off at the moment.

2. Dress over trousers

Worn over trousers, the dress is a bit like a long-line tunic. There are loads of “how to wear a dress over trousers” tutorials online – I enjoyed Trinny Woodall’s Closet Confessions.

3. Duster coat over a skirt

Actually, this is a piece of folded fabric standing in for a skirt, but you get the idea.

I tried it with the tan ankle boots shown in the next photo, but it needed the oomph of red shoes.

What if we had a longer skirt? This is the zw Bryer skirt. I’ve put it with ankle boots, but I think the skirt + dress combo length will dictate the type of shoe.

4. Instead of a blazer

Blouse, jeans, and elastic sided boots. As the dress fabric is Prince of Wales check, sometimes used for blazers, the dress could be used in place of a blazer.

Could look good with a T-shirt instead of a shirt.

5. Under a cardigan

Hand knitted cardigan and very old Doc Marten shoes. Kind of a preppie look – I like it.



  1. Sue Stoney on June 30, 2024 at 6:42 pm

    I cannot wait to make this. It will be so good in spring. Thank you for the style advice Liz

    • lizhaywood on June 30, 2024 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you, Sue. I think this dress could be a bit “you”.
      Your comment about spring reminded me of a thought I had: with a few tweaks to the proportions (eg maybe make the wrist/forearm width a wider, and go up a size or two in the body) it could make a good coat in a thicker fabric.

  2. Deb Mattson on July 3, 2024 at 9:00 pm

    Is that your personal garment label, or are they available to purchase?

    • lizhaywood on July 4, 2024 at 3:35 pm

      Hi Deb, very sorry don’t have them to purchase. I originally got them to put inside zw books when I sell direct, and now use them for zw sewing projects too. They’re from dutchlabelshop.com.

  3. Kaz Madigan on July 18, 2024 at 7:31 am

    absolutely enamoured of your work and so enjoy all the patterns. Thank you.

    • lizhaywood on July 18, 2024 at 12:56 pm

      Thank you Kaz, that is high praise!

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